Part 2 out of 6
Kor-ul-gryf--at least there were no men there. As it is now, so
it was in the beginning, back to the primitive progenitor of man
which is typified by Pan-at-lee and her kind today, of all the
hunters that woman fears, man is the most relentless, the most
terrible. To the dangers of man she preferred the dangers of the
Moving cautiously she reached the foot of the cliff at the far
side of Kor-ul-lul and here, toward noon, she found a comparatively
easy ascent. Crossing the ridge she stood at last upon the brink
of Kor-ul-gryf--the horror place of the folklore of her race. Dank
and mysterious grew the vegetation below; giant trees waved their
plumed tops almost level with the summit of the cliff; and over
all brooded an ominous silence.
Pan-at-lee lay upon her belly and stretching over the edge scanned
the cliff face below her. She could see caves there and the stone
pegs which the ancients had fashioned so laboriously by hand. She
had heard of these in the firelight tales of her childhood and of
how the gryfs had come from the morasses across the mountains and
of how at last the people had fled after many had been seized and
devoured by the hideous creatures, leaving their caves untenanted
for no man living knew how long. Some said that Jad-ben-Otho, who
has lived forever, was still a little boy. Pan-at-lee shuddered;
but there were caves and in them she would be safe even from the
She found a place where the stone pegs reached to the very summit
of the cliff, left there no doubt in the final exodus of the tribe
when there was no longer need of safeguarding the deserted caves
against invasion. Pan-at-lee clambered slowly down toward the
uppermost cave. She found the recess in front of the doorway almost
identical with those of her own tribe. The floor of it, though,
was littered with twigs and old nests and the droppings of birds,
until it was half choked. She moved along to another recess and
still another, but all were alike in the accumulated filth. Evidently
there was no need in looking further. This one seemed large and
commodious. With her knife she fell to work cleaning away the debris
by the simple expedient of pushing it over the edge, and always
her eyes turned constantly toward the silent gorge where lurked the
fearsome creatures of Pal-ul-don. And other eyes there were, eyes
she did not see, but that saw her and watched her every move--fierce
eyes, greedy eyes, cunning and cruel. They watched her, and a
red tongue licked flabby, pendulous lips. They watched her, and a
half-human brain laboriously evolved a brutish design.
As in her own Kor-ul-ja, the natural springs in the cliff had been
developed by the long-dead builders of the caves so that fresh,
pure water trickled now, as it had for ages, within easy access to
the cave entrances. Her only difficulty would be in procuring food
and for that she must take the risk at least once in two days,
for she was sure that she could find fruits and tubers and perhaps
small animals, birds, and eggs near the foot of the cliff, the
last two, possibly, in the caves themselves. Thus might she live
on here indefinitely. She felt now a certain sense of security
imparted doubtless by the impregnability of her high-flung sanctuary
that she knew to be safe from all the more dangerous beasts, and
this one from men, too, since it lay in the abjured Kor-ul-gryf.
Now she determined to inspect the interior of her new home. The sun
still in the south, lighted the interior of the first apartment.
It was similar to those of her experience--the same beasts and
men were depicted in the same crude fashion in the carvings on the
walls--evidently there had been little progress in the race of
Waz-don during the generations that had come and departed since
Kor-ul-gryf had been abandoned by men. Of course Pan-at-lee thought
no such thoughts, for evolution and progress existed not for her,
or her kind. Things were as they had always been and would always
be as they were.
That these strange creatures have existed thus for incalculable
ages it can scarce be doubted, so marked are the indications of
antiquity about their dwellings--deep furrows worn by naked feet in
living rock; the hollow in the jamb of a stone doorway where many
arms have touched in passing; the endless carvings that cover,
ofttimes, the entire face of a great cliff and all the walls and
ceilings of every cave and each carving wrought by a different hand,
for each is the coat of arms, one might say, of the adult male who
And so Pan-at-lee found this ancient cave homelike and familiar.
There was less litter within than she had found without and what
there was was mostly an accumulation of dust. Beside the doorway
was the niche in which wood and tinder were kept, but there remained
nothing now other than mere dust. She had however saved a little
pile of twigs from the debris on the porch. In a short time she had
made a light by firing a bundle of twigs and lighting others from
this fire she explored some of the inner rooms. Nor here did she
find aught that was new or strange nor any relic of the departed
owners other than a few broken stone dishes. She had been looking
for something soft to sleep upon, but was doomed to disappointment
as the former owners had evidently made a leisurely departure,
carrying all their belongings with them. Below, in the gorge were
leaves and grasses and fragrant branches, but Pan-at-lee felt no
stomach for descending into that horrid abyss for the gratification
of mere creature comfort--only the necessity for food would drive
And so, as the shadows lengthened and night approached she prepared
to make as comfortable a bed as she could by gathering the dust
of ages into a little pile and spreading it between her soft body
and the hard floor--at best it was only better than nothing. But
Pan-at-lee was very tired. She had not slept since two nights before
and in the interval she had experienced many dangers and hardships.
What wonder then that despite the hard bed, she was asleep almost
immediately she had composed herself for rest.
She slept and the moon rose, casting its silver light upon the
cliff's white face and lessening the gloom of the dark forest and
the dismal gorge. In the distance a lion roared. There was a long
silence. From the upper reaches of the gorge came a deep bellow.
There was a movement in the trees at the cliff's foot. Again the
bellow, low and ominous. It was answered from below the deserted
village. Something dropped from the foliage of a tree directly
below the cave in which Pan-at-lee slept--it dropped to the ground
among the dense shadows. Now it moved, cautiously. It moved toward
the foot of the cliff, taking form and shape in the moonlight.
It moved like the creature of a bad dream--slowly, sluggishly. It
might have been a huge sloth--it might have been a man, with so
grotesque a brush does the moon paint--master cubist.
Slowly it moved up the face of the cliff--like a great grubworm
it moved, but now the moon-brush touched it again and it had hands
and feet and with them it clung to the stone pegs and raised itself
laboriously aloft toward the cave where Pan-at-lee slept. From the
lower reaches of the gorge came again the sound of bellowing, and
it was answered from above the village.
Tarzan of the Apes opened his eyes. He was conscious of a pain in
his head, and at first that was about all. A moment later grotesque
shadows, rising and falling, focused his arousing perceptions.
Presently he saw that he was in a cave. A dozen Waz-don warriors
squatted about, talking. A rude stone cresset containing burning oil
lighted the interior and as the flame rose and fell the exaggerated
shadows of the warriors danced upon the walls behind them.
"We brought him to you alive, Gund," he heard one of them saying,
"because never before was Ho-don like him seen. He has no tail--he
was born without one, for there is no scar to mark where a tail had
been cut off. The thumbs upon his hands and feet are unlike those
of the races of Pal-ul-don. He is more powerful than many men put
together and he attacks with the fearlessness of ja. We brought
him alive, that you might see him before he is slain."
The chief rose and approached the ape-man, who closed his eyes and
feigned unconsciousness. He felt hairy hands upon him as he was
turned over, none too gently. The gund examined him from head to
foot, making comments, especially upon the shape and size of his
thumbs and great toes.
"With these and with no tail," he said, "it cannot climb."
"No," agreed one of the warriors, "it would surely fall even from
the cliff pegs."
"I have never seen a thing like it," said the chief. "It is neither
Waz-don nor Ho-don. I wonder from whence it came and what it is
"The Kor-ul-ja shouted aloud, 'Tarzan-jad-guru!' and we thought
that they might be calling this one," said a warrior. "Shall we
kill it now?"
"No," replied the chief, "we will wait until it's life returns into
its head that I may question it. Remain here, In-tan, and watch
it. When it can again hear and speak call me."
He turned and departed from the cave, the others, except In-tan,
following him. As they moved past him and out of the chamber
Tarzan caught snatches of their conversation which indicated that
the Kor-ul-ja reinforcements had fallen upon their little party
in great numbers and driven them away. Evidently the swift feet
of Id-an had saved the day for the warriors of Om-at. The ape-man
smiled, then he partially opened an eye and cast it upon In-tan.
The warrior stood at the entrance to the cave looking out--his back
was toward his prisoner. Tarzan tested the bonds that secured his
wrists. They seemed none too stout and they had tied his hands in
front of him! Evidence indeed that the Waz-don took few prisoners--if
Cautiously he raised his wrists until he could examine the thongs
that confined them. A grim smile lighted his features. Instantly he
was at work upon the bonds with his strong teeth, but ever a wary
eye was upon In-tan, the warrior of Kor-ul-lul. The last knot had
been loosened and Tarzan's hands were free when In-tan turned to
cast an appraising eye upon his ward. He saw that the prisoner's
position was changed--he no longer lay upon his back as they had
left him, but upon his side and his hands were drawn up against
his face. In-tan came closer and bent down. The bonds seemed very
loose upon the prisoner's wrists. He extended his hand to examine
them with his fingers and instantly the two hands leaped from
their bonds--one to seize his own wrist, the other his throat.
So unexpected the catlike attack that In-tan had not even time to
cry out before steel fingers silenced him. The creature pulled him
suddenly forward so that he lost his balance and rolled over upon
the prisoner and to the floor beyond to stop with Tarzan upon his
breast. In-tan struggled to release himself--struggled to draw his
knife; but Tarzan found it before him. The Waz-don's tail leaped
to the other's throat, encircling it--he too could choke; but his
own knife, in the hands of his antagonist, severed the beloved
member close to its root.
The Waz-don's struggles became weaker--a film was obscuring his
vision. He knew that he was dying and he was right. A moment later
he was dead. Tarzan rose to his feet and placed one foot upon
the breast of his dead foe. How the urge seized him to roar forth
the victory cry of his kind! But he dared not. He discovered that
they had not removed his rope from his shoulders and that they had
replaced his knife in its sheath. It had been in his hand when he
was felled. Strange creatures! He did not know that they held a
superstitious fear of the weapons of a dead enemy, believing that
if buried without them he would forever haunt his slayers in search
of them and that when he found them he would kill the man who killed
him. Against the wall leaned his bow and quiver of arrows.
Tarzan stepped toward the doorway of the cave and looked out.
Night had just fallen. He could hear voices from the nearer caves
and there floated to his nostrils the odor of cooking food. He looked
down and experienced a sensation of relief. The cave in which he
had been held was in the lowest tier--scarce thirty feet from the
base of the cliff. He was about to chance an immediate descent when
there occurred to him a thought that brought a grin to his savage
lips--a thought that was born of the name the Waz-don had given
him Tarzan-jad-guru--Tarzan the Terrible--and a recollection of
the days when he had delighted in baiting the blacks of the distant
jungle of his birth. He turned back into the cave where lay the
dead body of In-tan. With his knife he severed the warrior's head
and carrying it to the outer edge of the recess tossed it to the
ground below, then he dropped swiftly and silently down the ladder
of pegs in a way that would have surprised the Kor-ul-lul who had
been so sure that he could not climb.
At the bottom he picked up the head of In-tan and disappeared among
the shadows of the trees carrying the grisly trophy by its shock
of shaggy hair. Horrible? But you are judging a wild beast by the
standards of civilization. You may teach a lion tricks, but he
is still a lion. Tarzan looked well in a Tuxedo, but he was still
a Tarmangani and beneath his pleated shirt beat a wild and savage
Nor was his madness lacking in method. He knew that the hearts of
the Kor-ul-lul would be filled with rage when they discovered the
thing that he had done and he knew too, that mixed with the rage
would be a leaven of fear and it was fear of him that had made
Tarzan master of many jungles--one does not win the respect of the
killers with bonbons.
Below the village Tarzan returned to the foot of the cliff searching
for a point where he could make the ascent to the ridge and thus
back to the village of Om-at, the Kor-ul-ja. He came at last to a
place where the river ran so close to the rocky wall that he was
forced to swim it in search of a trail upon the opposite side and
here it was that his keen nostrils detected a familiar spoor. It
was the scent of Pan-at-lee at the spot where she had emerged from
the pool and taken to the safety of the jungle.
Immediately the ape-man's plans were changed. Pan-at-lee lived,
or at least she had lived after the leap from the cliff's summit.
He had started in search of her for Om-at, his friend, and for Om-at
he would continue upon the trail he had picked up thus fortuitously
by accident. It led him into the jungle and across the gorge and
then to the point at which Pan-at-lee had commenced the ascent
of the opposite cliffs. Here Tarzan abandoned the head of In-tan,
tying it to the lower branch of a tree, for he knew that it would
handicap him in his ascent of the steep escarpment. Apelike he
ascended, following easily the scent spoor of Pan-at-lee. Over the
summit and across the ridge the trail lay, plain as a printed page
to the delicate senses of the jungle-bred tracker.
Tarzan knew naught of the Kor-ul-gryf. He had seen, dimly in the
shadows of the night, strange, monstrous forms and Ta-den and Om-at
had spoken of great creatures that all men feared; but always,
everywhere, by night and by day, there were dangers. From infancy
death had stalked, grim and terrible, at his heels. He knew little
of any other existence. To cope with danger was his life and he
lived his life as simply and as naturally as you live yours amidst
the dangers of the crowded city streets. The black man who goes
abroad in the jungle by night is afraid, for he has spent his life
since infancy surrounded by numbers of his own kind and safeguarded,
especially at night, by such crude means as lie within his powers.
But Tarzan had lived as the lion lives and the panther and the
elephant and the ape--a true jungle creature dependent solely upon
his prowess and his wits, playing a lone hand against creation.
Therefore he was surprised at nothing and feared nothing and so he
walked through the strange night as undisturbed and unapprehensive
as the farmer to the cow lot in the darkness before the dawn.
Once more Pan-at-lee's trail ended at the verge of a cliff; but this
time there was no indication that she had leaped over the edge and
a moment's search revealed to Tarzan the stone pegs upon which she
had made her descent. As he lay upon his belly leaning over the
top of the cliff examining the pegs his attention was suddenly
attracted by something at the foot of the cliff. He could not
distinguish its identity, but he saw that it moved and presently
that it was ascending slowly, apparently by means of pegs similar
to those directly below him. He watched it intently as it rose
higher and higher until he was able to distinguish its form more
clearly, with the result that he became convinced that it more
nearly resembled some form of great ape than a lower order. It had
a tail, though, and in other respects it did not seem a true ape.
Slowly it ascended to the upper tier of caves, into one of which
it disappeared. Then Tarzan took up again the trail of Pan-at-lee.
He followed it down the stone pegs to the nearest cave and then
further along the upper tier. The ape-man raised his eyebrows when
he saw the direction in which it led, and quickened his pace. He
had almost reached the third cave when the echoes of Kor-ul-gryf
were awakened by a shrill scream of terror.
Pan-at-lee slept--the troubled sleep, of physical and nervous
exhaustion, filled with weird dreamings. She dreamed that she slept
beneath a great tree in the bottom of the Kor-ul-gryf and that one
of the fearsome beasts was creeping upon her but she could not open
her eyes nor move. She tried to scream but no sound issued from
her lips. She felt the thing touch her throat, her breast, her arm,
and there it closed and seemed to be dragging her toward it. With
a super-human effort of will she opened her eyes. In the instant
she knew that she was dreaming and that quickly the hallucination
of the dream would fade--it had happened to her many times before.
But it persisted. In the dim light that filtered into the dark
chamber she saw a form beside her, she felt hairy fingers upon her
and a hairy breast against which she was being drawn. Jad-ben-Otho!
this was no dream. And then she screamed and tried to fight the
thing from her; but her scream was answered by a low growl and
another hairy hand seized her by the hair of the head. The beast
rose now upon its hind legs and dragged her from the cave to the
moonlit recess without and at the same instant she saw the figure
of what she took to be a Ho-don rise above the outer edge of the
The beast that held her saw it too and growled ominously but it
did not relinquish its hold upon her hair. It crouched as though
waiting an attack, and it increased the volume and frequency of
its growls until the horrid sounds reverberated through the gorge,
drowning even the deep bellowings of the beasts below, whose mighty
thunderings had broken out anew with the sudden commotion from the
high-flung cave. The beast that held her crouched and the creature
that faced it crouched also, and growled--as hideously as the other.
Pan-at-lee trembled. This was no Ho-don and though she feared the
Ho-don she feared this thing more, with its catlike crouch and its
beastly growls. She was lost--that Pan-at-lee knew. The two things
might fight for her, but whichever won she was lost. Perhaps, during
the battle, if it came to that, she might find the opportunity to
throw herself over into the Kor-ul-gryf.
The thing that held her she had recognized now as a Tor-o-don, but
the other thing she could not place, though in the moonlight she
could see it very distinctly. It had no tail. She could see its
hands and its feet, and they were not the hands and feet of the
races of Pal-ul-don. It was slowly closing upon the Tor-o-don and
in one hand it held a gleaming knife. Now it spoke and to Pan-at-lee's
terror was added an equal weight of consternation.
"When it leaves go of you," it said, "as it will presently to
defend itself, run quickly behind me, Pan-at-lee, and go to the
cave nearest the pegs you descended from the cliff top. Watch from
there. If I am defeated you will have time to escape this slow
thing; if I am not I will come to you there. I am Om-at's friend
The last words took the keen edge from Pan-at-lee's terror; but she
did not understand. How did this strange creature know her name?
How did it know that she had descended the pegs by a certain cave?
It must, then, have been here when she came. Pan-at-lee was puzzled.
"Who are you?" she asked, "and from whence do you come?"
"I am Tarzan," he replied, "and just now I came from Om-at, of
Kor-ul-ja, in search of you."
Om-at, gund of Kor-ul-ja! What wild talk was this? She would have
questioned him further, but now he was approaching the Tor-o-don
and the latter was screaming and growling so loudly as to drown
the sound of her voice. And then it did what the strange creature
had said that it would do--it released its hold upon her hair as
it prepared to charge. Charge it did and in those close quarters
there was no room to fence for openings. Instantly the two beasts
locked in deadly embrace, each seeking the other's throat. Pan-at-lee
watched, taking no advantage of the opportunity to escape which
their preoccupation gave her. She watched and waited, for into
her savage little brain had come the resolve to pin her faith to
this strange creature who had unlocked her heart with those four
words--"I am Om-at's friend!" And so she waited, with drawn knife,
the opportunity to do her bit in the vanquishing of the Tor-o-don.
That the newcomer could do it unaided she well knew to be beyond
the realms of possibility, for she knew well the prowess of the
beastlike man with whom it fought. There were not many of them in
Pal-ul-don, but what few there were were a terror to the women of
the Waz-don and the Ho-don, for the old Tor-o-don bulls roamed the
mountains and the valleys of Pal-ul-don between rutting seasons
and woe betide the women who fell in their paths.
With his tail the Tor-o-don sought one of Tarzan's ankles, and
finding it, tripped him. The two fell heavily, but so agile was the
ape-man and so quick his powerful muscles that even in falling he
twisted the beast beneath him, so that Tarzan fell on top and now
the tail that had tripped him sought his throat as had the tail of
In-tan, the Kor-ul-lul. In the effort of turning his antagonist's
body during the fall Tarzan had had to relinquish his knife that
he might seize the shaggy body with both hands and now the weapon
lay out of reach at the very edge of the recess. Both hands were
occupied for the moment in fending off the clutching fingers that
sought to seize him and drag his throat within reach of his foe's
formidable fangs and now the tail was seeking its deadly hold with
a formidable persistence that would not be denied.
Pan-at-lee hovered about, breathless, her dagger ready, but there
was no opening that did not also endanger Tarzan, so constantly
were the two duelists changing their positions. Tarzan felt the
tail slowly but surely insinuating itself about his neck though he
had drawn his head down between the muscles of his shoulders in an
effort to protect this vulnerable part. The battle seemed to be
going against him for the giant beast against which he strove would
have been a fair match in weight and strength for Bolgani, the
gorilla. And knowing this he suddenly exerted a single super-human
effort, thrust far apart the giant hands and with the swiftness of
a striking snake buried his fangs in the jugular of the Tor-o-don.
At the same instant the creature's tail coiled about his own throat
and then commenced a battle royal of turning and twisting bodies as
each sought to dislodge the fatal hold of the other, but the acts
of the ape-man were guided by a human brain and thus it was that the
rolling bodies rolled in the direction that Tarzan wished--toward
the edge of the recess.
The choking tail had shut the air from his lungs, he knew that
his gasping lips were parted and his tongue protruding; and now
his brain reeled and his sight grew dim; but not before he reached
his goal and a quick hand shot out to seize the knife that now lay
within reach as the two bodies tottered perilously upon the brink
of the chasm.
With all his remaining strength the ape-man drove home the
blade--once, twice, thrice, and then all went black before him as
he felt himself, still in the clutches of the Tor-o-don, topple
from the recess.
Fortunate it was for Tarzan that Pan-at-lee had not obeyed his
injunction to make good her escape while he engaged the Tor-o-don,
for it was to this fact that he owed his life. Close beside the
struggling forms during the brief moments of the terrific climax
she had realized every detail of the danger to Tarzan with which
the emergency was fraught and as she saw the two rolling over the
outer edge of the niche she seized the ape-man by an ankle at the
same time throwing herself prone upon the rocky floor. The muscles
of the Tor-o-don relaxed in death with the last thrust of Tarzan's
knife and with its hold upon the ape-man released it shot from
sight into the gorge below.
It was with infinite difficulty that Pan-at-lee retained her hold
upon the ankle of her protector, but she did so and then, slowly,
she sought to drag the dead weight back to the safety of the niche.
This, however, was beyond her strength and she could but hold on
tightly, hoping that some plan would suggest itself before her powers
of endurance failed. She wondered if, after all, the creature was
already dead, but that she could not bring herself to believe--and
if not dead how long it would be before he regained consciousness.
If he did not regain it soon he never would regain it, that she
knew, for she felt her fingers numbing to the strain upon them and
slipping, slowly, slowly, from their hold. It was then that Tarzan
regained consciousness. He could not know what power upheld him,
but he felt that whatever it was it was slowly releasing its hold
upon his ankle. Within easy reach of his hands were two pegs and
these he seized upon just as Pan-at-lee's fingers slipped from
As it was he came near to being precipitated into the gorge--only
his great strength saved him. He was upright now and his feet
found other pegs. His first thought was of his foe. Where was he?
Waiting above there to finish him? Tarzan looked up just as the
frightened face of Pan-at-lee appeared over the threshold of the
"You live?" she cried.
"Yes," replied Tarzan. "Where is the shaggy one?"
Pan-at-lee pointed downward. "There," she said, "dead."
"Good!" exclaimed the ape-man, clambering to her side. "You are
unharmed?" he asked.
"You came just in time," replied Pan-at-lee; "but who are you and
how did you know that I was here and what do you know of Om-at and
where did you come from and what did you mean by calling Om-at,
"Wait, wait," cried Tarzan; "one at a time. My, but you are all
alike--the shes of the tribe of Kerchak, the ladies of England, and
their sisters of Pal-ul-don. Have patience and I will try to tell
you all that you wish to know. Four of us set out with Om-at from
Kor-ul-ja to search for you. We were attacked by the Kor-ul-lul
and separated. I was taken prisoner, but escaped. Again I stumbled
upon your trail and followed it, reaching the summit of this cliff
just as the hairy one was climbing up after you. I was coming to
investigate when I heard your scream--the rest you know."
"But you called Om-at, gund of Kor-ul-ja," she insisted. "Es-sat
"Es-sat is dead," explained the ape-man. "Om-at slew him and now
Om-at is gund. Om-at came back seeking you. He found Es-sat in your
cave and killed him."
"Yes," said the girl, "Es-sat came to my cave and I struck him down
with my golden breastplates and escaped."
"And a lion pursued you," continued Tarzan, "and you leaped from
the cliff into Kor-ul-lul, but why you were not killed is beyond
"Is there anything beyond you?" exclaimed Pan-at-lee. "How could
you know that a lion pursued me and that I leaped from the cliff
and not know that it was the pool of deep water below that saved
"I would have known that, too, had not the Kor-ul-lul come then
and prevented me continuing upon your trail. But now I would ask
you a question--by what name do you call the thing with which I
"It was a Tor-o-don," she replied. "I have seen but one before. They
are terrible creatures with the cunning of man and the ferocity of
a beast. Great indeed must be the warrior who slays one single-handed."
She gazed at him in open admiration.
"And now," said Tarzan, "you must sleep, for tomorrow we shall
return to Kor-ul-ja and Om-at, and I doubt that you have had much
rest these two nights."
Pan-at-lee, lulled by a feeling of security, slept peacefully into
the morning while Tarzan stretched himself upon the hard floor of
the recess just outside her cave.
The sun was high in the heavens when he awoke; for two hours it
had looked down upon another heroic figure miles away--the figure
of a godlike man fighting his way through the hideous morass that
lies like a filthy moat defending Pal-ul-don from the creatures of
the outer world. Now waist deep in the sucking ooze, now menaced
by loathsome reptiles, the man advanced only by virtue of Herculean
efforts gaining laboriously by inches along the devious way that
he was forced to choose in selecting the least precarious footing.
Near the center of the morass was open water--slimy, green-hued
water. He reached it at last after more than two hours of such
effort as would have left an ordinary man spent and dying in the
sticky mud, yet he was less than halfway across the marsh. Greasy
with slime and mud was his smooth, brown hide, and greasy with slime
and mud was his beloved Enfield that had shone so brightly in the
first rays of the rising sun.
He paused a moment upon the edge of the open water and then throwing
himself forward struck out to swim across. He swam with long, easy,
powerful strokes calculated less for speed than for endurance, for
his was, primarily, a test of the latter, since beyond the open
water was another two hours or more of gruelling effort between it
and solid ground. He was, perhaps, halfway across and congratulating
himself upon the ease of the achievement of this portion of his task
when there arose from the depths directly in his path a hideous
reptile, which, with wide-distended jaws, bore down upon him,
Tarzan arose and stretched, expanded his great chest and drank in
deep draughts of the fresh morning air. His clear eyes scanned the
wondrous beauties of the landscape spread out before them. Directly
below lay Kor-ul-gryf, a dense, somber green of gently moving tree
tops. To Tarzan it was neither grim, nor forbidding--it was jungle,
beloved jungle. To his right there spread a panorama of the lower
reaches of the Valley of Jad-ben-Otho, with its winding streams and
its blue lakes. Gleaming whitely in the sunlight were scattered
groups of dwellings--the feudal strongholds of the lesser chiefs
of the Ho-don. A-lur, the City of Light, he could not see as it was
hidden by the shoulder of the cliff in which the deserted village
For a moment Tarzan gave himself over to that spiritual enjoyment
of beauty that only the man-mind may attain and then Nature asserted
herself and the belly of the beast called aloud that it was hungry.
Again Tarzan looked down at Kor-ul-gryf. There was the jungle! Grew
there a jungle that would not feed Tarzan? The ape-man smiled and
commenced the descent to the gorge. Was there danger there? Of
course. Who knew it better than Tarzan? In all jungles lies death,
for life and death go hand in hand and where life teems death reaps
his fullest harvest. Never had Tarzan met a creature of the jungle
with which he could not cope--sometimes by virtue of brute strength
alone, again by a combination of brute strength and the cunning of
the man-mind; but Tarzan had never met a gryf.
He had heard the bellowings in the gorge the night before after
he had lain down to sleep and he had meant to ask Pan-at-lee this
morning what manner of beast so disturbed the slumbers of its
betters. He reached the foot of the cliff and strode into the jungle
and here he halted, his keen eyes and ears watchful and alert,
his sensitive nostrils searching each shifting air current for the
scent spoor of game. Again he advanced deeper into the wood, his
light step giving forth no sound, his bow and arrows in readiness.
A light morning breeze was blowing from up the gorge and in this
direction he bent his steps. Many odors impinged upon his organs
of scent. Some of these he classified without effort, but others
were strange--the odors of beasts and of birds, of trees and shrubs
and flowers with which he was unfamiliar. He sensed faintly the
reptilian odor that he had learned to connect with the strange,
nocturnal forms that had loomed dim and bulky on several occasions
since his introduction to Pal-ul-don.
And then, suddenly he caught plainly the strong, sweet odor of Bara,
the deer. Were the belly vocal, Tarzan's would have given a little
cry of joy, for it loved the flesh of Bara. The ape-man moved
rapidly, but cautiously forward. The prey was not far distant and
as the hunter approached it, he took silently to the trees and
still in his nostrils was the faint reptilian odor that spoke of
a great creature which he had never yet seen except as a denser
shadow among the dense shadows of the night; but the odor was of
such a faintness as suggests to the jungle bred the distance of
And now, moving noiselessly, Tarzan came within sight of Bara
drinking at a pool where the stream that waters Kor-ul-gryf crosses
an open place in the jungle. The deer was too far from the nearest
tree to risk a charge, so the ape-man must depend upon the accuracy
and force of his first arrow, which must drop the deer in its tracks
or forfeit both deer and shaft. Far back came the right hand and
the bow, that you or I might not move, bent easily beneath the
muscles of the forest god. There was a singing twang and Bara,
leaping high in air, collapsed upon the ground, an arrow through
his heart. Tarzan dropped to earth and ran to his kill, lest the
animal might even yet rise and escape; but Bara was safely dead.
As Tarzan stooped to lift it to his shoulder there fell upon his
ears a thunderous bellow that seemed almost at his right elbow,
and as his eyes shot in the direction of the sound, there broke
upon his vision such a creature as paleontologists have dreamed as
having possibly existed in the dimmest vistas of Earth's infancy--a
gigantic creature, vibrant with mad rage, that charged, bellowing,
When Pan-at-lee awoke she looked out upon the niche in search of
Tarzan. He was not there. She sprang to her feet and rushed out,
looking down into Kor-ul-gryf guessing that he had gone down in
search of food and there she caught a glimpse of him disappearing
into the forest. For an instant she was panic-stricken. She knew
that he was a stranger in Pal-ul-don and that, so, he might not
realize the dangers that lay in that gorge of terror. Why did she
not call to him to return? You or I might have done so, but no
Pal-ul-don, for they know the ways of the gryf--they know the weak
eyes and the keen ears, and that at the sound of a human voice
they come. To have called to Tarzan, then, would but have been to
invite disaster and so she did not call. Instead, afraid though she
was, she descended into the gorge for the purpose of overhauling
Tarzan and warning him in whispers of his danger. It was a brave act,
since it was performed in the face of countless ages of inherited
fear of the creatures that she might be called upon to face. Men
have been decorated for less.
Pan-at-lee, descended from a long line of hunters, assumed that
Tarzan would move up wind and in this direction she sought his
tracks, which she soon found well marked, since he had made no effort
to conceal them. She moved rapidly until she reached the point at
which Tarzan had taken to the trees. Of course she knew what had
happened; since her own people were semi-arboreal; but she could
not track him through the trees, having no such well-developed
sense of scent as he.
She could but hope that he had continued on up wind and in this
direction she moved, her heart pounding in terror against her ribs,
her eyes glancing first in one direction and then another. She
had reached the edge of a clearing when two things happened--she
caught sight of Tarzan bending over a dead deer and at the same
instant a deafening roar sounded almost beside her. It terrified
her beyond description, but it brought no paralysis of fear.
Instead it galvanized her into instant action with the result that
Pan-at-lee swarmed up the nearest tree to the very loftiest branch
that would sustain her weight. Then she looked down.
The thing that Tarzan saw charging him when the warning bellow
attracted his surprised eyes loomed terrifically monstrous before
him--monstrous and awe-inspiring; but it did not terrify Tarzan,
it only angered him, for he saw that it was beyond even his powers
to combat and that meant that it might cause him to lose his
kill, and Tarzan was hungry. There was but a single alternative to
remaining for annihilation and that was flight--swift and immediate.
And Tarzan fled, but he carried the carcass of Bara, the deer, with
him. He had not more than a dozen paces start, but on the other hand
the nearest tree was almost as close. His greatest danger lay, he
imagined, in the great, towering height of the creature pursuing
him, for even though he reached the tree he would have to climb high
in an incredibly short time as, unless appearances were deceiving,
the thing could reach up and pluck him down from any branch under
thirty feet above the ground, and possibly from those up to fifty
feet, if it reared up on its hind legs.
But Tarzan was no sluggard and though the gryf was incredibly
fast despite its great bulk, it was no match for Tarzan, and when
it comes to climbing, the little monkeys gaze with envy upon the
feats of the ape-man. And so it was that the bellowing gryf came
to a baffled stop at the foot of the tree and even though he reared
up and sought to seize his prey among the branches, as Tarzan
had guessed he might, he failed in this also. And then, well out
of reach, Tarzan came to a stop and there, just above him, he saw
Pan-at-lee sitting, wide-eyed and trembling.
"How came you here?" he asked.
She told him. "You came to warn me!" he said. "It was very brave
and unselfish of you. I am chagrined that I should have been thus
surprised. The creature was up wind from me and yet I did not sense
its near presence until it charged. I cannot understand it."
"It is not strange," said Pan-at-lee. "That is one of the peculiarities
of the gryf--it is said that man never knows of its presence until
it is upon him--so silently does it move despite its great size."
"But I should have smelled it," cried Tarzan, disgustedly.
"Smelled it!" ejaculated Pan-at-lee. "Smelled it?"
"Certainly. How do you suppose I found this deer so quickly? And I
sensed the gryf, too, but faintly as at a great distance." Tarzan
suddenly ceased speaking and looked down at the bellowing creature
below them--his nostrils quivered as though searching for a scent.
"Ah!" he exclaimed. "I have it!"
"What?" asked Pan-at-lee.
"I was deceived because the creature gives off practically no
odor," explained the ape-man. "What I smelled was the faint aroma
that doubtless permeates the entire jungle because of the long
presence of many of the creatures--it is the sort of odor that
would remain for a long time, faint as it is.
"Pan-at-lee, did you ever hear of a triceratops? No? Well this thing
that you call a gryf is a triceratops and it has been extinct for
hundreds of thousands of years. I have seen its skeleton in the
museum in London and a figure of one restored. I always thought
that the scientists who did such work depended principally upon an
overwrought imagination, but I see that I was wrong. This living
thing is not an exact counterpart of the restoration that I saw;
but it is so similar as to be easily recognizable, and then, too,
we must remember that during the ages that have elapsed since the
paleontologist's specimen lived many changes might have been wrought
by evolution in the living line that has quite evidently persisted
"Triceratops, London, paleo--I don't know what you are talking
about," cried Pan-at-lee.
Tarzan smiled and threw a piece of dead wood at the face of the
angry creature below them. Instantly the great bony hood over the
neck was erected and a mad bellow rolled upward from the gigantic
body. Full twenty feet at the shoulder the thing stood, a dirty
slate-blue in color except for its yellow face with the blue bands
encircling the eyes, the red hood with the yellow lining and the
yellow belly. The three parallel lines of bony protuberances down
the back gave a further touch of color to the body, those following
the line of the spine being red, while those on either side
are yellow. The five- and three-toed hoofs of the ancient horned
dinosaurs had become talons in the gryf, but the three horns, two
large ones above the eyes and a median horn on the nose, had persisted
through all the ages. Weird and terrible as was its appearance
Tarzan could not but admire the mighty creature looming big below
him, its seventy-five feet of length majestically typifying those
things which all his life the ape-man had admired--courage and
strength. In that massive tail alone was the strength of an elephant.
The wicked little eyes looked up at him and the horny beak opened
to disclose a full set of powerful teeth.
"Herbivorous!" murmured the ape-man. "Your ancestors may have been,
but not you," and then to Pan-at-lee: "Let us go now. At the cave
we will have deer meat and then--back to Kor-ul-ja and Om-at."
The girl shuddered. "Go?" she repeated. "We will never go from
"Why not?" asked Tarzan.
For answer she but pointed to the gryf.
"Nonsense!" exclaimed the man. "It cannot climb. We can reach the
cliff through the trees and be back in the cave before it knows
what has become of us."
"You do not know the gryf," replied Pan-at-lee gloomily.
"Wherever we go it will follow and always it will be ready at the
foot of each tree when we would descend. It will never give us up."
"We can live in the trees for a long time if necessary," replied
Tarzan, "and sometime the thing will leave."
The girl shook her head. "Never," she said, "and then there are the
Tor-o-don. They will come and kill us and after eating a little will
throw the balance to the gryf--the gryf and Tor-o-don are friends,
because the Tor-o-don shares his food with the gryf."
"You may be right," said Tarzan; "but even so I don't intend waiting
here for someone to come along and eat part of me and then feed
the balance to that beast below. If I don't get out of this place
whole it won't be my fault. Come along now and we'll make a try at
it," and so saying he moved off through the tree tops with Pan-at-lee
close behind. Below them, on the ground, moved the horned dinosaur
and when they reached the edge of the forest where there lay fifty
yards of open ground to cross to the foot of the cliff he was there
with them, at the bottom of the tree, waiting.
Tarzan looked ruefully down and scratched his head.
Presently he looked up and at Pan-at-lee. "Can you cross the gorge
through the trees very rapidly?" he questioned.
"Alone?" she asked.
"No," replied Tarzan.
"I can follow wherever you can lead," she said then.
"Across and back again?"
"Then come, and do exactly as I bid." He started back again through the
trees, swiftly, swinging monkey-like from limb to limb, following
a zigzag course that he tried to select with an eye for the
difficulties of the trail beneath. Where the underbrush was heaviest,
where fallen trees blocked the way, he led the footsteps of the
creature below them; but all to no avail. When they reached the
opposite side of the gorge the gryf was with them.
"Back again," said Tarzan, and, turning, the two retraced their
high-flung way through the upper terraces of the ancient forest
of Kor-ul-gryf. But the result was the same--no, not quite; it was
worse, for another gryf had joined the first and now two waited
beneath the tree in which they stopped.
The cliff looming high above them with its innumerable cave mouths
seemed to beckon and to taunt them. It was so near, yet eternity
yawned between. The body of the Tor-o-don lay at the cliff's foot
where it had fallen. It was in plain view of the two in the tree.
One of the gryfs walked over and sniffed about it, but did not
offer to devour it. Tarzan had examined it casually as he had passed
earlier in the morning. He guessed that it represented either a
very high order of ape or a very low order of man--something akin
to the Java man, perhaps; a truer example of the pithecanthropi than
either the Ho-don or the Waz-don; possibly the precursor of them
both. As his eyes wandered idly over the scene below his active
brain was working out the details of the plan that he had made
to permit Pan-at-lee's escape from the gorge. His thoughts were
interrupted by a strange cry from above them in the gorge.
"Whee-oo! Whee-oo!" it sounded, coming closer.
The gryfs below raised their heads and looked in the direction of
the interruption. One of them made a low, rumbling sound in its
throat. It was not a bellow and it did not indicate anger. Immediately
the "Whee-oo!" responded. The gryfs repeated the rumbling and at
intervals the "Whee-oo!" was repeated, coming ever closer.
Tarzan looked at Pan-at-lee. "What is it?" he asked.
"I do not know," she replied. "Perhaps a strange bird, or another
horrid beast that dwells in this frightful place."
"Ah," exclaimed Tarzan; "there it is. Look!"
Pan-at-lee voiced a cry of despair. "A Tor-o-don!"
The creature, walking erect and carrying a stick in one hand,
advanced at a slow, lumbering gait. It walked directly toward the
gryfs who moved aside, as though afraid. Tarzan watched intently.
The Tor-o-don was now quite close to one of the triceratops. It
swung its head and snapped at him viciously. Instantly the Tor-o-don
sprang in and commenced to belabor the huge beast across the face
with his stick. To the ape-man's amazement the gryf, that might
have annihilated the comparatively puny Tor-o-don instantly in any
of a dozen ways, cringed like a whipped cur.
"Whee-oo! Whee-oo!" shouted the Tor-o-don and the gryf came slowly
toward him. A whack on the median horn brought it to a stop. Then
the Tor-o-don walked around behind it, clambered up its tail and
seated himself astraddle of the huge back. "Whee-oo!" he shouted
and prodded the beast with a sharp point of his stick. The gryf
commenced to move off.
So rapt had Tarzan been in the scene below him that he had given
no thought to escape, for he realized that for him and Pan-at-lee
time had in these brief moments turned back countless ages to
spread before their eyes a page of the dim and distant past. They
two had looked upon the first man and his primitive beasts of
And now the ridden gryf halted and looked up at them, bellowing.
It was sufficient. The creature had warned its master of their
presence. Instantly the Tor-o-don urged the beast close beneath
the tree which held them, at the same time leaping to his feet upon
the horny back. Tarzan saw the bestial face, the great fangs, the
mighty muscles. From the loins of such had sprung the human race--and
only from such could it have sprung, for only such as this might
have survived the horrid dangers of the age that was theirs.
The Tor-o-don beat upon his breast and growled horribly--hideous,
uncouth, beastly. Tarzan rose to his full height upon a swaying
branch--straight and beautiful as a demigod--unspoiled by the
taint of civilization--a perfect specimen of what the human race
might have been had the laws of man not interfered with the laws
The Present fitted an arrow to his bow and drew the shaft far back.
The Past basing its claims upon brute strength sought to reach the
other and drag him down; but the loosed arrow sank deep into the
savage heart and the Past sank back into the oblivion that had
claimed his kind.
"Tarzan-jad-guru!" murmured Pan-at-lee, unknowingly giving him out
of the fullness of her admiration the same title that the warriors
of her tribe had bestowed upon him.
The ape-man turned to her. "Pan-at-lee," he said, "these beasts may
keep us treed here indefinitely. I doubt if we can escape together,
but I have a plan. You remain here, hiding yourself in the foliage,
while I start back across the gorge in sight of them and yelling
to attract their attention. Unless they have more brains than I
suspect they will follow me. When they are gone you make for the
cliff. Wait for me in the cave not longer than today. If I do not
come by tomorrow's sun you will have to start back for Kor-ul-ja
alone. Here is a joint of deer meat for you." He had severed one
of the deer's hind legs and this he passed up to her.
"I cannot desert you," she said simply; "it is not the way of my
people to desert a friend and ally. Om-at would never forgive me."
"Tell Om-at that I commanded you to go," replied Tarzan.
"It is a command?" she asked.
"It is! Good-bye, Pan-at-lee. Hasten back to Om-at--you are a fitting
mate for the chief of Kor-ul-ja." He moved off slowly through the
"Good-bye, Tarzan-jad-guru!" she called after him. "Fortunate are
my Om-at and his Pan-at-lee in owning such a friend."
Tarzan, shouting aloud, continued upon his way and the great gryfs,
lured by his voice, followed beneath. His ruse was evidently proving
successful and he was filled with elation as he led the bellowing
beasts farther and farther from Pan-at-lee. He hoped that she would
take advantage of the opportunity afforded her for escape, yet at
the same time he was filled with concern as to her ability to survive
the dangers which lay between Kor-ul-gryf and Kor-ul-ja. There
were lions and Tor-o-dons and the unfriendly tribe of Kor-ul-lul
to hinder her progress, though the distance in itself to the cliffs
of her people was not great.
He realized her bravery and understood the resourcefulness that
she must share in common with all primitive people who, day by day,
must contend face to face with nature's law of the survival of the
fittest, unaided by any of the numerous artificial protections that
civilization has thrown around its brood of weaklings.
Several times during this crossing of the gorge Tarzan endeavored
to outwit his keen pursuers, but all to no avail. Double as he
would he could not throw them off his track and ever as he changed
his course they changed theirs to conform. Along the verge of the
forest upon the southeastern side of the gorge he sought some point
at which the trees touched some negotiable portion of the cliff,
but though he traveled far both up and down the gorge he discovered
no such easy avenue of escape. The ape-man finally commenced to
entertain an idea of the hopelessness of his case and to realize
to the full why the Kor-ul-gryf had been religiously abjured by
the races of Pal-ul-don for all these many ages.
Night was falling and though since early morning he had sought
diligently a way out of this cul-de-sac he was no nearer to liberty
than at the moment the first bellowing gryf had charged him as he
stooped over the carcass of his kill: but with the falling of night
came renewed hope for, in common with the great cats, Tarzan was,
to a greater or lesser extent, a nocturnal beast. It is true he
could not see by night as well as they, but that lack was largely
recompensed for by the keenness of his scent and the highly developed
sensitiveness of his other organs of perception. As the blind follow
and interpret their Braille characters with deft fingers, so Tarzan
reads the book of the jungle with feet and hands and eyes and ears
and nose; each contributing its share to the quick and accurate
translation of the text.
But again he was doomed to be thwarted by one vital weakness--he
did not know the gryf, and before the night was over he wondered if
the things never slept, for wheresoever he moved they moved also,
and always they barred his road to liberty. Finally, just before
dawn, he relinquished his immediate effort and sought rest in a
friendly tree crotch in the safety of the middle terrace.
Once again was the sun high when Tarzan awoke, rested and refreshed.
Keen to the necessities of the moment he made no effort to locate
his jailers lest in the act he might apprise them of his movements.
Instead he sought cautiously and silently to melt away among the
foliage of the trees. His first move, however, was heralded by a
deep bellow from below.
Among the numerous refinements of civilization that Tarzan had
failed to acquire was that of profanity, and possibly it is to be
regretted since there are circumstances under which it is at least
a relief to pent emotion. And it may be that in effect Tarzan
resorted to profanity if there can be physical as well as vocal
swearing, since immediately the bellow announced that his hopes
had been again frustrated, he turned quickly and seeing the hideous
face of the gryf below him seized a large fruit from a nearby
branch and hurled it viciously at the horned snout. The missile
struck full between the creature's eyes, resulting in a reaction
that surprised the ape-man; it did not arouse the beast to a show
of revengeful rage as Tarzan had expected and hoped; instead the
creature gave a single vicious side snap at the fruit as it bounded
from his skull and then turned sulkily away, walking off a few
There was that in the act that recalled immediately to Tarzan's mind
similar action on the preceding day when the Tor-o-don had struck
one of the creatures across the face with his staff, and instantly
there sprung to the cunning and courageous brain a plan of escape
from his predicament that might have blanched the cheek of the most
The gambling instinct is not strong among creatures of the wild;
the chances of their daily life are sufficient stimuli for the
beneficial excitement of their nerve centers. It has remained for
civilized man, protected in a measure from the natural dangers of
existence, to invent artificial stimulants in the form of cards
and dice and roulette wheels. Yet when necessity bids there are
no greater gamblers than the savage denizens of the jungle, the
forest, and the hills, for as lightly as you roll the ivory cubes
upon the green cloth they will gamble with death--their own lives
And so Tarzan would gamble now, pitting the seemingly wild deductions
of his shrewd brain against all the proofs of the bestial ferocity
of his antagonists that his experience of them had adduced--against
all the age-old folklore and legend that had been handed down for
countless generations and passed on to him through the lips of
Yet as he worked in preparation for the greatest play that man can
make in the game of life, he smiled; nor was there any indication
of haste or excitement or nervousness in his demeanor.
First he selected a long, straight branch about two inches in
diameter at its base. This he cut from the tree with his knife,
removed the smaller branches and twigs until he had fashioned
a pole about ten feet in length. This he sharpened at the smaller
end. The staff finished to his satisfaction he looked down upon
"Whee-oo!" he cried.
Instantly the beasts raised their heads and looked at him. From
the throat of one of them came faintly a low rumbling sound.
"Whee-oo!" repeated Tarzan and hurled the balance of the carcass
of the deer to them.
Instantly the gryfs fell upon it with much bellowing, one of them
attempting to seize it and keep it from the other: but finally
the second obtained a hold and an instant later it had been torn
asunder and greedily devoured. Once again they looked up at the
ape-man and this time they saw him descending to the ground.
One of them started toward him. Again Tarzan repeated the weird cry
of the Tor-o-don. The gryf halted in his track, apparently puzzled,
while Tarzan slipped lightly to the earth and advanced toward
the nearer beast, his staff raised menacingly and the call of the
first-man upon his lips.
Would the cry be answered by the low rumbling of the beast of
burden or the horrid bellow of the man-eater? Upon the answer to
this question hung the fate of the ape-man.
Pan-at-lee was listening intently to the sounds of the departing
gryfs as Tarzan led them cunningly from her, and when she was sure
that they were far enough away to insure her safe retreat she dropped
swiftly from the branches to the ground and sped like a frightened
deer across the open space to the foot of the cliff, stepped over
the body of the Tor-o-don who had attacked her the night before and
was soon climbing rapidly up the ancient stone pegs of the deserted
cliff village. In the mouth of the cave near that which she had
occupied she kindled a fire and cooked the haunch of venison that
Tarzan had left her, and from one of the trickling streams that
ran down the face of the escarpment she obtained water to satisfy
All day she waited, hearing in the distance, and sometimes close at
hand, the bellowing of the gryfs which pursued the strange creature
that had dropped so miraculously into her life. For him she felt
the same keen, almost fanatical loyalty that many another had
experienced for Tarzan of the Apes. Beast and human, he had held
them to him with bonds that were stronger than steel--those of them
that were clean and courageous, and the weak and the helpless; but
never could Tarzan claim among his admirers the coward, the ingrate
or the scoundrel; from such, both man and beast, he had won fear
To Pan-at-lee he was all that was brave and noble and heroic and,
too, he was Om-at's friend--the friend of the man she loved. For
any one of these reasons Pan-at-lee would have died for Tarzan,
for such is the loyalty of the simple-minded children of nature.
It has remained for civilization to teach us to weigh the relative
rewards of loyalty and its antithesis. The loyalty of the primitive
is spontaneous, unreasoning, unselfish and such was the loyalty of
Pan-at-lee for the Tarmangani.
And so it was that she waited that day and night, hoping that he
would return that she might accompany him back to Om-at, for her
experience had taught her that in the face of danger two have a
better chance than one. But Tarzan-jad-guru had not come, and so
upon the following morning Pan-at-lee set out upon her return to
She knew the dangers and yet she faced them with the stolid indifference
of her race. When they directly confronted and menaced her would
be time enough to experience fear or excitement or confidence. In
the meantime it was unnecessary to waste nerve energy by anticipating
them. She moved therefore through her savage land with no greater
show of concern than might mark your sauntering to a corner drug-store
for a sundae. But this is your life and that is Pan-at-lee's and
even now as you read this Pan-at-lee may be sitting upon the edge
of the recess of Om-at's cave while the ja and jato roar from the
gorge below and from the ridge above, and the Kor-ul-lul threaten
upon the south and the Ho-don from the Valley of Jad-ben-Otho far
below, for Pan-at-lee still lives and preens her silky coat of jet
beneath the tropical moonlight of Pal-ul-don.
But she was not to reach Kor-ul-ja this day, nor the next, nor for
many days after though the danger that threatened her was neither
Waz-don enemy nor savage beast.
She came without misadventure to the Kor-ul-lul and after descending
its rocky southern wall without catching the slightest glimpse of
the hereditary enemies of her people, she experienced a renewal of
confidence that was little short of practical assurance that she
would successfully terminate her venture and be restored once more
to her own people and the lover she had not seen for so many long
and weary moons.
She was almost across the gorge now and moving with an extreme caution
abated no wit by her confidence, for wariness is an instinctive
trait of the primitive, something which cannot be laid aside even
momentarily if one would survive. And so she came to the trail that
follows the windings of Kor-ul-lul from its uppermost reaches down
into the broad and fertile Valley of Jad-ben-Otho.
And as she stepped into the trail there arose on either side of her
from out of the bushes that border the path, as though materialized
from thin air, a score of tall, white warriors of the Ho-don. Like
a frightened deer Pan-at-lee cast a single startled look at these
menacers of her freedom and leaped quickly toward the bushes in
an effort to escape; but the warriors were too close at hand. They
closed upon her from every side and then, drawing her knife she
turned at bay, metamorphosed by the fires of fear and hate from a
startled deer to a raging tiger-cat. They did not try to kill her,
but only to subdue and capture her; and so it was that more than a
single Ho-don warrior felt the keen edge of her blade in his flesh
before they had succeeded in overpowering her by numbers. And still
she fought and scratched and bit after they had taken the knife from
her until it was necessary to tie her hands and fasten a piece of
wood between her teeth by means of thongs passed behind her head.
At first she refused to walk when they started off in the direction
of the valley but after two of them had seized her by the hair and
dragged her for a number of yards she thought better of her original
decision and came along with them, though still as defiant as her
bound wrists and gagged mouth would permit.
Near the entrance to Kor-ul-lul they came upon another body of
their warriors with which were several Waz-don prisoners from the
tribe of Kor-ul-lul. It was a raiding party come up from a Ho-don
city of the valley after slaves. This Pan-at-lee knew for the
occurrence was by no means unusual. During her lifetime the tribe
to which she belonged had been sufficiently fortunate, or powerful,
to withstand successfully the majority of such raids made upon
them, but yet Pan-at-lee had known of friends and relatives who had
been carried into slavery by the Ho-don and she knew, too, another
thing which gave her hope, as doubtless it did to each of the other
captives--that occasionally the prisoners escaped from the cities
of the hairless whites.
After they had joined the other party the entire band set forth
into the valley and presently, from the conversation of her captors,
Pan-at-lee knew that she was headed for A-lur, the City of Light;
while in the cave of his ancestors, Om-at, chief of the Kor-ul-ja,
bemoaned the loss of both his friend and she that was to have been
As the hissing reptile bore down upon the stranger swimming in
the open water near the center of the morass on the frontier of
Pal-ul-don it seemed to the man that this indeed must be the futile
termination of an arduous and danger-filled journey. It seemed,
too, equally futile to pit his puny knife against this frightful
creature. Had he been attacked on land it is possible that he might
as a last resort have used his Enfield, though he had come thus
far through all these weary, danger-ridden miles without recourse
to it, though again and again had his life hung in the balance in
the face of the savage denizens of forest, jungle, and steppe. For
whatever it may have been for which he was preserving his precious
ammunition he evidently held it more sacred even than his life,
for as yet he had not used a single round and now the decision was
not required of him, since it would have been impossible for him
to have unslung his Enfield, loaded and fired with the necessary
celerity while swimming.
Though his chance for survival seemed slender, and hope at its lowest
ebb, he was not minded therefore to give up without a struggle.
Instead he drew his blade and awaited the oncoming reptile. The
creature was like no living thing he ever before had seen although
possibly it resembled a crocodile in some respects more than it
did anything with which he was familiar.
As this frightful survivor of some extinct progenitor charged
upon him with distended jaws there came to the man quickly a full
consciousness of the futility of endeavoring to stay the mad rush
or pierce the armor-coated hide with his little knife. The thing
was almost upon him now and whatever form of defense he chose must
be made quickly. There seemed but a single alternative to instant
death, and this he took at almost the instant the great reptile
towered directly above him.
With the celerity of a seal he dove headforemost beneath the
oncoming body and at the same instant, turning upon his back, he
plunged his blade into the soft, cold surface of the slimy belly as
the momentum of the hurtling reptile carried it swiftly over him;
and then with powerful strokes he swam on beneath the surface for
a dozen yards before he rose. A glance showed him the stricken
monster plunging madly in pain and rage upon the surface of the
water behind him. That it was writhing in its death agonies was
evidenced by the fact that it made no effort to pursue him, and so,
to the accompaniment of the shrill screaming of the dying monster,
the man won at last to the farther edge of the open water to take
up once more the almost superhuman effort of crossing the last
stretch of clinging mud which separated him from the solid ground
A good two hours it took him to drag his now weary body through
the clinging, stinking muck, but at last, mud covered and spent,
he dragged himself out upon the soft grasses of the bank. A hundred
yards away a stream, winding its way down from the distant mountains,
emptied into the morass, and, after a short rest, he made his way
to this and seeking a quiet pool, bathed himself and washed the mud
and slime from his weapons, accouterments, and loin cloth. Another
hour was spent beneath the rays of the hot sun in wiping, polishing,
and oiling his Enfield though the means at hand for drying it
consisted principally of dry grasses. It was afternoon before he
had satisfied himself that his precious weapon was safe from any
harm by dirt, or dampness, and then he arose and took up the search
for the spoor he had followed to the opposite side of the swamp.
Would he find again the trail that had led into the opposite side
of the morass, to be lost there, even to his trained senses? If he
found it not again upon this side of the almost impassable barrier
he might assume that his long journey had ended in failure. And so
he sought up and down the verge of the stagnant water for traces of
an old spoor that would have been invisible to your eyes or mine,
even had we followed directly in the tracks of its maker.
As Tarzan advanced upon the gryfs he imitated as closely as he could
recall them the methods and mannerisms of the Tor-o-don, but up to
the instant that he stood close beside one of the huge creatures
he realized that his fate still hung in the balance, for the thing
gave forth no sign, either menacing or otherwise. It only stood
there, watching him out of its cold, reptilian eyes and then Tarzan
raised his staff and with a menacing "Whee-oo!" struck the gryf a
vicious blow across the face.
The creature made a sudden side snap in his direction, a snap that
did not reach him, and then turned sullenly away, precisely as it
had when the Tor-o-don commanded it. Walking around to its rear as
he had seen the shaggy first-man do, Tarzan ran up the broad tail
and seated himself upon the creature's back, and then again imitating
the acts of the Tor-o-don he prodded it with the sharpened point of
his staff, and thus goading it forward and guiding it with blows,
first upon one side and then upon the other, he started it down
the gorge in the direction of the valley.
At first it had been in his mind only to determine if he could
successfully assert any authority over the great monsters, realizing
that in this possibility lay his only hope of immediate escape from
his jailers. But once seated upon the back of his titanic mount
the ape-man experienced the sensation of a new thrill that recalled
to him the day in his boyhood that he had first clambered to the
broad head of Tantor, the elephant, and this, together with the
sense of mastery that was always meat and drink to the lord of
the jungle, decided him to put his newly acquired power to some
Pan-at-lee he judged must either have already reached safety or
met with death. At least, no longer could he be of service to her,
while below Kor-ul-gryf, in the soft green valley, lay A-lur, the
City of Light, which, since he had gazed upon it from the shoulder
of Pastar-ul-ved, had been his ambition and his goal.
Whether or not its gleaming walls held the secret of his lost mate
he could not even guess but if she lived at all within the precincts
of Pal-ul-don it must be among the Ho-don, since the hairy black
men of this forgotten world took no prisoners. And so to A-lur he
would go, and how more effectively than upon the back of this grim
and terrible creature that the races of Pal-ul-don held in such
A little mountain stream tumbles down from Kor-ul-gryf to be joined
in the foothills with that which empties the waters of Kor-ul-lul
into the valley, forming a small river which runs southwest,
eventually entering the valley's largest lake at the City of A-lur,
through the center of which the stream passes. An ancient trail,
well marked by countless generations of naked feet of man and beast,
leads down toward A-lur beside the river, and along this Tarzan
guided the gryf. Once clear of the forest which ran below the
mouth of the gorge, Tarzan caught occasional glimpses of the city
gleaming in the distance far below him.
The country through which he passed was resplendent with the riotous
beauties of tropical verdure. Thick, lush grasses grew waist high
upon either side of the trail and the way was broken now and again
by patches of open park-like forest, or perhaps a little patch of
dense jungle where the trees overarched the way and trailing creepers
depended in graceful loops from branch to branch.
At times the ape-man had difficulty in commanding obedience upon the
part of his unruly beast, but always in the end its fear of the
relatively puny goad urged it on to obedience. Late in the afternoon
as they approached the confluence of the stream they were skirting
and another which appeared to come from the direction of Kor-ul-ja
the ape-man, emerging from one of the jungle patches, discovered a
considerable party of Ho-don upon the opposite bank. Simultaneously
they saw him and the mighty creature he bestrode. For a moment they
stood in wide-eyed amazement and then, in answer to the command of
their leader, they turned and bolted for the shelter of the nearby
The ape-man had but a brief glimpse of them but it was sufficient
indication that there were Waz-don with them, doubtless prisoners
taken in one of the raids upon the Waz-don villages of which Ta-den
and Om-at had told him.
At the sound of their voices the gryf had bellowed terrifically
and started in pursuit even though a river intervened, but by dint
of much prodding and beating, Tarzan had succeeded in heading the
animal back into the path though thereafter for a long time it was
sullen and more intractable than ever.
As the sun dropped nearer the summit of the western hills Tarzan
became aware that his plan to enter A-lur upon the back of a gryf
was likely doomed to failure, since the stubbornness of the great
beast was increasing momentarily, doubtless due to the fact that
its huge belly was crying out for food. The ape-man wondered if the
Tor-o-dons had any means of picketing their beasts for the night,
but as he did not know and as no plan suggested itself, he determined
that he should have to trust to the chance of finding it again in
There now arose in his mind a question as to what would be their
relationship when Tarzan had dismounted. Would it again revert to
that of hunter and quarry or would fear of the goad continue to hold
its supremacy over the natural instinct of the hunting flesh-eater?
Tarzan wondered but as he could not remain upon the gryf forever,
and as he preferred dismounting and putting the matter to a final
test while it was still light, he decided to act at once.
How to stop the creature he did not know, as up to this time his
sole desire had been to urge it forward. By experimenting with
his staff, however, he found that he could bring it to a halt by
reaching forward and striking the thing upon its beaklike snout.
Close by grew a number of leafy trees, in any one of which the
ape-man could have found sanctuary, but it had occurred to him
that should he immediately take to the trees it might suggest to
the mind of the gryf that the creature that had been commanding him
all day feared him, with the result that Tarzan would once again
be held a prisoner by the triceratops.
And so, when the gryf halted, Tarzan slid to the ground, struck the
creature a careless blow across the flank as though in dismissal
and walked indifferently away. From the throat of the beast came
a low rumbling sound and without even a glance at Tarzan it turned
and entered the river where it stood drinking for a long time.
Convinced that the gryf no longer constituted a menace to him the
ape-man, spurred on himself by the gnawing of hunger, unslung his
bow and selecting a handful of arrows set forth cautiously in search
of food, evidence of the near presence of which was being borne up
to him by a breeze from down river.
Ten minutes later he had made his kill, again one of the Pal-ul-don
specimens of antelope, all species of which Tarzan had known since
childhood as Bara, the deer, since in the little primer that had
been the basis of his education the picture of a deer had been the
nearest approach to the likeness of the antelope, from the giant
eland to the smaller bushbuck of the hunting grounds of his youth.
Cutting off a haunch he cached it in a nearby tree, and throwing
the balance of the carcass across his shoulder trotted back toward
the spot at which he had left the gryf. The great beast was just
emerging from the river when Tarzan, seeing it, issued the weird
cry of the Tor-o-don. The creature looked in the direction of the
sound voicing at the same time the low rumble with which it answered
the call of its master. Twice Tarzan repeated his cry before the
beast moved slowly toward him, and when it had come within a few
paces he tossed the carcass of the deer to it, upon which it fell
with greedy jaws.
"If anything will keep it within call," mused the ape-man as he
returned to the tree in which he had cached his own portion of his
kill, "it is the knowledge that I will feed it." But as he finished
his repast and settled himself comfortably for the night high among
the swaying branches of his eyrie he had little confidence that he
would ride into A-lur the following day upon his prehistoric steed.
When Tarzan awoke early the following morning he dropped lightly
to the ground and made his way to the stream. Removing his weapons
and loin cloth he entered the cold waters of the little pool, and
after his refreshing bath returned to the tree to breakfast upon
another portion of Bara, the deer, adding to his repast some fruits
and berries which grew in abundance nearby.
His meal over he sought the ground again and raising his voice in
the weird cry that he had learned, he called aloud on the chance
of attracting the gryf, but though he waited for some time and
continued calling there was no response, and he was finally forced
to the conclusion that he had seen the last of his great mount of
the preceding day.
And so he set his face toward A-lur, pinning his faith upon his
knowledge of the Ho-don tongue, his great strength and his native
Refreshed by food and rest, the journey toward A-lur, made in the
cool of the morning along the bank of the joyous river, he found
delightful in the extreme. Differentiating him from his fellows
of the savage jungle were many characteristics other than those
physical and mental. Not the least of these were in a measure
spiritual, and one that had doubtless been as strong as another in
influencing Tarzan's love of the jungle had been his appreciation
of the beauties of nature. The apes cared more for a grubworm in a
rotten log than for all the majestic grandeur of the forest giants
waving above them. The only beauties that Numa acknowledged were
those of his own person as he paraded them before the admiring eyes
of his mate, but in all the manifestations of the creative power
of nature of which Tarzan was cognizant he appreciated the beauties.
As Tarzan neared the city his interest became centered upon the
architecture of the outlying buildings which were hewn from the
chalklike limestone of what had once been a group of low hills,
similar to the many grass-covered hillocks that dotted the valley
in every direction. Ta-den's explanation of the Ho-don methods of
house construction accounted for the ofttimes remarkable shapes
and proportions of the buildings which, during the ages that must
have been required for their construction, had been hewn from the
limestone hills, the exteriors chiseled to such architectural forms
as appealed to the eyes of the builders while at the same time
following roughly the original outlines of the hills in an evident
desire to economize both labor and space. The excavation of the
apartments within had been similarly governed by necessity.
As he came nearer Tarzan saw that the waste material from these
building operations had been utilized in the construction of outer
walls about each building or group of buildings resulting from
a single hillock, and later he was to learn that it had also been
used for the filling of inequalities between the hills and the
forming of paved streets throughout the city, the result, possibly,
more of the adoption of an easy method of disposing of the quantities
of broken limestone than by any real necessity for pavements.
There were people moving about within the city and upon the narrow
ledges and terraces that broke the lines of the buildings and which
seemed to be a peculiarity of Ho-don architecture, a concession,
no doubt, to some inherent instinct that might be traced back to
their early cliff-dwelling progenitors.
Tarzan was not surprised that at a short distance he aroused no
suspicion or curiosity in the minds of those who saw him, since,
until closer scrutiny was possible, there was little to distinguish
him from a native either in his general conformation or his color.
He had, of course, formulated a plan of action and, having decided,
he did not hesitate in the carrying out his plan.
With the same assurance that you might venture upon the main street
of a neighboring city Tarzan strode into the Ho-don city of A-lur.
The first person to detect his spuriousness was a little child
playing in the arched gateway of one of the walled buildings. "No
tail! no tail!" it shouted, throwing a stone at him, and then it
suddenly grew dumb and its eyes wide as it sensed that this creature
was something other than a mere Ho-don warrior who had lost his
tail. With a gasp the child turned and fled screaming into the
courtyard of its home.
Tarzan continued on his way, fully realizing that the moment was
imminent when the fate of his plan would be decided. Nor had he
long to wait since at the next turning of the winding street he
came face to face with a Ho-don warrior. He saw the sudden surprise
in the latter's eyes, followed instantly by one of suspicion, but
before the fellow could speak Tarzan addressed him.
"I am a stranger from another land," he said; "I would speak with
Ko-tan, your king."
The fellow stepped back, laying his hand upon his knife. "There
are no strangers that come to the gates of A-lur," he said, "other
than as enemies or slaves."
"I come neither as a slave nor an enemy," replied Tarzan. "I come
directly from Jad-ben-Otho. Look!" and he held out his hands that
the Ho-don might see how greatly they differed from his own, and
then wheeled about that the other might see that he was tailless,
for it was upon this fact that his plan had been based, due to
his recollection of the quarrel between Ta-den and Om-at, in which
the Waz-don had claimed that Jad-ben-Otho had a long tail while
the Ho-don had been equally willing to fight for his faith in the
taillessness of his god.
The warrior's eyes widened and an expression of awe crept into
them, though it was still tinged with suspicion. "Jad-ben-Otho!"
he murmured, and then, "It is true that you are neither Ho-don nor
Waz-don, and it is also true that Jad-ben-Otho has no tail. Come,"
he said, "I will take you to Ko-tan, for this is a matter in which
no common warrior may interfere. Follow me," and still clutching
the handle of his knife and keeping a wary side glance upon the
ape-man he led the way through A-lur.
The city covered a large area. Sometimes there was a considerable
distance between groups of buildings, and again they were quite
close together. There were numerous imposing groups, evidently hewn
from the larger hills, often rising to a height of a hundred feet
or more. As they advanced they met numerous warriors and women, all
of whom showed great curiosity in the stranger, but there was no
attempt to menace him when it was found that he was being conducted
to the palace of the king.
They came at last to a great pile that sprawled over a considerable
area, its western front facing upon a large blue lake and evidently
hewn from what had once been a natural cliff. This group of
buildings was surrounded by a wall of considerably greater height
than any that Tarzan had before seen. His guide led him to a
gateway before which waited a dozen or more warriors who had risen
to their feet and formed a barrier across the entrance-way as Tarzan
and his party appeared around the corner of the palace wall, for
by this time he had accumulated such a following of the curious as
presented to the guards the appearance of a formidable mob.
The guide's story told, Tarzan was conducted into the courtyard
where he was held while one of the warriors entered the palace,
evidently with the intention of notifying Ko-tan. Fifteen minutes
later a large warrior appeared, followed by several others, all of
whom examined Tarzan with every sign of curiosity as they approached.
The leader of the party halted before the ape-man. "Who are you?"
he asked, "and what do you want of Ko-tan, the king?"
"I am a friend," replied the ape-man, "and I have come from the
country of Jad-ben-Otho to visit Ko-tan of Pal-ul-don."
The warrior and his followers seemed impressed. Tarzan could see
the latter whispering among themselves.
"How come you here," asked the spokesman, "and what do you want of
Tarzan drew himself to his full height. "Enough!" he cried. "Must
the messenger of Jad-ben-Otho be subjected to the treatment that
might be accorded to a wandering Waz-don? Take me to the king at
once lest the wrath of Jad-ben-Otho fall upon you."
There was some question in the mind of the ape-man as to how far
he might carry his unwarranted show of assurance, and he waited
therefore with amused interest the result of his demand. He did not,
however, have long to wait for almost immediately the attitude of
his questioner changed. He whitened, cast an apprehensive glance
toward the eastern sky and then extended his right palm toward
Tarzan, placing his left over his own heart in the sign of amity
that was common among the peoples of Pal-ul-don.
Tarzan stepped quickly back as though from a profaning hand, a
feigned expression of horror and disgust upon his face.
"Stop!" he cried, "who would dare touch the sacred person of the
messenger of Jad-ben-Otho? Only as a special mark of favor from
Jad-ben-Otho may even Ko-tan himself receive this honor from me.
Hasten! Already now have I waited too long! What manner of reception
the Ho-don of A-lur would extend to the son of my father!"
At first Tarzan had been inclined to adopt the role of Jad-ben-Otho
himself but it occurred to him that it might prove embarrassing
and considerable of a bore to be compelled constantly to portray
the character of a god, but with the growing success of his scheme
it had suddenly occurred to him that the authority of the son of
Jad-ben-Otho would be far greater than that of an ordinary messenger
of a god, while at the same time giving him some leeway in the
matter of his acts and demeanor, the ape-man reasoning that a young
god would not be held so strictly accountable in the matter of his
dignity and bearing as an older and greater god.
This time the effect of his words was immediately and painfully
noticeable upon all those near him. With one accord they shrank back,
the spokesman almost collapsing in evident terror. His apologies,
when finally the paralysis of his fear would permit him to voice
them, were so abject that the ape-man could scarce repress a smile
of amused contempt.
"Have mercy, O Dor-ul-Otho," he pleaded, "on poor old Dak-lot.
Precede me and I will show you to where Ko-tan, the king, awaits
you, trembling. Aside, snakes and vermin," he cried pushing his
warriors to right and left for the purpose of forming an avenue
"Come!" cried the ape-man peremptorily, "lead the way, and let
these others follow."
The now thoroughly frightened Dak-lot did as he was bid, and Tarzan
of the Apes was ushered into the palace of Kotan, King of Pal-ul-don.
The entrance through which he caught his first glimpse of the
interior was rather beautifully carved in geometric designs, and
within the walls were similarly treated, though as he proceeded
from one apartment to another he found also the figures of animals,
birds, and men taking their places among the more formal figures
of the mural decorator's art. Stone vessels were much in evidence
as well as ornaments of gold and the skins of many animals, but
nowhere did he see an indication of any woven fabric, indicating
that in that respect at least the Ho-don were still low in the
scale of evolution, and yet the proportions and symmetry of the
corridors and apartments bespoke a degree of civilization.
The way led through several apartments and long corridors, up at
least three flights of stone stairs and finally out upon a ledge
upon the western side of the building overlooking the blue lake.
Along this ledge, or arcade, his guide led him for a hundred yards,
to stop at last before a wide entrance-way leading into another
apartment of the palace.
Here Tarzan beheld a considerable concourse of warriors in an
enormous apartment, the domed ceiling of which was fully fifty feet
above the floor. Almost filling the chamber was a great pyramid
ascending in broad steps well up under the dome in which were a
number of round apertures which let in the light. The steps of the
pyramid were occupied by warriors to the very pinnacle, upon which
sat a large, imposing figure of a man whose golden trappings shone
brightly in the light of the afternoon sun, a shaft of which poured
through one of the tiny apertures of the dome.
"Ko-tan!" cried Dak-lot, addressing the resplendent figure at
the pinnacle of the pyramid. "Ko-tan and warriors of Pal-ul-don!
Behold the honor that Jad-ben-Otho has done you in sending as his
messenger his own son," and Dak-lot, stepping aside, indicated
Tarzan with a dramatic sweep of his hand.
Ko-tan rose to his feet and every warrior within sight craned his
neck to have a better view of the newcomer. Those upon the opposite
side of the pyramid crowded to the front as the words of the old
warrior reached them. Skeptical were the expressions on most of the
faces; but theirs was a skepticism marked with caution. No matter
which way fortune jumped they wished to be upon the right side
of the fence. For a moment all eyes were centered upon Tarzan and
then gradually they drifted to Ko-tan, for from his attitude would
they receive the cue that would determine theirs. But Ko-tan was
evidently in the same quandary as they--the very attitude of his
body indicated it--it was one of indecision and of doubt.
The ape-man stood erect, his arms folded upon his broad breast,
an expression of haughty disdain upon his handsome face; but to
Dak-lot there seemed to be indications also of growing anger. The
situation was becoming strained. Dak-lot fidgeted, casting apprehensive
glances at Tarzan and appealing ones at Ko-tan. The silence of the
tomb wrapped the great chamber of the throneroom of Pal-ul-don.
At last Ko-tan spoke. "Who says that he is Dor-ul-Otho?" he asked,
casting a terrible look at Dak-lot.
"He does!" almost shouted that terrified noble.
"And so it must be true?" queried Ko-tan.
Could it be that there was a trace of irony in the chief's tone?
Otho forbid! Dak-lot cast a side glance at Tarzan--a glance that
he intended should carry the assurance of his own faith; but that
succeeded only in impressing the ape-man with the other's pitiable
"O Ko-tan!" pleaded Dak-lot, "your own eyes must convince you that
indeed he is the son of Otho. Behold his godlike figure, his hands,
and his feet, that are not as ours, and that he is entirely tailless
as is his mighty father."
Ko-tan appeared to be perceiving these facts for the first time
and there was an indication that his skepticism was faltering. At
that moment a young warrior who had pushed his way forward from the
opposite side of the pyramid to where he could obtain a good look
at Tarzan raised his voice.
"Ko-tan," he cried, "it must be even as Dak-lot says, for I am
sure now that I have seen Dor-ul-Otho before. Yesterday as we were
returning with the Kor-ul-lul prisoners we beheld him seated upon
the back of a great gryf. We hid in the woods before he came too
near, but I saw enough to make sure that he who rode upon the great
beast was none other than the messenger who stands here now."
This evidence seemed to be quite enough to convince the majority of
the warriors that they indeed stood in the presence of deity--their
faces showed it only too plainly, and a sudden modesty that caused
them to shrink behind their neighbors. As their neighbors were
attempting to do the same thing, the result was a sudden melting
away of those who stood nearest the ape-man, until the steps of
the pyramid directly before him lay vacant to the very apex and
to Ko-tan. The latter, possibly influenced as much by the fearful
attitude of his followers as by the evidence adduced, now altered
his tone and his manner in such a degree as might comport with
the requirements if the stranger was indeed the Dor-ul-Otho while
leaving his dignity a loophole of escape should it appear that he
had entertained an impostor.
"If indeed you are the Dor-ul-Otho," he said, addressing Tarzan, "you
will know that our doubts were but natural since we have received
no sign from Jad-ben-Otho that he intended honoring us so greatly,
nor how could we know, even, that the Great God had a son? If you
are he, all Pal-ul-don rejoices to honor you; if you are not he,
swift and terrible shall be the punishment of your temerity. I,
Ko-tan, King of Pal-ul-don, have spoken."
"And spoken well, as a king should speak," said Tarzan, breaking
his long silence, "who fears and honors the god of his people. It
is well that you insist that I indeed be the Dor-ul-Otho before
you accord me the homage that is my due. Jad-ben-Otho charged me
specially to ascertain if you were fit to rule his people. My first
experience of you indicates that Jad-ben-Otho chose well when he
breathed the spirit of a king into the babe at your mother's breast."
The effect of this statement, made so casually, was marked in the
expressions and excited whispers of the now awe-struck assemblage.
At last they knew how kings were made! It was decided by Jad-ben-Otho
while the candidate was still a suckling babe! Wonderful! A
miracle! and this divine creature in whose presence they stood knew
all about it. Doubtless he even discussed such matters with their
god daily. If there had been an atheist among them before, or an
agnostic, there was none now, for had they not looked with their
own eyes upon the son of god?
"It is well then," continued the ape-man, "that you should assure
yourself that I am no impostor. Come closer that you may see that I
am not as are men. Furthermore it is not meet that you stand upon
a higher level than the son of your god." There was a sudden scramble
to reach the floor of the throne-room, nor was Ko-tan far behind
his warriors, though he managed to maintain a certain majestic
dignity as he descended the broad stairs that countless naked feet
had polished to a gleaming smoothness through the ages. "And now,"
said Tarzan as the king stood before him, "you can have no doubt
that I am not of the same race as you. Your priests have told you
that Jad-ben-Otho is tailless. Tailless, therefore, must be the
race of gods that spring from his loins. But enough of such proofs
as these! You know the power of Jad-ben-Otho; how his lightnings
gleaming out of the sky carry death as he wills it; how the rains
come at his bidding, and the fruits and the berries and the grains,
the grasses, the trees and the flowers spring to life at his divine
direction; you have witnessed birth and death, and those who honor
their god honor him because he controls these things. How would
it fare then with an impostor who claimed to be the son of this
all-powerful god? This then is all the proof that you require, for
as he would strike you down should you deny me, so would he strike
down one who wrongfully claimed kinship with him."
This line of argument being unanswerable must needs be convincing.
There could be no questioning of this creature's statements
without the tacit admission of lack of faith in the omnipotence of
Jad-ben-Otho. Ko-tan was satisfied that he was entertaining deity,
but as to just what form his entertainment should take he was
rather at a loss to know. His conception of god had been rather a
vague and hazy affair, though in common with all primitive people
his god was a personal one as were his devils and demons. The
pleasures of Jad-ben-Otho he had assumed to be the excesses which
he himself enjoyed, but devoid of any unpleasant reaction. It
therefore occurred to him that the Dor-ul-Otho would be greatly
entertained by eating--eating large quantities of everything that
Ko-tan liked best and that he had found most injurious; and there
was also a drink that the women of the Ho-don made by allowing
corn to soak in the juices of succulent fruits, to which they had
added certain other ingredients best known to themselves. Ko-tan
knew by experience that a single draught of this potent liquor
would bring happiness and surcease from worry, while several would
cause even a king to do things and enjoy things that he would
never even think of doing or enjoying while not under the magical
influence of the potion, but unfortunately the next morning
brought suffering in direct ratio to the joy of the preceding day.
A god, Ko-tan reasoned, could experience all the pleasure without
the headache, but for the immediate present he must think of the
necessary dignities and honors to be accorded his immortal guest.
No foot other than a king's had touched the surface of the apex
of the pyramid in the throneroom at A-lur during all the forgotten
ages through which the kings of Pal-ul-don had ruled from its high
eminence. So what higher honor could Ko-tan offer than to give place
beside him to the Dor-ul-Otho? And so he invited Tarzan to ascend
the pyramid and take his place upon the stone bench that topped it.
As they reached the step below the sacred pinnacle Ko-tan continued
as though to mount to his throne, but Tarzan laid a detaining hand
upon his arm.
"None may sit upon a level with the gods," he admonished, stepping
confidently up and seating himself upon the throne. The abashed
Ko-tan showed his embarrassment, an embarrassment he feared to
voice lest he incur the wrath of the king of kings.
"But," added Tarzan, "a god may honor his faithful servant by
inviting him to a place at his side. Come, Ko-tan; thus would I
honor you in the name of Jad-ben-Otho."
The ape-man's policy had for its basis an attempt not only to
arouse the fearful respect of Ko-tan but to do it without making
of him an enemy at heart, for he did not know how strong a hold
the religion of the Ho-don had upon them, for since the time that
he had prevented Ta-den and Om-at from quarreling over a religious
difference the subject had been utterly taboo among them. He was
therefore quick to note the evident though wordless resentment of
Ko-tan at the suggestion that he entirely relinquish his throne to
his guest. On the whole, however, the effect had been satisfactory
as he could see from the renewed evidence of awe upon the faces of
At Tarzan's direction the business of the court continued where
it had been interrupted by his advent. It consisted principally in
the settling of disputes between warriors. There was present one
who stood upon the step just below the throne and which Tarzan was
to learn was the place reserved for the higher chiefs of the allied
tribes which made up Ko-tan's kingdom. The one who attracted Tarzan's
attention was a stalwart warrior of powerful physique and massive,
lion-like features. He was addressing Ko-tan on a question that is
as old as government and that will continue in unabated importance
until man ceases to exist. It had to do with a boundary dispute
with one of his neighbors.
The matter itself held little or no interest for Tarzan, but
he was impressed by the appearance of the speaker and when Ko-tan
addressed him as Ja-don the ape-man's interest was permanently
crystallized, for Ja-don was the father of Ta-den. That the knowledge
would benefit him in any way seemed rather a remote possibility
since he could not reveal to Ja-don his friendly relations with
his son without admitting the falsity of his claims to godship.
When the affairs of the audience were concluded Ko-tan suggested
that the son of Jad-ben-Otho might wish to visit the temple in
which were performed the religious rites coincident to the worship
of the Great God. And so the ape-man was conducted by the king
himself, followed by the warriors of his court, through the corridors
of the palace toward the northern end of the group of buildings
within the royal enclosure.
The temple itself was really a part of the palace and similar
in architecture. There were several ceremonial places of varying
sizes, the purposes of which Tarzan could only conjecture. Each had
an altar in the west end and another in the east and were oval in
shape, their longest diameter lying due east and west. Each was
excavated from the summit of a small hillock and all were without
roofs. The western altars invariably were a single block of stone
the top of which was hollowed into an oblong basin. Those at
the eastern ends were similar blocks of stone with flat tops and
these latter, unlike those at the opposite ends of the ovals were
invariably stained or painted a reddish brown, nor did Tarzan need
to examine them closely to be assured of what his keen nostrils
already had told him--that the brown stains were dried and drying
Below these temple courts were corridors and apartments reaching
far into the bowels of the hills, dim, gloomy passages that Tarzan
glimpsed as he was led from place to place on his tour of inspection
of the temple. A messenger had been dispatched by Ko-tan to announce
the coming visit of the son of Jad-ben-Otho with the result that
they were accompanied through the temple by a considerable procession
of priests whose distinguishing mark of profession seemed to consist
in grotesque headdresses; sometimes hideous faces carved from wood
and entirely concealing the countenances of their wearers, or again,
the head of a wild beast cunningly fitted over the head of a man.
The high priest alone wore no such head-dress. He was an old man
with close-set, cunning eyes and a cruel, thin-lipped mouth.
At first sight of him Tarzan realized that here lay the greatest danger
to his ruse, for he saw at a glance that the man was antagonistic
toward him and his pretensions, and he knew too that doubtless of
all the people of Pal-ul-don the high priest was most likely to
harbor the truest estimate of Jad-ben-Otho, and, therefore, would
look with suspicion on one who claimed to be the son of a fabulous
No matter what suspicion lurked within his crafty mind, Lu-don,
the high priest of A-lur, did not openly question Tarzan's right
to the title of Dor-ul-Otho, and it may be that he was restrained
by the same doubts which had originally restrained Ko-tan and
his warriors--the doubt that is at the bottom of the minds of all
blasphemers even and which is based upon the fear that after all
there may be a god. So, for the time being at least Lu-don played
safe. Yet Tarzan knew as well as though the man had spoken aloud
his inmost thoughts that it was in the heart of the high priest to
tear the veil from his imposture.
At the entrance to the temple Ko-tan had relinquished the guidance
of the guest to Lu-don and now the latter led Tarzan through those
portions of the temple that he wished him to see. He showed him
the great room where the votive offerings were kept, gifts from
the barbaric chiefs of Pal-ul-don and from their followers. These
things ranged in value from presents of dried fruits to massive
vessels of beaten gold, so that in the great main storeroom and
its connecting chambers and corridors was an accumulation of wealth
that amazed even the eyes of the owner of the secret of the treasure
vaults of Opar.
Moving to and fro throughout the temple were sleek black Waz-don
slaves, fruits of the Ho-don raids upon the villages of their less
civilized neighbors. As they passed the barred entrance to a dim
corridor, Tarzan saw within a great company of pithecanthropi of
all ages and of both sexes, Ho-don as well as Waz-don, the majority
of them squatted upon the stone floor in attitudes of utter dejection
while some paced back and forth, their features stamped with the
despair of utter hopelessness.
"And who are these who lie here thus unhappily?" he asked of Lu-don.
It was the first question that he had put to the high priest since
entering the temple, and instantly he regretted that he had asked
it, for Lu-don turned upon him a face upon which the expression of
suspicion was but thinly veiled.
"Who should know better than the son of Jad-ben-Otho?" he retorted.
"The questions of Dor-ul-Otho are not with impunity answered with
other questions," said the ape-man quietly, "and it may interest
Lu-don, the high priest, to know that the blood of a false priest
upon the altar of his temple is not displeasing in the eyes of
Lu-don paled as he answered Tarzan's question. "They are the offerings
whose blood must refresh the eastern altars as the sun returns to
your father at the day's end."
"And who told you," asked Tarzan, "that Jad-ben-Otho was pleased that
his people were slain upon his altars? What if you were mistaken?"
"Then countless thousands have died in vain," replied Lu-don.
Ko-tan and the surrounding warriors and priests were listening
attentively to the dialogue. Some of the poor victims behind the
barred gateway had heard and rising, pressed close to the barrier
through which one was conducted just before sunset each day, never
"Liberate them!" cried Tarzan with a wave of his hand toward the
imprisoned victims of a cruel superstition, "for I can tell you in
the name of Jad-ben-Otho that you are mistaken."
The Forbidden Garden
Lu-don paled. "It is sacrilege," he cried; "for countless ages
have the priests of the Great God offered each night a life to the
spirit of Jad-ben-Otho as it returned below the western horizon