Part 3 out of 6
to its master, and never has the Great God given sign that he was
"Stop!" commanded Tarzan. "It is the blindness of the priesthood
that has failed to read the messages of their god. Your warriors
die beneath the knives and clubs of the Wazdon; your hunters are
taken by ja and jato; no day goes by but witnesses the deaths of
few or many in the villages of the Ho-don, and one death each day
of those that die are the toll which Jad-ben-Otho has exacted for
the lives you take upon the eastern altar. What greater sign of
his displeasure could you require, O stupid priest?"
Lu-don was silent. There was raging within him a great conflict
between his fear that this indeed might be the son of god and his
hope that it was not, but at last his fear won and he bowed his
head. "The son of Jad-ben-Otho has spoken," he said, and turning
to one of the lesser priests: "Remove the bars and return these
people from whence they came."
He thus addressed did as he was bid and as the bars came down the
prisoners, now all fully aware of the miracle that had saved them,
crowded forward and throwing themselves upon their knees before
Tarzan raised their voices in thanksgiving.
Ko-tan was almost as staggered as the high priest by this ruthless
overturning of an age-old religious rite. "But what," he cried, "may
we do that will be pleasing in the eyes of Jad-ben-Otho?" turning
a look of puzzled apprehension toward the ape-man.
"If you seek to please your god," he replied, "place upon your
altars such gifts of food and apparel as are most welcome in the
city of your people. These things will Jad-ben-Otho bless, when
you may distribute them among those of the city who need them most.
With such things are your storerooms filled as I have seen with
mine own eyes, and other gifts will be brought when the priests
tell the people that in this way they find favor before their god,"
and Tarzan turned and signified that he would leave the temple.
As they were leaving the precincts devoted to the worship of their
deity, the ape-man noticed a small but rather ornate building that
stood entirely detached from the others as though it had been cut
from a little pinnacle of limestone which had stood out from its
fellows. As his interested glance passed over it he noticed that
its door and windows were barred.
"To what purpose is that building dedicated?" he asked of Lu-don.
"Who do you keep imprisoned there?"
"It is nothing," replied the high priest nervously, "there is no
one there. The place is vacant. Once it was used but not now for
many years," and he moved on toward the gateway which led back
into the palace. Here he and the priests halted while Tarzan with
Ko-tan and his warriors passed out from the sacred precincts of
the temple grounds.
The one question which Tarzan would have asked he had feared to
ask for he knew that in the hearts of many lay a suspicion as to
his genuineness, but he determined that before he slept he would
put the question to Ko-tan, either directly or indirectly--as to
whether there was, or had been recently within the city of A-lur
a female of the same race as his.
As their evening meal was being served to them in the banquet
hall of Ko-tan's palace by a part of the army of black slaves upon
whose shoulders fell the burden of all the heavy and menial tasks
of the city, Tarzan noticed that there came to the eyes of one of
the slaves what was apparently an expression of startled recognition,
as he looked upon the ape-man for the first time in the banquet
hall of Ko-tan. And again later he saw the fellow whisper to another
slave and nod his head in his direction. The ape-man did not recall
ever having seen this Waz-don before and he was at a loss to account
for an explanation of the fellow's interest in him, and presently
the incident was all but forgotten.
Ko-tan was surprised and inwardly disgusted to discover that his
godly guest had no desire to gorge himself upon rich foods and
that he would not even so much as taste the villainous brew of the
Ho-don. To Tarzan the banquet was a dismal and tiresome affair,
since so great was the interest of the guests in gorging themselves
with food and drink that they had no time for conversation, the
only vocal sounds being confined to a continuous grunting which,
together with their table manners reminded Tarzan of a visit he
had once made to the famous Berkshire herd of His Grace, the Duke
of Westminster at Woodhouse, Chester.
One by one the diners succumbed to the stupefying effects of the
liquor with the result that the grunting gave place to snores, so
presently Tarzan and the slaves were the only conscious creatures
in the banquet hall.
Rising, the ape-man turned to a tall black who stood behind him.
"I would sleep," he said, "show me to my apartment."
As the fellow conducted him from the chamber the slave who had
shown surprise earlier in the evening at sight of him, spoke again
at length to one of his fellows. The latter cast a half-frightened
look in the direction of the departing ape-man. "If you are right,"
he said, "they should reward us with our liberty, but if you are
wrong, O Jad-ben-Otho, what will be our fate?"
"But I am not wrong!" cried the other.
"Then there is but one to tell this to, for I have heard that he
looked sour when this Dor-ul-Otho was brought to the temple and that
while the so-called son of Jad-ben-Otho was there he gave this one
every cause to fear and hate him. I mean Lu-don, the high priest."
"You know him?" asked the other slave.
"I have worked in the temple," replied his companion.
"Then go to him at once and tell him, but be sure to exact the
promise of our freedom for the proof."
And so a black Waz-don came to the temple gate and asked to see
Lu-don, the high priest, on a matter of great importance, and though
the hour was late Lu-don saw him, and when he had heard his story
he promised him and his friend not only their freedom but many
gifts if they could prove the correctness of their claims.
And as the slave talked with the high priest in the temple at
A-lur the figure of a man groped its way around the shoulder of
Pastar-ul-ved and the moonlight glistened from the shiny barrel of
an Enfield that was strapped to the naked back, and brass cartridges
shed tiny rays of reflected light from their polished cases where
they hung in the bandoliers across the broad brown shoulders and
the lean waist.
Tarzan's guide conducted him to a chamber overlooking the blue
lake where he found a bed similar to that which he had seen in the
villages of the Waz-don, merely a raised dais of stone upon which
was piled great quantities of furry pelts. And so he lay down to
sleep, the question that he most wished to put still unasked and
With the coming of a new day he was awake and wandering about the
palace and the palace grounds before there was sign of any of the
inmates of the palace other than slaves, or at least he saw no
others at first, though presently he stumbled upon an enclosure
which lay almost within the center of the palace grounds surrounded
by a wall that piqued the ape-man's curiosity, since he had determined
to investigate as fully as possible every part of the palace and
This place, whatever it might be, was apparently without doors or
windows but that it was at least partially roofless was evidenced
by the sight of the waving branches of a tree which spread above
the top of the wall near him. Finding no other method of access,
the ape-man uncoiled his rope and throwing it over the branch of
the tree where it projected beyond the wall, was soon climbing with
the ease of a monkey to the summit.
There he found that the wall surrounded an enclosed garden in which
grew trees and shrubs and flowers in riotous profusion. Without
waiting to ascertain whether the garden was empty or contained
Ho-don, Waz-don, or wild beasts, Tarzan dropped lightly to the
sward on the inside and without further loss of time commenced a
systematic investigation of the enclosure.
His curiosity was aroused by the very evident fact that the place
was not for general use, even by those who had free access to other
parts of the palace grounds and so there was added to its natural
beauties an absence of mortals which rendered its exploration all
the more alluring to Tarzan since it suggested that in such a place
might he hope to come upon the object of his long and difficult
In the garden were tiny artificial streams and little pools of water,
flanked by flowering bushes, as though it all had been designed by
the cunning hand of some master gardener, so faithfully did it carry
out the beauties and contours of nature upon a miniature scale.
The interior surface of the wall was fashioned to represent the
white cliffs of Pal-ul-don, broken occasionally by small replicas
of the verdure-filled gorges of the original.
Filled with admiration and thoroughly enjoying each new surprise
which the scene offered, Tarzan moved slowly around the garden, and
as always he moved silently. Passing through a miniature forest he
came presently upon a tiny area of flowerstudded sward and at the
same time beheld before him the first Ho-don female he had seen
since entering the palace. A young and beautiful woman stood in
the center of the little open space, stroking the head of a bird
which she held against her golden breastplate with one hand. Her
profile was presented to the ape-man and he saw that by the standards
of any land she would have been accounted more than lovely.
Seated in the grass at her feet, with her back toward him, was a
female Waz-don slave. Seeing that she he sought was not there and
apprehensive that an alarm be raised were he discovered by the two
women, Tarzan moved back to hide himself in the foliage, but before
he had succeeded the Ho-don girl turned quickly toward him as though
apprised of his presence by that unnamed sense, the manifestations
of which are more or less familiar to us all.
At sight of him her eyes registered only her surprise though there
was no expression of terror reflected in them, nor did she scream
or even raise her well-modulated voice as she addressed him.
"Who are you," she asked, "who enters thus boldly the Forbidden
At sound of her mistress' voice the slave maiden turned quickly,
rising to her feet. "Tarzan-jad-guru!" she exclaimed in tones of
mingled astonishment and relief.
"You know him?" cried her mistress turning toward the slave and
affording Tarzan an opportunity to raise a cautioning finger to
his lips lest Pan-at-lee further betray him, for it was Pan-at-lee
indeed who stood before him, no less a source of surprise to him
than had his presence been to her.
Thus questioned by her mistress and simultaneously admonished to
silence by Tarzan, Pan-at-lee was momentarily silenced and then
haltingly she groped for a way to extricate herself from her dilemma.
"I thought--" she faltered, "but no, I am mistaken--I thought that
he was one whom I had seen before near the Kor-ul-gryf."
The Ho-don looked first at one and then at the other an expression
of doubt and questioning in her eyes. "But you have not answered
me," she continued presently; "who are you?"
"You have not heard then," asked Tarzan, "of the visitor who arrived
at your king's court yesterday?"
"You mean," she exclaimed, "that you are the Dor-ul-Otho?" And now
the erstwhile doubting eyes reflected naught but awe.
"I am he," replied Tarzan; "and you?"
"I am O-lo-a, daughter of Ko-tan, the king," she replied.
So this was O-lo-a, for love of whom Ta-den had chosen exile rather
than priesthood. Tarzan had approached more closely the dainty
barbarian princess. "Daughter of Ko-tan," he said, "Jad-ben-Otho
is pleased with you and as a mark of his favor he has preserved
for you through many dangers him whom you love."
"I do not understand," replied the girl but the flush that mounted
to her cheek belied her words. "Bu-lat is a guest in the palace of
Ko-tan, my father. I do not know that he has faced any danger. It
is to Bu-lat that I am betrothed."
"But it is not Bu-lat whom you love," said Tarzan.
Again the flush and the girl half turned her face away. "Have I
then displeased the Great God?" she asked.
"No," replied Tarzan; "as I told you he is well satisfied and for
your sake he has saved Ta-den for you."
"Jad-ben-Otho knows all," whispered the girl, "and his son shares
his great knowledge."
"No," Tarzan hastened to correct her lest a reputation for omniscience
might prove embarrassing. "I know only what Jad-ben-Otho wishes me
"But tell me," she said, "I shall be reunited with Ta-den? Surely
the son of god can read the future."
The ape-man was glad that he had left himself an avenue of escape.
"I know nothing of the future," he replied, "other than what
Jad-ben-Otho tells me. But I think you need have no fear for the
future if you remain faithful to Ta-den and Ta-den's friends."
"You have seen him?" asked O-lo-a. "Tell me, where is he?"
"Yes," replied Tarzan, "I have seen him. He was with Om-at, the
gund of Kor-ul-ja."
"A prisoner of the Waz-don?" interrupted the girl.
"Not a prisoner but an honored guest," replied the ape-man.
"Wait," he exclaimed, raising his face toward the heavens; "do not
speak. I am receiving a message from Jad-ben-Otho, my father."
The two women dropped to their knees, covering their faces with
their hands, stricken with awe at the thought of the awful nearness
of the Great God. Presently Tarzan touched O-lo-a on the shoulder.
"Rise," he said. "Jad-ben-Otho has spoken. He has told me that this
slave girl is from the tribe of Kor-ul-ja, where Ta-den is, and
that she is betrothed to Om-at, their chief. Her name is Pan-at-lee."
O-lo-a turned questioningly toward Pan-at-lee. The latter nodded,
her simple mind unable to determine whether or not she and her
mistress were the victims of a colossal hoax. "It is even as he
says," she whispered.
O-lo-a fell upon her knees and touched her forehead to Tarzan's feet.
"Great is the honor that Jad-ben-Otho has done his poor servant,"
she cried. "Carry to him my poor thanks for the happiness that he
has brought to O-lo-a."
"It would please my father," said Tarzan, "if you were to cause
Pan-at-lee to be returned in safety to the village of her people."
"What cares Jad-ben-Otho for such as she?" asked O-lo-a, a slight
trace of hauteur in her tone.
"There is but one god," replied Tarzan, "and he is the god of the
Waz-don as well as of the Ho-don; of the birds and the beasts and
the flowers and of everything that grows upon the earth or beneath
the waters. If Pan-at-lee does right she is greater in the eyes
of Jad-ben-Otho than would be the daughter of Ko-tan should she do
It was evident that O-lo-a did not quite understand this
interpretation of divine favor, so contrary was it to the teachings
of the priesthood of her people. In one respect only did Tarzan's
teachings coincide with her belief--that there was but one god. For
the rest she had always been taught that he was solely the god of
the Ho-don in every sense, other than that other creatures were
created by Jad-ben-Otho to serve some useful purpose for the benefit
of the Ho-don race. And now to be told by the son of god that she
stood no higher in divine esteem than the black handmaiden at her
side was indeed a shock to her pride, her vanity, and her faith.
But who could question the word of Dor-ul-Otho, especially when
she had with her own eyes seen him in actual communion with god in
"The will of Jad-ben-Otho be done," said O-lo-a meekly, "if it lies
within my power. But it would be best, O Dor-ul-Otho, to communicate
your father's wish directly to the king."
"Then keep her with you," said Tarzan, "and see that no harm befalls
O-lo-a looked ruefully at Pan-at-lee. "She was brought to me but
yesterday," she said, "and never have I had slave woman who pleased
me better. I shall hate to part with her."
"But there are others," said Tarzan.
"Yes," replied O-lo-a, "there are others, but there is only one
"Many slaves are brought to the city?" asked Tarzan.
"Yes," she replied.
"And many strangers come from other lands?" he asked.
She shook her head negatively. "Only the Ho-don from the other
side of the Valley of Jad-ben-Otho," she replied, "and they are
"Am I then the first stranger to enter the gates of A-lur?" he
"Can it be," she parried, "that the son of Jad-ben-Otho need question
a poor ignorant mortal like O-lo-a?"
"As I told you before," replied Tarzan, "Jad-ben-Otho alone is
"Then if he wished you to know this thing," retorted O-lo-a quickly,
"you would know it."
Inwardly the ape-man smiled that this little heathen's astuteness
should beat him at his own game, yet in a measure her evasion
of the question might be an answer to it. "There have been other
strangers here then recently?" he persisted.
"I cannot tell you what I do not know," she replied. "Always is
the palace of Ko-tan filled with rumors, but how much fact and how
much fancy how may a woman of the palace know?"
"There has been such a rumor then?" he asked.
"It was only rumor that reached the Forbidden Garden," she replied.
"It described, perhaps, a woman of another race?" As he put the
question and awaited her answer he thought that his heart ceased
to beat, so grave to him was the issue at stake.
The girl hesitated before replying, and then. "No," she said, "I
cannot speak of this thing, for if it be of sufficient importance
to elicit the interest of the gods then indeed would I be subject
to the wrath of my father should I discuss it."
"In the name of Jad-ben-Otho I command you to speak," said Tarzan.
"In the name of Jad-ben-Otho in whose hands lies the fate of Ta-den!"
The girl paled. "Have mercy!" she cried, "and for the sake of Ta-den
I will tell you all that I know."
"Tell what?" demanded a stern voice from the shrubbery behind them.
The three turned to see the figure of Ko-tan emerging from the
foliage. An angry scowl distorted his kingly features but at sight
of Tarzan it gave place to an expression of surprise not unmixed
with fear. "Dor-ul-Otho!" he exclaimed, "I did not know that it
was you," and then, raising his head and squaring his shoulders
he said, "but there are places where even the son of the Great God
may not walk and this, the Forbidden Garden of Ko-tan, is one."
It was a challenge but despite the king's bold front there was a
note of apology in it, indicating that in his superstitious mind
there flourished the inherent fear of man for his Maker. "Come,
Dor-ul-Otho," he continued, "I do not know all this foolish child
has said to you but whatever you would know Ko-tan, the king, will
tell you. O-lo-a, go to your quarters immediately," and he pointed
with stern finger toward the opposite end of the garden.
The princess, followed by Pan-at-lee, turned at once and left them.
"We will go this way," said Ko-tan and preceding, led Tarzan
in another direction. Close to that part of the wall which they
approached Tarzan perceived a grotto in the miniature cliff into
the interior of which Ko-tan led him, and down a rocky stairway to
a gloomy corridor the opposite end of which opened into the palace
proper. Two armed warriors stood at this entrance to the Forbidden
Garden, evidencing how jealously were the sacred precincts of the
In silence Ko-tan led the way back to his own quarters in the
palace. A large chamber just outside the room toward which Ko-tan
was leading his guest was filled with chiefs and warriors awaiting
the pleasure of their ruler. As the two entered, an aisle was
formed for them the length of the chamber, down which they passed
Close to the farther door and half hidden by the warriors who
stood before him was Lu-don, the high priest. Tarzan glimpsed him
but briefly but in that short period he was aware of a cunning
and malevolent expression upon the cruel countenance that he was
subconsciously aware boded him no good, and then with Ko-tan he
passed into the adjoining room and the hangings dropped.
At the same moment the hideous headdress of an under priest
appeared in the entrance of the outer chamber. Its owner, pausing
for a moment, glanced quickly around the interior and then having
located him whom he sought moved rapidly in the direction of Lu-don.
There was a whispered conversation which was terminated by the high
"Return immediately to the quarters of the princess," he said,
"and see that the slave is sent to me at the temple at once." The
under priest turned and departed upon his mission while Lu-don also
left the apartment and directed his footsteps toward the sacred
enclosure over which he ruled.
A half-hour later a warrior was ushered into the presence of
Ko-tan. "Lu-don, the high priest, desires the presence of Ko-tan,
the king, in the temple," he announced, "and it is his wish that
he come alone."
Ko-tan nodded to indicate that he accepted the command which even
the king must obey. "I will return presently, Dor-ul-Otho," he
said to Tarzan, "and in the meantime my warriors and my slaves are
yours to command."
The Sentence of Death
But it was an hour before the king re-entered the apartment and
in the meantime the ape-man had occupied himself in examining the
carvings upon the walls and the numerous specimens of the handicraft
of Pal-ul-donian artisans which combined to impart an atmosphere
of richness and luxury to the apartment.
The limestone of the country, close-grained and of marble whiteness
yet worked with comparative ease with crude implements, had been
wrought by cunning craftsmen into bowls and urns and vases of
considerable grace and beauty. Into the carved designs of many of
these virgin gold had been hammered, presenting the effect of a rich
and magnificent cloisonne. A barbarian himself the art of barbarians
had always appealed to the ape-man to whom they represented a natural
expression of man's love of the beautiful to even a greater extent
than the studied and artificial efforts of civilization. Here was
the real art of old masters, the other the cheap imitation of the
It was while he was thus pleasurably engaged that Ko-tan returned.
As Tarzan, attracted by the movement of the hangings through which
the king entered, turned and faced him he was almost shocked by
the remarkable alteration of the king's appearance. His face was
livid; his hands trembled as with palsy, and his eyes were wide as
with fright. His appearance was one apparently of a combination of
consuming anger and withering fear. Tarzan looked at him questioningly.
"You have had bad news, Ko-tan?" he asked.
The king mumbled an unintelligible reply. Behind there thronged
into the apartment so great a number of warriors that they choked
the entrance-way. The king looked apprehensively to right and left.
He cast terrified glances at the ape-man and then raising his face
and turning his eyes upward he cried: "Jad-ben-Otho be my witness
that I do not this thing of my own accord." There was a moment's
silence which was again broken by Ko-tan. "Seize him," he cried to
the warriors about him, "for Lu-don, the high priest, swears that
he is an impostor."
To have offered armed resistance to this great concourse of warriors
in the very heart of the palace of their king would have been worse
than fatal. Already Tarzan had come far by his wits and now that
within a few hours he had had his hopes and his suspicions partially
verified by the vague admissions of O-lo-a he was impressed with
the necessity of inviting no mortal risk that he could avoid.
"Stop!" he cried, raising his palm against them. "What is the
meaning of this?"
"Lu-don claims he has proof that you are not the son of Jad-ben-Otho,"
replied Ko-tan. "He demands that you be brought to the throneroom
to face your accusers. If you are what you claim to be none knows
better than you that you need have no fear in acquiescing to his
demands, but remember always that in such matters the high priest
commands the king and that I am only the bearer of these commands,
not their author."
Tarzan saw that Ko-tan was not entirely convinced of his duplicity
as was evidenced by his palpable design to play safe.
"Let not your warriors seize me," he said to Ko-tan, "lest
Jad-ben-Otho, mistaking their intention, strike them dead." The
effect of his words was immediate upon the men in the front rank
of those who faced him, each seeming suddenly to acquire a new
modesty that compelled him to self-effacement behind those directly
in his rear--a modesty that became rapidly contagious.
The ape-man smiled. "Fear not," he said, "I will go willingly to
the audience chamber to face the blasphemers who accuse me."
Arrived at the great throneroom a new complication arose. Ko-tan
would not acknowledge the right of Lu-don to occupy the apex of
the pyramid and Lu-don would not consent to occupying an inferior
position while Tarzan, to remain consistent with his high claims,
insisted that no one should stand above him, but only to the ape-man
was the humor of the situation apparent.
To relieve the situation Ja-don suggested that all three of them
occupy the throne, but this suggestion was repudiated by Ko-tan
who argued that no mortal other than a king of Pal-ul-don had ever
sat upon the high eminence, and that furthermore there was not room
for three there.
"But who," said Tarzan, "is my accuser and who is my judge?"
"Lu-don is your accuser," explained Ko-tan.
"And Lu-don is your judge," cried the high priest.
"I am to be judged by him who accuses me then," said Tarzan. "It
were better to dispense then with any formalities and ask Lu-don to
sentence me." His tone was ironical and his sneering face, looking
straight into that of the high priest, but caused the latter's
hatred to rise to still greater proportions.
It was evident that Ko-tan and his warriors saw the justice
of Tarzan's implied objection to this unfair method of dispensing
justice. "Only Ko-tan can judge in the throneroom of his palace,"
said Ja-don, "let him hear Lu-don's charges and the testimony of
his witnesses, and then let Ko-tan's judgment be final."
Ko-tan, however, was not particularly enthusiastic over the prospect
of sitting in trial upon one who might after all very possibly be
the son of his god, and so he temporized, seeking for an avenue
of escape. "It is purely a religious matter," he said, "and it is
traditional that the kings of Pal-ul-don interfere not in questions
of the church."
"Then let the trial be held in the temple," cried one of the chiefs,
for the warriors were as anxious as their king to be relieved of
all responsibility in the matter. This suggestion was more than
satisfactory to the high priest who inwardly condemned himself for
not having thought of it before.
"It is true," he said, "this man's sin is against the temple. Let
him be dragged thither then for trial."
"The son of Jad-ben-Otho will be dragged nowhere," cried Tarzan.
"But when this trial is over it is possible that the corpse of
Lu-don, the high priest, will be dragged from the temple of the
god he would desecrate. Think well, then, Lu-don before you commit
His words, intended to frighten the high priest from his position
failed utterly in consummating their purpose. Lu-don showed no
terror at the suggestion the ape-man's words implied.
"Here is one," thought Tarzan, "who, knowing more of his religion
than any of his fellows, realizes fully the falsity of my claims
as he does the falsity of the faith he preaches."
He realized, however, that his only hope lay in seeming indifference
to the charges. Ko-tan and the warriors were still under the spell
of their belief in him and upon this fact must he depend in the
final act of the drama that Lu-don was staging for his rescue from
the jealous priest whom he knew had already passed sentence upon
him in his own heart.
With a shrug he descended the steps of the pyramid. "It matters
not to Dor-ul-Otho," he said, "where Lu-don enrages his god, for
Jad-ben-Otho can reach as easily into the chambers of the temple
as into the throneroom of Ko-tan."
Immeasurably relieved by this easy solution of their problem
the king and the warriors thronged from the throneroom toward the
temple grounds, their faith in Tarzan increased by his apparent
indifference to the charges against him. Lu-don led them to the
largest of the altar courts.
Taking his place behind the western altar he motioned Ko-tan to a
place upon the platform at the left hand of the altar and directed
Tarzan to a similar place at the right.
As Tarzan ascended the platform his eyes narrowed angrily at the
sight which met them. The basin hollowed in the top of the altar was
filled with water in which floated the naked corpse of a new-born
babe. "What means this?" he cried angrily, turning upon Lu-don.
The latter smiled malevolently. "That you do not know," he replied,
"is but added evidence of the falsity of your claim. He who poses
as the son of god did not know that as the last rays of the setting
sun flood the eastern altar of the temple the lifeblood of an adult
reddens the white stone for the edification of Jad-ben-Otho, and
that when the sun rises again from the body of its maker it looks
first upon this western altar and rejoices in the death of a
new-born babe each day, the ghost of which accompanies it across
the heavens by day as the ghost of the adult returns with it to
Jad-ben-Otho at night.
"Even the little children of the Ho-don know these things, while
he who claims to be the son of Jad-ben-Otho knows them not; and if
this proof be not enough, there is more. Come, Waz-don," he cried,
pointing to a tall slave who stood with a group of other blacks
and priests on the temple floor at the left of the altar.
The fellow came forward fearfully. "Tell us what you know of this
creature," cried Lu-don, pointing to Tarzan.
"I have seen him before," said the Waz-don. "I am of the tribe
of Kor-ul-lul, and one day recently a party of which I was one
encountered a few of the warriors of the Kor-ul-ja upon the ridge
which separates our villages. Among the enemy was this strange
creature whom they called Tarzan-jad-guru; and terrible indeed was
he for he fought with the strength of many men so that it required
twenty of us to subdue him. But he did not fight as a god fights,
and when a club struck him upon the head he sank unconscious as
might an ordinary mortal.
"We carried him with us to our village as a prisoner but he escaped
after cutting off the head of the warrior we left to guard him
and carrying it down into the gorge and tying it to the branch of
a tree upon the opposite side."
"The word of a slave against that of a god!" cried Ja-don, who had
shown previously a friendly interest in the pseudo godling.
"It is only a step in the progress toward truth," interjected
Lu-don. "Possibly the evidence of the only princess of the house
of Ko-tan will have greater weight with the great chief from the
north, though the father of a son who fled the holy offer of the
priesthood may not receive with willing ears any testimony against
Ja-don's hand leaped to his knife, but the warriors next him
laid detaining fingers upon his arms. "You are in the temple of
Jad-ben-Otho, Ja-don," they cautioned and the great chief was forced
to swallow Lu-don's affront though it left in his heart bitter
hatred of the high priest.
And now Ko-tan turned toward Lu-don. "What knoweth my daughter of
this matter?" he asked. "You would not bring a princess of my house
to testify thus publicly?"
"No," replied Lu-don, "not in person, but I have here one who will
testify for her." He beckoned to an under priest. "Fetch the slave
of the princess," he said.
His grotesque headdress adding a touch of the hideous to the scene,
the priest stepped forward dragging the reluctant Pan-at-lee by
"The Princess O-lo-a was alone in the Forbidden Garden with but this
one slave," explained the priest, "when there suddenly appeared from
the foliage nearby this creature who claims to be the Dor-ul-Otho.
When the slave saw him the princess says that she cried aloud in startled
recognition and called the creature by name--Tarzan-jad-guru--the
same name that the slave from Kor-ul-lul gave him. This woman is
not from Kor-ul-lul but from Kor-ul-ja, the very tribe with which
the Kor-ul-lul says the creature was associating when he first
saw him. And further the princess said that when this woman, whose
name is Pan-at-lee, was brought to her yesterday she told a strange
story of having been rescued from a Tor-o-don in the Kor-ul-gryf by
a creature such as this, whom she spoke of then as Tarzan-jad-guru;
and of how the two were pursued in the bottom of the gorge by two
monster gryfs, and of how the man led them away while Pan-at-lee
escaped, only to be taken prisoner in the Kor-ul-lul as she was
seeking to return to her own tribe.
"Is it not plain now," cried Lu-don, "that this creature is no god.
Did he tell you that he was the son of god?" he almost shouted,
turning suddenly upon Pan-at-lee.
The girl shrank back terrified. "Answer me, slave!" cried the high
"He seemed more than mortal," parried Pan-at-lee.
"Did he tell you that he was the son of god? Answer my question,"
"No," she admitted in a low voice, casting an appealing look of
forgiveness at Tarzan who returned a smile of encouragement and
"That is no proof that he is not the son of god," cried Ja-don.
"Dost think Jad-ben-Otho goes about crying 'I am god! I am god!'
Hast ever heard him Lu-don? No, you have not. Why should his son
do that which the father does not do?"
"Enough," cried Lu-don. "The evidence is clear. The creature is
an impostor and I, the head priest of Jad-ben-Otho in the city of
A-lur, do condemn him to die." There was a moment's silence during
which Lu-don evidently paused for the dramatic effect of his
climax. "And if I am wrong may Jad-ben-Otho pierce my heart with
his lightnings as I stand here before you all."
The lapping of the wavelets of the lake against the foot of the
palace wall was distinctly audible in the utter and almost breathless
silence which ensued. Lu-don stood with his face turned toward the
heavens and his arms outstretched in the attitude of one who bares
his breast to the dagger of an executioner. The warriors and the
priests and the slaves gathered in the sacred court awaited the
consuming vengeance of their god.
It was Tarzan who broke the silence. "Your god ignores you Lu-don,"
he taunted, with a sneer that he meant to still further anger the
high priest, "he ignores you and I can prove it before the eyes of
your priests and your people."
"Prove it, blasphemer! How can you prove it?"
"You have called me a blasphemer," replied Tarzan, "you have proved
to your own satisfaction that I am an impostor, that I, an ordinary
mortal, have posed as the son of god. Demand then that Jad-ben-Otho
uphold his godship and the dignity of his priesthood by directing
his consuming fires through my own bosom."
Again there ensued a brief silence while the onlookers waited for
Lu-don to thus consummate the destruction of this presumptuous
"You dare not," taunted Tarzan, "for you know that I would be struck
dead no quicker than were you."
"You lie," cried Lu-don, "and I would do it had I not but just
received a message from Jad-ben-Otho directing that your fate be
A chorus of admiring and reverential "Ahs" arose from the priesthood.
Ko-tan and his warriors were in a state of mental confusion. Secretly
they hated and feared Lu-don, but so ingrained was their sense of
reverence for the office of the high priest that none dared raise
a voice against him.
None? Well, there was Ja-don, fearless old Lion-man of the north.
"The proposition was a fair one," he cried. "Invoke the lightnings
of Jad-ben-Otho upon this man if you would ever convince us of his
"Enough of this," snapped Lu-don. "Since when was Ja-don created high
priest? Seize the prisoner," he cried to the priests and warriors,
"and on the morrow he shall die in the manner that Jad-ben-Otho
There was no immediate movement on the part of any of the warriors
to obey the high priest's command, but the lesser priests on the
other hand, imbued with the courage of fanaticism leaped eagerly
forward like a flock of hideous harpies to seize upon their prey.
The game was up. That Tarzan knew. No longer could cunning and
diplomacy usurp the functions of the weapons of defense he best
loved. And so the first hideous priest who leaped to the platform
was confronted by no suave ambassador from heaven, but rather a
grim and ferocious beast whose temper savored more of hell.
The altar stood close to the western wall of the enclosure. There
was just room between the two for the high priest to stand during
the performance of the sacrificial ceremonies and only Lu-don stood
there now behind Tarzan, while before him were perhaps two hundred
warriors and priests.
The presumptuous one who would have had the glory of first laying
arresting hands upon the blasphemous impersonator rushed forward
with outstretched hand to seize the ape-man. Instead it was he who
was seized; seized by steel fingers that snapped him up as though
he had been a dummy of straw, grasped him by one leg and the harness
at his back and raised him with giant arms high above the altar.
Close at his heels were others ready to seize the ape-man and drag
him down, and beyond the altar was Lu-don with drawn knife advancing
There was no instant to waste, nor was it the way of the ape-man
to fritter away precious moments in the uncertainty of belated
decision. Before Lu-don or any other could guess what was in
the mind of the condemned, Tarzan with all the force of his great
muscles dashed the screaming hierophant in the face of the high
priest, and, as though the two actions were one, so quickly did
he move, he had leaped to the top of the altar and from there to a
handhold upon the summit of the temple wall. As he gained a footing
there he turned and looked down upon those beneath. For a moment
he stood in silence and then he spoke.
"Who dare believe," he cried, "that Jad-ben-Otho would forsake his
son?" and then he dropped from their sight upon the other side.
There were two at least left within the enclosure whose hearts
leaped with involuntary elation at the success of the ape-man's
maneuver, and one of them smiled openly. This was Ja-don, and the
The brains of the priest that Tarzan had thrown at the head of
Lu-don had been dashed out against the temple wall while the high
priest himself had escaped with only a few bruises, sustained in
his fall to the hard pavement. Quickly scrambling to his feet he
looked around in fear, in terror and finally in bewilderment, for
he had not been a witness to the ape-man's escape. "Seize him," he
cried; "seize the blasphemer," and he continued to look around in
search of his victim with such a ridiculous expression of bewilderment
that more than a single warrior was compelled to hide his smiles
beneath his palm.
The priests were rushing around wildly, exhorting the warriors to
pursue the fugitive but these awaited now stolidly the command of
their king or high priest. Ko-tan, more or less secretly pleased
by the discomfiture of Lu-don, waited for that worthy to give the
necessary directions which he presently did when one of his acolytes
excitedly explained to him the manner of Tarzan's escape.
Instantly the necessary orders were issued and priests and warriors
sought the temple exit in pursuit of the ape-man. His departing
words, hurled at them from the summit of the temple wall, had had
little effect in impressing the majority that his claims had not
been disproven by Lu-don, but in the hearts of the warriors was
admiration for a brave man and in many the same unholy gratification
that had risen in that of their ruler at the discomfiture of Lu-don.
A careful search of the temple grounds revealed no trace of the
quarry. The secret recesses of the subterranean chambers, familiar
only to the priesthood, were examined by these while the warriors
scattered through the palace and the palace grounds without the
temple. Swift runners were dispatched to the city to arouse the
people there that all might be upon the lookout for Tarzan the
Terrible. The story of his imposture and of his escape, and the
tales that the Waz-don slaves had brought into the city concerning
him were soon spread throughout A-lur, nor did they lose aught
in the spreading, so that before an hour had passed the women and
children were hiding behind barred doorways while the warriors
crept apprehensively through the streets expecting momentarily to
be pounced upon by a ferocious demon who, bare-handed, did victorious
battle with huge gryfs and whose lightest pastime consisted in
tearing strong men limb from limb.
The Giant Stranger
And while the warriors and the priests of A-lur searched the temple
and the palace and the city for the vanished ape-man there entered
the head of Kor-ul-ja down the precipitous trail from the mountains, a
naked stranger bearing an Enfield upon his back. Silently he moved
downward toward the bottom of the gorge and there where the ancient
trail unfolded more levelly before him he swung along with easy
strides, though always with the utmost alertness against possible
dangers. A gentle breeze came down from the mountains behind
him so that only his ears and his eyes were of value in detecting
the presence of danger ahead. Generally the trail followed along
the banks of the winding brooklet at the bottom of the gorge, but
in some places where the waters tumbled over a precipitous ledge
the trail made a detour along the side of the gorge, and again it
wound in and out among rocky outcroppings, and presently where it
rounded sharply the projecting shoulder of a cliff the stranger
came suddenly face to face with one who was ascending the gorge.
Separated by a hundred paces the two halted simultaneously. Before
him the stranger saw a tall white warrior, naked but for a loin
cloth, cross belts, and a girdle. The man was armed with a heavy,
knotted club and a short knife, the latter hanging in its sheath at
his left hip from the end of one of his cross belts, the opposite
belt supporting a leathern pouch at his right side. It was Ta-den
hunting alone in the gorge of his friend, the chief of Kor-ul-ja.
He contemplated the stranger with surprise but no wonder, since he
recognized in him a member of the race with which his experience
of Tarzan the Terrible had made him familiar and also, thanks to
his friendship for the ape-man, he looked upon the newcomer without
The latter was the first to make outward sign of his intentions,
raising his palm toward Ta-den in that gesture which has been
a symbol of peace from pole to pole since man ceased to walk upon
his knuckles. Simultaneously he advanced a few paces and halted.
Ta-den, assuming that one so like Tarzan the Terrible must be a
fellow-tribesman of his lost friend, was more than glad to accept
this overture of peace, the sign of which he returned in kind as
he ascended the trail to where the other stood. "Who are you?" he
asked, but the newcomer only shook his head to indicate that he
did not understand.
By signs he tried to carry to the Ho-don the fact that he was
following a trail that had led him over a period of many days from
some place beyond the mountains and Ta-den was convinced that the
newcomer sought Tarzan-jad-guru. He wished, however, that he might
discover whether as friend or foe.
The stranger perceived the Ho-don's prehensile thumbs and great toes
and his long tail with an astonishment which he sought to conceal,
but greater than all was the sense of relief that the first inhabitant
of this strange country whom he had met had proven friendly, so
greatly would he have been handicapped by the necessity for forcing
his way through a hostile land.
Ta-den, who had been hunting for some of the smaller mammals, the
meat of which is especially relished by the Ho-don, forgot his
intended sport in the greater interest of his new discovery. He
would take the stranger to Om-at and possibly together the two would
find some way of discovering the true intentions of the newcomer.
And so again through signs he apprised the other that he would
accompany him and together they descended toward the cliffs of
As they approached these they came upon the women and children
working under guard of the old men and the youths--gathering the
wild fruits and herbs which constitute a part of their diet, as well
as tending the small acres of growing crops which they cultivate. The
fields lay in small level patches that had been cleared of trees
and brush. Their farm implements consisted of metal-shod poles
which bore a closer resemblance to spears than to tools of peaceful
agriculture. Supplementing these were others with flattened blades
that were neither hoes nor spades, but instead possessed the
appearance of an unhappy attempt to combine the two implements in
At first sight of these people the stranger halted and unslung his
bow for these creatures were black as night, their bodies entirely
covered with hair. But Ta-den, interpreting the doubt in the other's
mind, reassured him with a gesture and a smile. The Waz-don, however,
gathered around excitedly jabbering questions in a language which
the stranger discovered his guide understood though it was entirely
unintelligible to the former. They made no attempt to molest him
and he was now sure that he had fallen among a peaceful and friendly
It was but a short distance now to the caves and when they reached
these Ta-den led the way aloft upon the wooden pegs, assured that
this creature whom he had discovered would have no more difficulty
in following him than had Tarzan the Terrible. Nor was he mistaken
for the other mounted with ease until presently the two stood within
the recess before the cave of Om-at, the chief.
The latter was not there and it was mid-afternoon before he
returned, but in the meantime many warriors came to look upon the
visitor and in each instance the latter was more thoroughly impressed
with the friendly and peaceable spirit of his hosts, little guessing
that he was being entertained by a ferocious and warlike tribe who
never before the coming of Ta-den and Tarzan had suffered a stranger
At last Om-at returned and the guest sensed intuitively that he
was in the presence of a great man among these people, possibly
a chief or king, for not only did the attitude of the other black
warriors indicate this but it was written also in the mien and
bearing of the splendid creature who stood looking at him while
Ta-den explained the circumstances of their meeting. "And I believe,
Om-at," concluded the Ho-don, "that he seeks Tarzan the Terrible."
At the sound of that name, the first intelligible word that had
fallen upon the ears of the stranger since he had come among them,
his face lightened. "Tarzan!" he cried, "Tarzan of the Apes!" and
by signs he tried to tell them that it was he whom he sought.
They understood, and also they guessed from the expression of his
face that he sought Tarzan from motives of affection rather than
the reverse, but of this Om-at wished to make sure. He pointed to
the stranger's knife, and repeating Tarzan's name, seized Ta-den
and pretended to stab him, immediately turning questioningly toward
The latter shook his head vehemently and then first placing a hand
above his heart he raised his palm in the symbol of peace.
"He is a friend of Tarzan-jad-guru," exclaimed Ta-den.
"Either a friend or a great liar," replied Om-at.
"Tarzan," continued the stranger, "you know him? He lives? O God,
if I could only speak your language." And again reverting to sign
language he sought to ascertain where Tarzan was. He would pronounce
the name and point in different directions, in the cave, down into
the gorge, back toward the mountains, or out upon the valley below,
and each time he would raise his brows questioningly and voice
the universal "eh?" of interrogation which they could not fail to
understand. But always Om-at shook his head and spread his palms
in a gesture which indicated that while he understood the question
he was ignorant as to the whereabouts of the ape-man, and then the
black chief attempted as best he might to explain to the stranger
what he knew of the whereabouts of Tarzan.
He called the newcomer Jar-don, which in the language of Pal-ul-don
means "stranger," and he pointed to the sun and said as. This he
repeated several times and then he held up one hand with the fingers
outspread and touching them one by one, including the thumb, repeated
the word adenen until the stranger understood that he meant five.
Again he pointed to the sun and describing an arc with his forefinger
starting at the eastern horizon and terminating at the western, he
repeated again the words as adenen. It was plain to the stranger
that the words meant that the sun had crossed the heavens five
times. In other words, five days had passed. Om-at then pointed to
the cave where they stood, pronouncing Tarzan's name and imitating
a walking man with the first and second fingers of his right hand
upon the floor of the recess, sought to show that Tarzan had walked
out of the cave and climbed upward on the pegs five days before,
but this was as far as the sign language would permit him to go.
This far the stranger followed him and, indicating that he understood
he pointed to himself and then indicating the pegs leading above
announced that he would follow Tarzan.
"Let us go with him," said Om-at, "for as yet we have not punished
the Kor-ul-lul for killing our friend and ally."
"Persuade him to wait until morning," said Ta-den, "that you may take
with you many warriors and make a great raid upon the Kor-ul-lul,
and this time, Om-at, do not kill your prisoners. Take as many
as you can alive and from some of them we may learn the fate of
"Great is the wisdom of the Ho-don," replied Om-at. "It shall be as
you say, and having made prisoners of all the Kor-ul-lul we shall
make them tell us what we wish to know. And then we shall march
them to the rim of Kor-ul-gryf and push them over the edge of the
Ta-den smiled. He knew that they would not take prisoner all the
Kor-ul-lul warriors--that they would be fortunate if they took one
and it was also possible that they might even be driven back in
defeat, but he knew too that Om-at would not hesitate to carry out
his threat if he had the opportunity, so implacable was the hatred
of these neighbors for each other.
It was not difficult to explain Om-at's plan to the stranger or to
win his consent since he was aware, when the great black had made
it plain that they would be accompanied by many warriors, that
their venture would probably lead them into a hostile country and
every safeguard that he could employ he was glad to avail himself
of, since the furtherance of his quest was the paramount issue.
He slept that night upon a pile of furs in one of the compartments
of Om-at's ancestral cave, and early the next day following the
morning meal they sallied forth, a hundred savage warriors swarming
up the face of the sheer cliff and out upon the summit of the ridge,
the main body preceded by two warriors whose duties coincided with
those of the point of modern military maneuvers, safeguarding the
column against the danger of too sudden contact with the enemy.
Across the ridge they went and down into the Kor-ul-lul and there
almost immediately they came upon a lone and unarmed Waz-don who
was making his way fearfully up the gorge toward the village of
his tribe. Him they took prisoner which, strangely, only added to
his terror since from the moment that he had seen them and realized
that escape was impossible, he had expected to be slain immediately.
"Take him back to Kor-ul-ja," said Om-at, to one of his warriors,
"and hold him there unharmed until I return."
And so the puzzled Kor-ul-lul was led away while the savage company
moved stealthily from tree to tree in its closer advance upon the
village. Fortune smiled upon Om-at in that it gave him quickly what
he sought--a battle royal, for they had not yet come in sight of
the caves of the Kor-ul-lul when they encountered a considerable
band of warriors headed down the gorge upon some expedition.
Like shadows the Kor-ul-ja melted into the concealment of the foliage
upon either side of the trail. Ignorant of impending danger, safe
in the knowledge that they trod their own domain where each rock
and stone was as familiar as the features of their mates, the
Kor-ul-lul walked innocently into the ambush. Suddenly the quiet
of that seeming peace was shattered by a savage cry and a hurled
club felled a Kor-ul-lul.
The cry was a signal for a savage chorus from a hundred Kor-ul-ja
throats with which were soon mingled the war cries of their enemies.
The air was filled with flying clubs and then as the two forces
mingled, the battle resolved itself into a number of individual
encounters as each warrior singled out a foe and closed upon him.
Knives gleamed and flashed in the mottling sunlight that filtered
through the foliage of the trees above. Sleek black coats were
streaked with crimson stains.
In the thick of the fight the smooth brown skin of the stranger
mingled with the black bodies of friend and foe. Only his keen
eyes and his quick wit had shown him how to differentiate between
Kor-ul-lul and Kor-ul-ja since with the single exception of apparel
they were identical, but at the first rush of the enemy he had
noticed that their loin cloths were not of the leopard-matted hides
such as were worn by his allies.
Om-at, after dispatching his first antagonist, glanced at Jar-don.
"He fights with the ferocity of jato," mused the chief. "Powerful
indeed must be the tribe from which he and Tarzan-jad-guru come,"
and then his whole attention was occupied by a new assailant.
The fighters surged to and fro through the forest until those
who survived were spent with exhaustion. All but the stranger who
seemed not to know the sense of fatigue. He fought on when each
new antagonist would have gladly quit, and when there were no more
Kor-ul-lul who were not engaged, he leaped upon those who stood
pantingly facing the exhausted Kor-ul-ja.
And always he carried upon his back the peculiar thing which Om-at
had thought was some manner of strange weapon but the purpose of
which he could not now account for in view of the fact that Jar-don
never used it, and that for the most part it seemed but a nuisance
and needless encumbrance since it banged and smashed against its
owner as he leaped, catlike, hither and thither in the course of
his victorious duels. The bow and arrows he had tossed aside at
the beginning of the fight but the Enfield he would not discard,
for where he went he meant that it should go until its mission had
Presently the Kor-ul-ja, seemingly shamed by the example of Jar-don
closed once more with the enemy, but the latter, moved no doubt
to terror by the presence of the stranger, a tireless demon who
appeared invulnerable to their attacks, lost heart and sought to
flee. And then it was that at Om-at's command his warriors surrounded
a half-dozen of the most exhausted and made them prisoners.
It was a tired, bloody, and elated company that returned victorious
to the Kor-ul-ja. Twenty of their number were carried back and six
of these were dead men. It was the most glorious and successful
raid that the Kor-ul-ja had made upon the Kor-ul-lul in the memory
of man, and it marked Om-at as the greatest of chiefs, but that
fierce warrior knew that advantage had lain upon his side largely
because of the presence of his strange ally. Nor did he hesitate
to give credit where credit belonged, with the result that Jar-don
and his exploits were upon the tongue of every member of the tribe
of Kor-ul-ja and great was the fame of the race that could produce
two such as he and Tarzan-jad-guru.
And in the gorge of Kor-ul-lul beyond the ridge the survivors spoke
in bated breath of this second demon that had joined forces with
their ancient enemy.
Returned to his cave Om-at caused the Kor-ul-lul prisoners to be
brought into his presence singly, and each he questioned as to the
fate of Tarzan. Without exception they told him the same story--that
Tarzan had been taken prisoner by them five days before but that he
had slain the warrior left to guard him and escaped, carrying the
head of the unfortunate sentry to the opposite side of Kor-ul-lul
where he had left it suspended by its hair from the branch of
a tree. But what had become of him after, they did not know; not
one of them, until the last prisoner was examined, he whom they
had taken first--the unarmed Kor-ul-lul making his way from the
direction of the Valley of Jad-ben-Otho toward the caves of his
This one, when he discovered the purpose of their questioning,
bartered with them for the lives and liberty of himself and his
fellows. "I can tell you much of this terrible man of whom you ask,
Kor-ul-ja," he said. "I saw him yesterday and I know where he is,
and if you will promise to let me and my fellows return in safety
to the caves of our ancestors I will tell you all, and truthfully,
that which I know."
"You will tell us anyway," replied Om-at, "or we shall kill you."
"You will kill me anyway," retorted the prisoner, "unless you make
me this promise; so if I am to be killed the thing I know shall go
"He is right, Om-at," said Ta-den, "promise him that they shall
have their liberty."
"Very well," said Om-at. "Speak Kor-ul-lul, and when you have told
me all, you and your fellows may return unharmed to your tribe."
"It was thus," commenced the prisoner. "Three days since I was
hunting with a party of my fellows near the mouth of Kor-ul-lul not
far from where you captured me this morning, when we were surprised
and set upon by a large number of Ho-don who took us prisoners and
carried us to A-lur where a few were chosen to be slaves and the
rest were cast into a chamber beneath the temple where are held for
sacrifice the victims that are offered by the Ho-don to Jad-ben-Otho
upon the sacrificial altars of the temple at A-lur.
"It seemed then that indeed was my fate sealed and that lucky were
those who had been selected for slaves among the Ho-don, for they
at least might hope to escape--those in the chamber with me must
be without hope.
"But yesterday a strange thing happened. There came to the temple,
accompanied by all the priests and by the king and many of his
warriors, one whom all did great reverence, and when he came to the
barred gateway leading to the chamber in which we wretched ones
awaited our fate, I saw to my surprise that it was none other
than that terrible man who had so recently been a prisoner in the
village of Kor-ul-lul--he whom you call Tarzan-jad-guru but whom
they addressed as Dor-ul-Otho. And he looked upon us and questioned
the high priest and when he was told of the purpose for which we
were imprisoned there he grew angry and cried that it was not the
will of Jad-ben-Otho that his people be thus sacrificed, and he
commanded the high priest to liberate us, and this was done.
"The Ho-don prisoners were permitted to return to their homes and
we were led beyond the City of A-lur and set upon our way toward
Kor-ul-lul. There were three of us, but many are the dangers that
lie between A-lur and Kor-ul-lul and we were only three and unarmed.
Therefore none of us reached the village of our people and only
one of us lives. I have spoken."
"That is all you know concerning Tarzan-jad-guru?" asked Om-at.
"That is all I know," replied the prisoner, "other than that he
whom they call Lu-don, the high priest at A-lur, was very angry,
and that one of the two priests who guided us out of the city said
to the other that the stranger was not Dor-ul-Otho at all; that
Lu-don had said so and that he had also said that he would expose
him and that he should be punished with death for his presumption.
That is all they said within my hearing.
"And now, chief of Kor-ul-ja, let us depart."
Om-at nodded. "Go your way," he said, "and Ab-on, send warriors to
guard them until they are safely within the Kor-ul-lul.
"Jar-don," he said beckoning to the stranger, "come with me," and
rising he led the way toward the summit of the cliff, and when they
stood upon the ridge Om-at pointed down into the valley toward the
City of A-lur gleaming in the light of the western sun.
"There is Tarzan-jad-guru," he said, and Jar-don understood.
As Tarzan dropped to the ground beyond the temple wall there was
in his mind no intention to escape from the City of A-lur until he
had satisfied himself that his mate was not a prisoner there, but
how, in this strange city in which every man's hand must be now
against him, he was to live and prosecute his search was far from
clear to him.
There was only one place of which he knew that he might find even
temporary sanctuary and that was the Forbidden Garden of the king.
There was thick shrubbery in which a man might hide, and water
and fruits. A cunning jungle creature, if he could reach the spot
unsuspected, might remain concealed there for a considerable time,
but how he was to traverse the distance between the temple grounds
and the garden unseen was a question the seriousness of which he
"Mighty is Tarzan," he soliloquized, "in his native jungle, but in
the cities of man he is little better than they."
Depending upon his keen observation and sense of location he felt
safe in assuming that he could reach the palace grounds by means
of the subterranean corridors and chambers of the temple through
which he had been conducted the day before, nor any slightest
detail of which had escaped his keen eyes. That would be better, he
reasoned, than crossing the open grounds above where his pursuers
would naturally immediately follow him from the temple and quickly
And so a dozen paces from the temple wall he disappeared from sight
of any chance observer above, down one of the stone stairways that
led to the apartments beneath. The way that he had been conducted
the previous day had followed the windings and turnings of numerous
corridors and apartments, but Tarzan, sure of himself in such
matters, retraced the route accurately without hesitation.
He had little fear of immediate apprehension here since he believed
that all the priests of the temple had assembled in the court above
to witness his trial and his humiliation and his death, and with
this idea firmly implanted in his mind he rounded the turn of the
corridor and came face to face with an under priest, his grotesque
headdress concealing whatever emotion the sight of Tarzan may have
However, Tarzan had one advantage over the masked votary
of Jad-ben-Otho in that the moment he saw the priest he knew his
intention concerning him, and therefore was not compelled to delay
action. And so it was that before the priest could determine on
any suitable line of conduct in the premises a long, keen knife
had been slipped into his heart.
As the body lunged toward the floor Tarzan caught it and snatched
the headdress from its shoulders, for the first sight of the creature
had suggested to his ever-alert mind a bold scheme for deceiving
The headdress saved from such possible damage as it must have
sustained had it fallen to the floor with the body of its owner,
Tarzan relinquished his hold upon the corpse, set the headdress
carefully upon the floor and stooping down severed the tail of the
Ho-don close to its root. Near by at his right was a small chamber
from which the priest had evidently just emerged and into this
Tarzan dragged the corpse, the headdress, and the tail.
Quickly cutting a thin strip of hide from the loin cloth of the
priest, Tarzan tied it securely about the upper end of the severed
member and then tucking the tail under his loin cloth behind him,
secured it in place as best he could. Then he fitted the headdress
over his shoulders and stepped from the apartment, to all appearances
a priest of the temple of Jad-ben-Otho unless one examined too
closely his thumbs and his great toes.
He had noticed that among both the Ho-don and the Waz-don it was
not at all unusual that the end of the tail be carried in one hand,
and so he caught his own tail up thus lest the lifeless appearance
of it dragging along behind him should arouse suspicion.
Passing along the corridor and through the various chambers
he emerged at last into the palace grounds beyond the temple. The
pursuit had not yet reached this point though he was conscious of
a commotion not far behind him. He met now both warriors and slaves
but none gave him more than a passing glance, a priest being too
common a sight about the palace.
And so, passing the guards unchallenged, he came at last to the
inner entrance to the Forbidden Garden and there he paused and
scanned quickly that portion of the beautiful spot that lay before
his eyes. To his relief it seemed unoccupied and congratulating
himself upon the ease with which he had so far outwitted the
high powers of A-lur he moved rapidly to the opposite end of the
enclosure. Here he found a patch of flowering shrubbery that might
safely have concealed a dozen men.
Crawling well within he removed the uncomfortable headdress and
sat down to await whatever eventualities fate might have in store
for him the while he formulated plans for the future. The one
night that he had spent in A-lur had kept him up to a late hour,
apprising him of the fact that while there were few abroad in the
temple grounds at night, there were yet enough to make it possible
for him to fare forth under cover of his disguise without attracting
the unpleasant attention of the guards, and, too, he had noticed
that the priesthood constituted a privileged class that seemed to
come and go at will and unchallenged throughout the palace as well
as the temple. Altogether then, he decided, night furnished the
most propitious hours for his investigation--by day he could lie
up in the shrubbery of the Forbidden Garden, reasonably free from
detection. From beyond the garden he heard the voices of men calling
to one another both far and near, and he guessed that diligent was
the search that was being prosecuted for him.
The idle moments afforded him an opportunity to evolve a more
satisfactory scheme for attaching his stolen caudal appendage.
He arranged it in such a way that it might be quickly assumed or
discarded, and this done he fell to examining the weird mask that
had so effectively hidden his features.
The thing had been very cunningly wrought from a single block of
wood, very probably a section of a tree, upon which the features
had been carved and afterward the interior hollowed out until only
a comparatively thin shell remained. Two-semicircular notches had
been rounded out from opposite sides of the lower edge. These fitted
snugly over his shoulders, aprons of wood extending downward a few
inches upon his chest and back. From these aprons hung long tassels
or switches of hair tapering from the outer edges toward the center
which reached below the bottom of his torso. It required but the
most cursory examination to indicate to the ape-man that these
ornaments consisted of human scalps, taken, doubtless, from the
heads of the sacrifices upon the eastern altars. The headdress
itself had been carved to depict in formal design a hideous face
that suggested both man and gryf. There were the three white horns,
the yellow face with the blue bands encircling the eyes and the
red hood which took the form of the posterior and anterior aprons.
As Tarzan sat within the concealing foliage of the shrubbery
meditating upon the hideous priest-mask which he held in his hands
he became aware that he was not alone in the garden. He sensed
another presence and presently his trained ears detected the slow
approach of naked feet across the sward. At first he suspected that
it might be one stealthily searching the Forbidden Garden for him
but a little later the figure came within the limited area of his
vision which was circumscribed by stems and foliage and flowers.
He saw then that it was the princess O-lo-a and that she was alone
and walking with bowed head as though in meditation--sorrowful
meditation for there were traces of tears upon her lids.
Shortly after his ears warned him that others had entered the
garden--men they were and their footsteps proclaimed that they
walked neither slowly nor meditatively. They came directly toward
the princess and when Tarzan could see them he discovered that both
"O-lo-a, Princess of Pal-ul-don," said one, addressing her, "the
stranger who told us that he was the son of Jad-ben-Otho has but
just fled from the wrath of Lu-don, the high priest, who exposed him
and all his wicked blasphemy. The temple, and the palace, and the
city are being searched and we have been sent to search the Forbidden
Garden, since Ko-tan, the king, said that only this morning he
found him here, though how he passed the guards he could not guess."
"He is not here," said O-lo-a. "I have been in the garden for some
time and have seen nor heard no other than myself. However, search
it if you will."
"No," said the priest who had before spoken, "it is not necessary
since he could not have entered without your knowledge and the
connivance of the guards, and even had he, the priest who preceded
us must have seen him."
"What priest?" asked O-lo-a.
"One passed the guards shortly before us," explained the man.
"I did not see him," said O-lo-a.
"Doubtless he left by another exit," remarked the second priest.
"Yes, doubtless," acquiesced O-lo-a, "but it is strange that I did
not see him." The two priests made their obeisance and turned to
"Stupid as Buto, the rhinoceros," soliloquized Tarzan, who considered
Buto a very stupid creature indeed. "It should be easy to outwit
such as these."
The priests had scarce departed when there came the sound of feet
running rapidly across the garden in the direction of the princess
to an accompaniment of rapid breathing as of one almost spent,
either from fatigue or excitement.
"Pan-at-lee," exclaimed O-lo-a, "what has happened? You look as
terrified as the doe for which you were named!"
"O Princess of Pal-ul-don," cried Pan-at-lee, "they would have killed
him in the temple. They would have killed the wondrous stranger
who claimed to be the Dor-ul-Otho."
"But he escaped," said O-lo-a. "You were there. Tell me about it."
"The head priest would have had him seized and slain, but when they
rushed upon him he hurled one in the face of Lu-don with the same
ease that you might cast your breastplates at me, and then he
leaped upon the altar and from there to the top of the temple wall
and disappeared below. They are searching for him, but, O Princess,
I pray that they do not find him."
"And why do you pray that?" asked O-lo-a. "Has not one who has so
blasphemed earned death?"
"Ah, but you do not know him," replied Pan-at-lee.
"And you do, then?" retorted O-lo-a quickly. "This morning you
betrayed yourself and then attempted to deceive me. The slaves
of O-lo-a do not such things with impunity. He is then the same
Tarzan-jad-guru of whom you told me? Speak woman and speak only
Pan-at-lee drew herself up very erect, her little chin held high,
for was not she too among her own people already as good as a
princess? "Pan-at-lee, the Kor-ul-ja does not lie," she said, "to
"Then tell me what you know of this Tarzan-jad-guru," insisted
"I know that he is a wondrous man and very brave," said Pan-at-lee,
"and that he saved me from the Tor-o-don and the gryf as I told
you, and that he is indeed the same who came into the garden this
morning; and even now I do not know that he is not the son of
Jad-ben-Otho for his courage and his strength are more than those
of mortal man, as are also his kindness and his honor: for when he
might have harmed me he protected me, and when he might have saved
himself he thought only of me. And all this he did because of his
friendship for Om-at, who is gund of Kor-ul-ja and with whom I
should have mated had the Ho-don not captured me."
"He was indeed a wonderful man to look upon," mused O-lo-a, "and
he was not as are other men, not alone in the conformation of his
hands and feet or the fact that he was tailless, but there was that
about him which made him seem different in ways more important than
"And," supplemented Pan-at-lee, her savage little heart loyal
to the man who had befriended her and hoping to win for him the
consideration of the princess even though it might not avail him;
"and," she said, "did he not know all about Ta-den and even his
whereabouts. Tell me, O Princess, could mortal know such things as
"Perhaps he saw Ta-den," suggested O-lo-a.
"But how would he know that you loved Ta-den," parried Pan-at-lee.
"I tell you, my Princess, that if he is not a god he is at least
more than Ho-don or Waz-don. He followed me from the cave of Es-sat
in Kor-ul-ja across Kor-ul-lul and two wide ridges to the very cave
in Kor-ul-gryf where I hid, though many hours had passed since I
had come that way and my bare feet left no impress upon the ground.
What mortal man could do such things as these? And where in all
Pal-ul-don would virgin maid find friend and protector in a strange
male other than he?"
"Perhaps Lu-don may be mistaken--perhaps he is a god," said O-lo-a,
influenced by her slave's enthusiastic championing of the stranger."
"But whether god or man he is too wonderful to die," cried Pan-at-lee.
"Would that I might save him. If he lived he might even find a way
to give you your Ta-den, Princess."
"Ah, if he only could," sighed O-lo-a, "but alas it is too late
for tomorrow I am to be given to Bu-lot."
"He who came to your quarters yesterday with your father?" asked
"Yes; the one with the awful round face and the big belly," exclaimed
the Princess disgustedly. "He is so lazy he will neither hunt nor
fight. To eat and to drink is all that Bu-lot is fit for, and he
thinks of naught else except these things and his slave women. But
come, Pan-at-lee, gather for me some of these beautiful blossoms.
I would have them spread around my couch tonight that I may carry
away with me in the morning the memory of the fragrance that I
love best and which I know that I shall not find in the village of
Mo-sar, the father of Bu-lot. I will help you, Pan-at-lee, and we
will gather armfuls of them, for I love to gather them as I love
nothing else--they were Ta-den's favorite flowers."
The two approached the flowering shrubbery where Tarzan hid, but
as the blooms grew plentifully upon every bush the ape-man guessed
there would be no necessity for them to enter the patch far enough
to discover him. With little exclamations of pleasure as they found
particularly large or perfect blooms the two moved from place to
place upon the outskirts of Tarzan's retreat.
"Oh, look, Pan-at-lee," cried O-lo-a presently; "there is the king
of them all. Never did I see so wonderful a flower--No! I will get
it myself--it is so large and wonderful no other hand shall touch
it," and the princess wound in among the bushes toward the point
where the great flower bloomed upon a bush above the ape-man's
So sudden and unexpected her approach that there was no opportunity
to escape and Tarzan sat silently trusting that fate might be kind
to him and lead Ko-tan's daughter away before her eyes dropped from
the high-growing bloom to him. But as the girl cut the long stem
with her knife she looked down straight into the smiling face of
With a stifled scream she drew back and the ape-man rose and faced
"Have no fear, Princess," he assured her. "It is the friend of
Ta-den who salutes you," raising her fingers to his lips.
Pan-at-lee came now excitedly forward. "O Jad-ben-Otho, it is he!"
"And now that you have found me," queried Tarzan, "will you give
me up to Lu-don, the high priest?"
Pan-at-lee threw herself upon her knees at O-lo-a's feet. "Princess!
Princess!" she beseeched, "do not discover him to his enemies."
"But Ko-tan, my father," whispered O-lo-a fearfully, "if he knew
of my perfidy his rage would be beyond naming. Even though I am a
princess Lu-don might demand that I be sacrificed to appease the
wrath of Jad-ben-Otho, and between the two of them I should be
"But they need never know," cried Pan-at-lee, "that you have seen
him unless you tell them yourself for as Jad-ben-Otho is my witness
I will never betray you."
"Oh, tell me, stranger," implored O-lo-a, "are you indeed a god?"
"Jad-ben-Otho is not more so," replied Tarzan truthfully.
"But why do you seek to escape then from the hands of mortals if
you are a god?" she asked.
"When gods mingle with mortals," replied Tarzan, "they are no less
vulnerable than mortals. Even Jad-ben-Otho, should he appear before
you in the flesh, might be slain."
"You have seen Ta-den and spoken with him?" she asked with apparent
"Yes, I have seen him and spoken with him," replied the ape-man.
"For the duration of a moon I was with him constantly."
"And--" she hesitated--"he--" she cast her eyes toward the ground
and a flush mantled her cheek--"he still loves me?" and Tarzan knew
that she had been won over.
"Yes," he said, "Ta-den speaks only of O-lo-a and he waits and
hopes for the day when he can claim her."
"But tomorrow they give me to Bu-lot," she said sadly.
"May it be always tomorrow," replied Tarzan, "for tomorrow never
"Ah, but this unhappiness will come, and for all the tomorrows
of my life I must pine in misery for the Ta-den who will never be
"But for Lu-don I might have helped you," said the ape-man. "And
who knows that I may not help you yet?"
"Ah, if you only could, Dor-ul-Otho," cried the girl, "and I know
that you would if it were possible for Pan-at-lee has told me how
brave you are, and at the same time how kind."
"Only Jad-ben-Otho knows what the future may bring," said Tarzan.
"And now you two go your way lest someone should discover you and
"We will go," said O-lo-a, "but Pan-at-lee will return with food.
I hope that you escape and that Jad-ben-Otho is pleased with what
I have done." She turned and walked away and Pan-at-lee followed
while the ape-man again resumed his hiding.
At dusk Pan-at-lee came with food and having her alone Tarzan put
the question that he had been anxious to put since his conversation
earlier in the day with O-lo-a.
"Tell me," he said, "what you know of the rumors of which O-lo-a
spoke of the mysterious stranger which is supposed to be hidden in
A-lur. Have you too heard of this during the short time that you
have been here?"
"Yes," said Pan-at-lee, "I have heard it spoken of among the other
slaves. It is something of which all whisper among themselves but
of which none dares to speak aloud. They say that there is a strange
she hidden in the temple and that Lu-don wants her for a priestess
and that Ko-tan wants her for a wife and that neither as yet dares
take her for fear of the other."
"Do you know where she is hidden in the temple?" asked Tarzan.
"No," said Pan-at-lee. "How should I know? I do not even know that
it is more than a story and I but tell you that which I have heard
"There was only one," asked Tarzan, "whom they spoke of?"
"No, they speak of another who came with her but none seems to know
what became of this one."
Tarzan nodded. "Thank you Pan-at-lee," he said. "You may have helped
me more than either of us guess."
"I hope that I have helped you," said the girl as she turned back
toward the palace.
"And I hope so too," exclaimed Tarzan emphatically.
The Temple of the Gryf
When night had fallen Tarzan donned the mask and the dead tail of
the priest he had slain in the vaults beneath the temple. He judged
that it would not do to attempt again to pass the guard, especially
so late at night as it would be likely to arouse comment and
suspicion, and so he swung into the tree that overhung the garden
wall and from its branches dropped to the ground beyond.
Avoiding too grave risk of apprehension the ape-man passed through
the grounds to the court of the palace, approaching the temple from
the side opposite to that at which he had left it at the time of
his escape. He came thus it is true through a portion of the grounds
with which he was unfamiliar but he preferred this to the danger
of following the beaten track between the palace apartments and
those of the temple. Having a definite goal in mind and endowed as
he was with an almost miraculous sense of location he moved with
great assurance through the shadows of the temple yard.
Taking advantage of the denser shadows close to the walls and of
what shrubs and trees there were he came without mishap at last
to the ornate building concerning the purpose of which he had
asked Lu-don only to be put off with the assertion that it was
forgotten--nothing strange in itself but given possible importance
by the apparent hesitancy of the priest to discuss its use and the
impression the ape-man had gained at the time that Lu-don lied.
And now he stood at last alone before the structure which was three
stories in height and detached from all the other temple buildings.
It had a single barred entrance which was carved from the living
rock in representation of the head of a gryf, whose wide-open mouth
constituted the doorway. The head, hood, and front paws of the
creature were depicted as though it lay crouching with its lower
jaw on the ground between its outspread paws. Small oval windows,
which were likewise barred, flanked the doorway.
Seeing that the coast was clear, Tarzan stepped into the darkened
entrance where he tried the bars only to discover that they
were ingeniously locked in place by some device with which he was
unfamiliar and that they also were probably too strong to be broken
even if he could have risked the noise which would have resulted.
Nothing was visible within the darkened interior and so, momentarily
baffled, he sought the windows. Here also the bars refused to
yield up their secret, but again Tarzan was not dismayed since he
had counted upon nothing different.
If the bars would not yield to his cunning they would yield to
his giant strength if there proved no other means of ingress, but
first he would assure himself that this latter was the case. Moving
entirely around the building he examined it carefully. There were
other windows but they were similarly barred. He stopped often to
look and listen but he saw no one and the sounds that he heard were
too far away to cause him any apprehension.
He glanced above him at the wall of the building. Like so many of
the other walls of the city, palace, and temple, it was ornately
carved and there were too the peculiar ledges that ran sometimes
in a horizontal plane and again were tilted at an angle, giving
ofttimes an impression of irregularity and even crookedness to
the buildings. It was not a difficult wall to climb, at least not
difficult for the ape-man.
But he found the bulky and awkward headdress a considerable handicap
and so he laid it aside upon the ground at the foot of the wall.
Nimbly he ascended to find the windows of the second floor not only
barred but curtained within. He did not delay long at the second
floor since he had in mind an idea that he would find the easiest
entrance through the roof which he had noticed was roughly dome
shaped like the throneroom of Ko-tan. Here there were apertures.
He had seen them from the ground, and if the construction of the
interior resembled even slightly that of the throneroom, bars would
not be necessary upon these apertures, since no one could reach
them from the floor of the room.
There was but a single question: would they be large enough to
admit the broad shoulders of the ape-man.
He paused again at the third floor, and here, in spite of the
hangings, he saw that the interior was lighted and simultaneously
there came to his nostrils from within a scent that stripped from
him temporarily any remnant of civilization that might have remained
and left him a fierce and terrible bull of the jungles of Kerchak.
So sudden and complete was the metamorphosis that there almost
broke from the savage lips the hideous challenge of his kind, but
the cunning brute-mind saved him this blunder.
And now he heard voices within--the voice of Lu-don he could have
sworn, demanding. And haughty and disdainful came the answering
words though utter hopelessness spoke in the tones of this other
voice which brought Tarzan to the pinnacle of frenzy.
The dome with its possible apertures was forgotten. Every consideration
of stealth and quiet was cast aside as the ape-man drew back his
mighty fist and struck a single terrific blow upon the bars of the
small window before him, a blow that sent the bars and the casing
that held them clattering to the floor of the apartment within.
Instantly Tarzan dove headforemost through the aperture carrying
the hangings of antelope hide with him to the floor below. Leaping
to his feet he tore the entangling pelt from about his head only
to find himself in utter darkness and in silence. He called aloud
a name that had not passed his lips for many weary months. "Jane,
Jane," he cried, "where are you?" But there was only silence in
Again and again he called, groping with outstretched hands through
the Stygian blackness of the room, his nostrils assailed and his
brain tantalized by the delicate effluvia that had first assured
him that his mate had been within this very room. And he had heard
her dear voice combatting the base demands of the vile priest. Ah,
if he had but acted with greater caution! If he had but continued
to move with quiet and stealth he might even at this moment be
holding her in his arms while the body of Lu-don, beneath his foot,
spoke eloquently of vengeance achieved. But there was no time now
for idle self-reproaches.
He stumbled blindly forward, groping for he knew not what till
suddenly the floor beneath him tilted and he shot downward into a
darkness even more utter than that above. He felt his body strike
a smooth surface and he realized that he was hurtling downward as
through a polished chute while from above there came the mocking
tones of a taunting laugh and the voice of Lu-don screamed after
him: "Return to thy father, O Dor-ul-Otho!"
The ape-man came to a sudden and painful stop upon a rocky floor.
Directly before him was an oval window crossed by many bars, and
beyond he saw the moonlight playing on the waters of the blue lake
below. Simultaneously he was conscious of a familiar odor in the air
of the chamber, which a quick glance revealed in the semidarkness
as of considerable proportion.
It was the faint, but unmistakable odor of the gryf, and now Tarzan
stood silently listening. At first he detected no sounds other than
those of the city that came to him through the window overlooking
the lake; but presently, faintly, as though from a distance he
heard the shuffling of padded feet along a stone pavement, and as
he listened he was aware that the sound approached.
Nearer and nearer it came, and now even the breathing of the beast
was audible. Evidently attracted by the noise of his descent into
its cavernous retreat it was approaching to investigate. He could
not see it but he knew that it was not far distant, and then,
deafeningly there reverberated through those gloomy corridors the
mad bellow of the gryf.
Aware of the poor eyesight of the beast, and his own eyes now grown
accustomed to the darkness of the cavern, the ape-man sought to
elude the infuriated charge which he well knew no living creature
could withstand. Neither did he dare risk the chance of experimenting
upon this strange gryf with the tactics of the Tor-o-don that he
had found so efficacious upon that other occasion when his life
and liberty had been the stakes for which he cast. In many respects
the conditions were dissimilar. Before, in broad daylight, he
had been able to approach the gryf under normal conditions in its
natural state, and the gryf itself was one that he had seen subjected
to the authority of man, or at least of a manlike creature; but
here he was confronted by an imprisoned beast in the full swing
of a furious charge and he had every reason to suspect that this
gryf might never have felt the restraining influence of authority,
confined as it was in this gloomy pit to serve likely but the single
purpose that Tarzan had already seen so graphically portrayed in
his own experience of the past few moments.
To elude the creature, then, upon the possibility of discovering
some loophole of escape from his predicament seemed to the ape-man
the wisest course to pursue. Too much was at stake to risk an
encounter that might be avoided--an encounter the outcome of which
there was every reason to apprehend would seal the fate of the
mate that he had just found, only to lose again so harrowingly.
Yet high as his disappointment and chagrin ran, hopeless as his
present estate now appeared, there tingled in the veins of the
savage lord a warm glow of thanksgiving and elation. She lived!
After all these weary months of hopelessness and fear he had found
her. She lived!
To the opposite side of the chamber, silently as the wraith of
a disembodied soul, the swift jungle creature moved from the path
of the charging Titan that, guided solely in the semi-darkness by
its keen ears, bore down upon the spot toward which Tarzan's noisy
entrance into its lair had attracted it. Along the further wall the
ape-man hurried. Before him now appeared the black opening of the
corridor from which the beast had emerged into the larger chamber.
Without hesitation Tarzan plunged into it. Even here his eyes,
long accustomed to darkness that would have seemed total to you or
to me, saw dimly the floor and the walls within a radius of a few
feet--enough at least to prevent him plunging into any unguessed
abyss, or dashing himself upon solid rock at a sudden turning.
The corridor was both wide and lofty, which indeed it must
be to accommodate the colossal proportions of the creature whose
habitat it was, and so Tarzan encountered no difficulty in moving
with reasonable speed along its winding trail. He was aware as he
proceeded that the trend of the passage was downward, though not
steeply, but it seemed interminable and he wondered to what distant
subterranean lair it might lead. There was a feeling that perhaps
after all he might better have remained in the larger chamber
and risked all on the chance of subduing the gryf where there was
at least sufficient room and light to lend to the experiment some
slight chance of success. To be overtaken here in the narrow confines
of the black corridor where he was assured the gryf could not see
him at all would spell almost certain death and now he heard the
thing approaching from behind. Its thunderous bellows fairly shook
the cliff from which the cavernous chambers were excavated. To halt
and meet this monstrous incarnation of fury with a futile whee-oo!
seemed to Tarzan the height of insanity and so he continued along
the corridor, increasing his pace as he realized that the gryf was
Presently the darkness lessened and at the final turning of the
passage he saw before him an area of moonlight. With renewed hope
he sprang rapidly forward and emerged from the mouth of the corridor
to find himself in a large circular enclosure the towering white
walls of which rose high upon every side--smooth perpendicular
walls upon the sheer face of which was no slightest foothold. To
his left lay a pool of water, one side of which lapped the foot
of the wall at this point. It was, doubtless, the wallow and the
drinking pool of the gryf.
And now the creature emerged from the corridor and Tarzan retreated
to the edge of the pool to make his last stand. There was no staff
with which to enforce the authority of his voice, but yet he made
his stand for there seemed naught else to do. Just beyond the
entrance to the corridor the gryf paused, turning its weak eyes in
all directions as though searching for its prey. This then seemed
the psychological moment for his attempt and raising his voice in
peremptory command the ape-man voiced the weird whee-oo! of the
Tor-o-don. Its effect upon the gryf was instantaneous and complete--with
a terrific bellow it lowered its three horns and dashed madly in
the direction of the sound.
To right nor to left was any avenue of escape, for behind him lay
the placid waters of the pool, while down upon him from before
thundered annihilation. The mighty body seemed already to tower
above him as the ape-man turned and dove into the dark waters.
Dead in her breast lay hope. Battling for life during harrowing
months of imprisonment and danger and hardship it had fitfully
flickered and flamed only to sink after each renewal to smaller
proportions than before and now it had died out entirely leaving
only cold, charred embers that Jane Clayton knew would never again
be rekindled. Hope was dead as she faced Lu-don, the high priest,
in her prison quarters in the Temple of the Gryf at A-lur. Both time
and hardship had failed to leave their impress upon her physical
beauty--the contours of her perfect form, the glory of her radiant
loveliness had defied them, yet to these very attributes she owed
the danger which now confronted her, for Lu-don desired her. From
the lesser priests she had been safe, but from Lu-don, she was
not safe, for Lu-don was not as they, since the high priestship of
Pal-ul-don may descend from father to son.
Ko-tan, the king, had wanted her and all that had so far saved her
from either was the fear of each for the other, but at last Lu-don
had cast aside discretion and had come in the silent watches of the
night to claim her. Haughtily had she repulsed him, seeking ever
to gain time, though what time might bring her of relief or renewed
hope she could not even remotely conjecture. A leer of lust and
greed shone hungrily upon his cruel countenance as he advanced
across the room to seize her. She did not shrink nor cower, but
stood there very erect, her chin up, her level gaze freighted with
the loathing and contempt she felt for him. He read her expression
and while it angered him, it but increased his desire for possession.
Here indeed was a queen, perhaps a goddess; fit mate for the high
"You shall not!" she said as he would have touched her. "One of us
shall die before ever your purpose is accomplished."
He was close beside her now. His laugh grated upon her ears. "Love
does not kill," he replied mockingly.
He reached for her arm and at the same instant something clashed
against the bars of one of the windows, crashing them inward to
the floor, to be followed almost simultaneously by a human figure
which dove headforemost into the room, its head enveloped in the
skin window hangings which it carried with it in its impetuous
Jane Clayton saw surprise and something of terror too leap to the
countenance of the high priest and then she saw him spring forward
and jerk upon a leather thong that depended from the ceiling of the
apartment. Instantly there dropped from above a cunningly contrived
partition that fell between them and the intruder, effectively
barring him from them and at the same time leaving him to grope
upon its opposite side in darkness, since the only cresset the room
contained was upon their side of the partition.
Faintly from beyond the wall Jane heard a voice calling, but whose
it was and what the words she could not distinguish. Then she saw
Lu-don jerk upon another thong and wait in evident expectancy of
some consequent happening. He did not have long to wait. She saw
the thong move suddenly as though jerked from above and then Lu-don
smiled and with another signal put in motion whatever machinery it
was that raised the partition again to its place in the ceiling.
Advancing into that portion of the room that the partition had
shut off from them, the high priest knelt upon the floor, and down
tilting a section of it, revealed the dark mouth of a shaft leading
below. Laughing loudly he shouted into the hole: "Return to thy
father, O Dor-ul-Otho!"
Making fast the catch that prevented the trapdoor from opening
beneath the feet of the unwary until such time as Lu-don chose the
high priest rose again to his feet.
"Now, Beautiful One!" he cried, and then, "Ja-don! what do you
Jane Clayton turned to follow the direction of Lu-don's eyes and
there she saw framed in the entrance-way to the apartment the mighty
figure of a warrior, upon whose massive features sat an expression
of stern and uncompromising authority.
"I come from Ko-tan, the king," replied Ja-don, "to remove the
beautiful stranger to the Forbidden Garden."