Part 2 out of 5
And presently Taug, who had escaped with only a few scratches,
came and squatted beside Tarzan and watched him as he
played with the little balu, and at last he too leaned
over and helped Teeka with the cleansing and the healing
of the ape-man's hurts.
The God of Tarzan
AMONG THE BOOKS of his dead father in the little cabin
by the land-locked harbor, Tarzan of the Apes found
many things to puzzle his young head. By much labor and
through the medium of infinite patience as well, he had,
without assistance, discovered the purpose of the little
bugs which ran riot upon the printed pages. He had learned
that in the many combinations in which he found them they
spoke in a silent language, spoke in a strange tongue,
spoke of wonderful things which a little ape-boy could
not by any chance fully understand, arousing his curiosity,
stimulating his imagination and filling his soul with
a mighty longing for further knowledge.
A dictionary had proven itself a wonderful storehouse
of information, when, after several years of tireless
endeavor, he had solved the mystery of its purpose
and the manner of its use. He had learned to make
a species of game out of it, following up the spoor of
a new thought through the mazes of the many definitions
which each new word required him to consult. It was like
following a quarry through the jungle-- it was hunting,
and Tarzan of the Apes was an indefatigable huntsman.
There were, of course, certain words which aroused his
curiosity to a greater extent than others, words which,
for one reason or another, excited his imagination.
There was one, for example, the meaning of which was
rather difficult to grasp. It was the word GOD.
Tarzan first had been attracted to it by the fact that it
was very short and that it commenced with a larger g-bug
than those about it--a male g-bug it was to Tarzan,
the lower-case letters being females. Another fact
which attracted him to this word was the number of he-bugs
which figured in its definition--Supreme Deity, Creator or
Upholder of the Universe. This must be a very important
word indeed, he would have to look into it, and he did,
though it still baffled him after many months of thought
However, Tarzan counted no time wasted which he devoted
to these strange hunting expeditions into the game
preserves of knowledge, for each word and each definition
led on and on into strange places, into new worlds where,
with increasing frequency, he met old, familiar faces.
And always he added to his store of knowledge.
But of the meaning of GOD he was yet in doubt.
Once he thought he had grasped it--that God was a
mighty chieftain, king of all the Mangani. He was not
quite sure, however, since that would mean that God was
mightier than Tarzan-- a point which Tarzan of the Apes,
who acknowledged no equal in the jungle, was loath to concede.
But in all the books he had there was no picture of God,
though he found much to confirm his belief that God was
a great, an all-powerful individual. He saw pictures of
places where God was worshiped; but never any sign of God.
Finally he began to wonder if God were not of a different
form than he, and at last he determined to set out in search
He commenced by questioning Mumga, who was very old and
had seen many strange things in her long life; but Mumga,
being an ape, had a faculty for recalling the trivial.
That time when Gunto mistook a sting-bug for an edible
beetle had made more impression upon Mumga than all
the innumerable manifestations of the greatness of God
which she had witnessed, and which, of course, she had
Numgo, overhearing Tarzan's questions, managed to wrest
his attention long enough from the diversion of flea
hunting to advance the theory that the power which made
the lightning and the rain and the thunder came from Goro,
the moon. He knew this, he said, because the Dum-Dum
always was danced in the light of Goro. This reasoning,
though entirely satisfactory to Numgo and Mumga,
failed fully to convince Tarzan. However, it gave him
a basis for further investigation along a new line.
He would investigate the moon.
That night he clambered to the loftiest pinnacle of the
tallest jungle giant. The moon was full, a great, glorious,
equatorial moon. The ape-man, upright upon a slender,
swaying limb, raised his bronzed face to the silver orb.
Now that he had clambered to the highest point within
his reach, he discovered, to his surprise, that Goro
was as far away as when he viewed him from the ground.
He thought that Goro was attempting to elude him.
"Come, Goro!" he cried, "Tarzan of the Apes will not
harm you!" But still the moon held aloof.
"Tell me," he continued, "if you be the great king
who sends Ara, the lightning; who makes the great noise
and the mighty winds, and sends the waters down upon
the jungle people when the days are dark and it is cold.
Tell me, Goro, are you God?"
Of course he did not pronounce God as you or I would
pronounce His name, for Tarzan knew naught of the spoken
language of his English forbears; but he had a name of his
own invention for each of the little bugs which constituted
the alphabet. Unlike the apes he was not satisfied merely
to have a mental picture of the things he knew, he must
have a word descriptive of each. In reading he grasped
a word in its entirety; but when he spoke the words he
had learned from the books of his father, he pronounced
each according to the names he had given the various little
bugs which occurred in it, usually giving the gender prefix for
Thus it was an imposing word which Tarzan made of GOD.
The masculine prefix of the apes is BU, the feminine
MU; g Tarzan had named LA, o he pronounced TU,
and d was MO. So the word God evolved itself
into BULAMUTUMUMO, or, in English, he-g-she-o-she-d.
Similarly he had arrived at a strange and wonderful
spelling of his own name. Tarzan is derived from the
two ape words TAR and ZAN, meaning white skin.
It was given him by his foster mother, Kala, the great
she-ape. When Tarzan first put it into the written language
of his own people he had not yet chanced upon either WHITE
or SKIN in the dictionary; but in a primer
he had seen the picture of a little white boy and so he
wrote his name BUMUDE-MUTOMURO, or he-boy.
To follow Tarzan's strange system of spelling would be
laborious as well as futile, and so we shall in the future,
as we have in the past, adhere to the more familiar forms
of our grammar school copybooks. It would tire you
to remember that DO meant b, TU o, and RO y,
and that to say he-boy you must prefix the ape masculine
gender sound BU before the entire word and the feminine
gender sound MU before each of the lower-case letters
which go to make up boy--it would tire you and it would
bring me to the nineteenth hole several strokes under par.
And so Tarzan harangued the moon, and when Goro did not reply,
Tarzan of the Apes waxed wroth. He swelled his giant
chest and bared his fighting fangs, and hurled into the
teeth of the dead satellite the challenge of the bull ape.
"You are not Bulamutumumo," he cried. "You are not king
of the jungle folk. You are not so great as Tarzan,
mighty fighter, mighty hunter. None there is so great
as Tarzan. If there be a Bulamutumumo, Tarzan can kill him.
Come down, Goro, great coward, and fight with Tarzan.
Tarzan will kill you. I am Tarzan, the killer."
But the moon made no answer to the boasting of the
ape-man, and when a cloud came and obscured her face,
Tarzan thought that Goro was indeed afraid, and was hiding
from him, so he came down out of the trees and awoke
Numgo and told him how great was Tarzan--how he had
frightened Goro out of the sky and made him tremble.
Tarzan spoke of the moon as HE, for all things large
or awe inspiring are male to the ape folk.
Numgo was not much impressed; but he was very sleepy,
so he told Tarzan to go away and leave his betters alone.
"But where shall I find God?" insisted Tarzan. "You are
very old; if there is a God you must have seen Him.
What does He look like? Where does He live?"
"I am God," replied Numgo. "Now sleep and disturb me
Tarzan looked at Numgo steadily for several minutes,
his shapely head sank just a trifle between his great shoulders,
his square chin shot forward and his short upper lip
drew back, exposing his white teeth. Then, with a low
growl he leaped upon the ape and buried his fangs
in the other's hairy shoulder, clutching the great neck
in his mighty fingers. Twice he shook the old ape,
then he released his tooth-hold.
"Are you God?" he demanded.
"No," wailed Numgo. "I am only a poor, old ape.
Leave me alone. Go ask the Gomangani where God is.
They are hairless like yourself and very wise, too.
They should know."
Tarzan released Numgo and turned away. The suggestion
that he consult the blacks appealed to him, and though
his relations with the people of Mbonga, the chief,
were the antithesis of friendly, he could at least spy upon
his hated enemies and discover if they had intercourse
So it was that Tarzan set forth through the trees toward
the village of the blacks, all excitement at the prospect
of discovering the Supreme Being, the Creator of all things.
As he traveled he reviewed, mentally, his armament--the
condition of his hunting knife, the number of his arrows,
the newness of the gut which strung his bow--he hefted
the war spear which had once been the pride of some black
warrior of Mbonga's tribe.
If he met God, Tarzan would be prepared. One could never
tell whether a grass rope, a war spear, or a poisoned arrow
would be most efficacious against an unfamiliar foe.
Tarzan of the Apes was quite content--if God wished to fight,
the ape-man had no doubt as to the outcome of the struggle.
There were many questions Tarzan wished to put to the
Creator of the Universe and so he hoped that God would
not prove a belligerent God; but his experience of life
and the ways of living things had taught him that any
creature with the means for offense and defense was quite
likely to provoke attack if in the proper mood.
It was dark when Tarzan came to the village of Mbonga.
As silently as the silent shadows of the night he
sought his accustomed place among the branches of the
great tree which overhung the palisade. Below him,
in the village street, he saw men and women. The men
were hideously painted--more hideously than usual.
Among them moved a weird and grotesque figure, a tall figure
that went upon the two legs of a man and yet had the head
of a buffalo. A tail dangled to his ankles behind him,
and in one hand he carried a zebra's tail while the other
clutched a bunch of small arrows.
Tarzan was electrified. Could it be that chance had given
him thus early an opportunity to look upon God? Surely
this thing was neither man nor beast, so what could it
be then other than the Creator of the Universe! The
ape-man watched the every move of the strange creature.
He saw the black men and women fall back at its approach
as though they stood in terror of its mysterious powers.
Presently he discovered that the deity was speaking and
that all listened in silence to his words. Tarzan was
sure that none other than God could inspire such awe
in the hearts of the Gomangani, or stop their mouths
so effectually without recourse to arrows or spears.
Tarzan had come to look with contempt upon the blacks,
principally because of their garrulity. The small apes
talked a great deal and ran away from an enemy. The big,
old bulls of Kerchak talked but little and fought upon
the slightest provocation. Numa, the lion, was not given
to loquacity, yet of all the jungle folk there were few
who fought more often than he.
Tarzan witnessed strange things that night, none of which
he understood, and, perhaps because they were strange,
he thought that they must have to do with the God he could
not understand. He saw three youths receive their first war
spears in a weird ceremony which the grotesque witch-doctor
strove successfully to render uncanny and awesome.
Hugely interested, he watched the slashing of the three brown
arms and the exchange of blood with Mbonga, the chief,
in the rites of the ceremony of blood brotherhood.
He saw the zebra's tail dipped into a caldron of water
above which the witch-doctor had made magical passes
the while he danced and leaped about it, and he saw
the breasts and foreheads of each of the three novitiates
sprinkled with the charmed liquid. Could the ape-man
have known the purpose of this act, that it was intended
to render the recipient invulnerable to the attacks
of his enemies and fearless in the face of any danger,
he would doubtless have leaped into the village street
and appropriated the zebra's tail and a portion of the
contents of the caldron.
But he did not know, and so he only wondered, not alone
at what he saw but at the strange sensations which played
up and down his naked spine, sensations induced, doubtless,
by the same hypnotic influence which held the black
spectators in tense awe upon the verge of a hysteric upheaval.
The longer Tarzan watched, the more convinced he became
that his eyes were upon God, and with the conviction came
determination to have word with the deity. With Tarzan
of the Apes, to think was to act.
The people of Mbonga were keyed to the highest pitch
of hysterical excitement. They needed little to release
the accumulated pressure of static nerve force which
the terrorizing mummery of the witch-doctor had induced.
A lion roared, suddenly and loud, close without the palisade.
The blacks started nervously, dropping into utter silence
as they listened for a repetition of that all-too-familiar
and always terrorizing voice. Even the witch-doctor paused
in the midst of an intricate step, remaining momentarily
rigid and statuesque as he plumbed his cunning mind
for a suggestion as how best he might take advantage
of the condition of his audience and the timely interruption.
Already the evening had been vastly profitable to him.
There would be three goats for the initiation of the
three youths into full-fledged warriorship, and besides
these he had received several gifts of grain and beads,
together with a piece of copper wire from admiring and
terrified members of his audience.
Numa's roar still reverberated along taut nerves when a
woman's laugh, shrill and piercing, shattered the silence
of the village. It was this moment that Tarzan chose
to drop lightly from his tree into the village street.
Fearless among his blood enemies he stood, taller by a full
head than many of Mbonga's warriors, straight as their
straightest arrow, muscled like Numa, the lion.
For a moment Tarzan stood looking straight at the
witch-doctor. Every eye was upon him, yet no one had
moved-- a paralysis of terror held them, to be broken
a moment later as the ape-man, with a toss of head,
stepped straight toward the hideous figure beneath the buffalo
Then the nerves of the blacks could stand no more.
For months the terror of the strange, white, jungle god
had been upon them. Their arrows had been stolen from
the very center of the village; their warriors had been
silently slain upon the jungle trails and their dead
bodies dropped mysteriously and by night into the village
street as from the heavens above.
One or two there were who had glimpsed the strange figure
of the new demon and it was from their oft-repeated
descriptions that the entire village now recognized Tarzan
as the author of many of their ills. Upon another occasion
and by daylight, the warriors would doubtless have leaped
to attack him, but at night, and this night of all others,
when they were wrought to such a pitch of nervous dread
by the uncanny artistry of their witch-doctor, they were
helpless with terror. As one man they turned and fled,
scattering for their huts, as Tarzan advanced.
For a moment one and one only held his ground. It was
the witch-doctor. More than half self-hypnotized into
a belief in his own charlatanry he faced this new demon
who threatened to undermine his ancient and lucrative profession.
"Are you God?" asked Tarzan.
The witch-doctor, having no idea of the meaning of the
other's words, danced a few strange steps, leaped high
in the air, turning completely around and alighting in a
stooping posture with feet far outspread and head thrust
out toward the ape-man. Thus he remained for an instant
before he uttered a loud "Boo!" which was evidently intended
to frighten Tarzan away; but in reality had no such effect.
Tarzan did not pause. He had set out to approach and examine
God and nothing upon earth might now stay his feet.
Seeing that his antics had no potency with the visitor,
the witch-doctor tried some new medicine. Spitting upon
the zebra's tail, which he still clutched in one hand,
he made circles above it with the arrows in the other hand,
meanwhile backing cautiously away from Tarzan and speaking
confidentially to the bushy end of the tail.
This medicine must be short medicine, however, for the creature,
god or demon, was steadily closing up the distance which had
separated them. The circles therefore were few and rapid,
and when they were completed, the witch-doctor struck an attitude
which was intended to be awe inspiring and waving the zebra's
tail before him, drew an imaginary line between himself and
"Beyond this line you cannot pass, for my medicine is
strong medicine," he cried. "Stop, or you will fall
dead as your foot touches this spot. My mother was
a voodoo, my father was a snake; I live upon lions'
hearts and the entrails of the panther; I eat young babies
for breakfast and the demons of the jungle are my slaves.
I am the most powerful witch-doctor in the world;
I fear nothing, for I cannot die. I--" But he got no further;
instead he turned and fled as Tarzan of the Apes crossed
the magical dead line and still lived.
As the witch-doctor ran, Tarzan almost lost his temper.
This was no way for God to act, at least not in accordance
with the conception Tarzan had come to have of God.
"Come back!" he cried. "Come back, God, I will not harm you."
But the witch-doctor was in full retreat by this time,
stepping high as he leaped over cooking pots and the
smoldering embers of small fires that had burned before
the huts of villagers. Straight for his own hut ran
the witch-doctor, terror-spurred to unwonted speed;
but futile was his effort--the ape-man bore down upon
him with the speed of Bara, the deer.
Just at the entrance to his hut the witch-doctor was overhauled.
A heavy hand fell upon his shoulder to drag him back.
It seized upon a portion of the buffalo hide, dragging the
disguise from him. It was a naked black man that Tarzan
saw dodge into the darkness of the hut's interior.
So this was what he had thought was God! Tarzan's lip
curled in an angry snarl as he leaped into the hut after
the terror-stricken witch-doctor. In the blackness within
he found the man huddled at the far side and dragged him
forth into the comparative lightness of the moonlit night.
The witch-doctor bit and scratched in an attempt to escape;
but a few cuffs across the head brought him to a better
realization of the futility of resistance. Beneath the moon
Tarzan held the cringing figure upon its shaking feet.
"So you are God!" he cried. "If you be God, then Tarzan
is greater than God," and so the ape-man thought.
"I am Tarzan," he shouted into the ear of the black.
"In all the jungle, or above it, or upon the running
waters, or the sleeping waters, or upon the big water,
or the little water, there is none so great as Tarzan.
Tarzan is greater than the Mangani; he is greater than
the Gomangani. With his own hands he has slain Numa,
the lion, and Sheeta, the panther; there is none so great
as Tarzan. Tarzan is greater than God. See!" and with
a sudden wrench he twisted the black's neck until the
fellow shrieked in pain and then slumped to the earth
in a swoon.
Placing his foot upon the neck of the fallen witch-doctor,
the ape-man raised his face to the moon and uttered
the long, shrill scream of the victorious bull ape.
Then he stooped and snatched the zebra's tail from the
nerveless fingers of the unconscious man and without
a backward glance retraced his footsteps across the village.
From several hut doorways frightened eyes watched him.
Mbonga, the chief, was one of those who had seen
what passed before the hut of the witch-doctor. Mbonga
was greatly concerned. Wise old patriarch that he was,
he never had more than half believed in witch-doctors,
at least not since greater wisdom had come with age;
but as a chief he was well convinced of the power of the
witch-doctor as an arm of government, and often it was
that Mbonga used the superstitious fears of his people
to his own ends through the medium of the medicine-man.
Mbonga and the witch-doctor had worked together and divided
the spoils, and now the "face" of the witch-doctor
would be lost forever if any saw what Mbonga had seen;
nor would this generation again have as much faith
in any future witch-doctor.
Mbonga must do something to counteract the evil influence
of the forest demon's victory over the witch-doctor. He
raised his heavy spear and crept silently from his hut
in the wake of the retreating ape-man. Down the village
street walked Tarzan, as unconcerned and as deliberate
as though only the friendly apes of Kerchak surrounded
him instead of a village full of armed enemies.
Seeming only was the indifference of Tarzan,
for alert and watchful was every well-trained sense.
Mbonga, wily stalker of keen-eared jungle creatures,
moved now in utter silence. Not even Bara, the deer,
with his great ears could have guessed from any sound
that Mbonga was near; but the black was not stalking Bara;
he was stalking man, and so he sought only to avoid noise.
Closer and closer to the slowly moving ape-man he came.
Now he raised his war spear, throwing his spear-hand far back
above his right shoulder. Once and for all would Mbonga,
the chief, rid himself and his people of the menace
of this terrifying enemy. He would make no poor cast;
he would take pains, and he would hurl his weapon with such
great force as would finish the demon forever.
But Mbonga, sure as he thought himself, erred in
his calculations. He might believe that he was stalking
a man-- he did not know, however, that it was a man
with the delicate sense perception of the lower orders.
Tarzan, when he had turned his back upon his enemies,
had noted what Mbonga never would have thought of considering
in the hunting of man--the wind. It was blowing in the
same direction that Tarzan was proceeding, carrying to
his delicate nostrils the odors which arose behind him.
Thus it was that Tarzan knew that he was being followed,
for even among the many stenches of an African village,
the ape-man's uncanny faculty was equal to the task
of differentiating one stench from another and locating
with remarkable precision the source from whence it came.
He knew that a man was following him and coming closer,
and his judgment warned him of the purpose of the stalker.
When Mbonga, therefore, came within spear range
of the ape-man, the latter suddenly wheeled upon him,
so suddenly that the poised spear was shot a fraction
of a second before Mbonga had intended. It went a trifle
high and Tarzan stooped to let it pass over his head;
then he sprang toward the chief. But Mbonga did not wait
to receive him. Instead, he turned and fled for the dark
doorway of the nearest hut, calling as he went for his
warriors to fall upon the stranger and slay him.
Well indeed might Mbonga scream for help, for Tarzan,
young and fleet-footed, covered the distance between
them in great leaps, at the speed of a charging lion.
He was growling, too, not at all unlike Numa himself.
Mbonga heard and his blood ran cold. He could feel the wool
stiffen upon his pate and a prickly chill run up his spine,
as though Death had come and run his cold finger along
Others heard, too, and saw, from the darkness of their
huts--bold warriors, hideously painted, grasping heavy
war spears in nerveless fingers. Against Numa, the lion,
they would have charged fearlessly. Against many times
their own number of black warriors would they have raced
to the protection of their chief; but this weird jungle
demon filled them with terror. There was nothing human
in the bestial growls that rumbled up from his deep chest;
there was nothing human in the bared fangs, or the catlike leaps.
Mbonga's warriors were terrified--too terrified to leave
the seeming security of their huts while they watched
the beast-man spring full upon the back of their old chieftain.
Mbonga went down with a scream of terror. He was
too frightened even to attempt to defend himself.
He just lay beneath his antagonist in a paralysis of fear,
screaming at the top of his lungs. Tarzan half rose
and kneeled above the black. He turned Mbonga over and
looked him in the face, exposing the man's throat, then he
drew his long, keen knife, the knife that John Clayton,
Lord Greystoke, had brought from England many years before.
He raised it close above Mbonga's neck. The old black
whimpered with terror. He pleaded for his life in a tongue
which Tarzan could not understand.
For the first time the ape-man had a close view of the chief.
He saw an old man, a very old man with scrawny neck
and wrinkled face--a dried, parchment-like face which
resembled some of the little monkeys Tarzan knew so well.
He saw the terror in the man's eyes--never before had
Tarzan seen such terror in the eyes of any animal, or such
a piteous appeal for mercy upon the face of any creature.
Something stayed the ape-man's hand for an instant.
He wondered why it was that he hesitated to make the kill;
never before had he thus delayed. The old man seemed to
wither and shrink to a bag of puny bones beneath his eyes.
So weak and helpless and terror-stricken he appeared
that the ape-man was filled with a great contempt;
but another sensation also claimed him--something new
to Tarzan of the Apes in relation to an enemy. It was
pity--pity for a poor, frightened, old man.
Tarzan rose and turned away, leaving Mbonga, the chief, unharmed.
With head held high the ape-man walked through the village,
swung himself into the branches of the tree which overhung
the palisade and disappeared from the sight of the villagers.
All the way back to the stamping ground of the apes,
Tarzan sought for an explanation of the strange power which
had stayed his hand and prevented him from slaying Mbonga.
It was as though someone greater than he had commanded
him to spare the life of the old man. Tarzan could
not understand, for he could conceive of nothing, or no one,
with the authority to dictate to him what he should do,
or what he should refrain from doing.
It was late when Tarzan sought a swaying couch among
the trees beneath which slept the apes of Kerchak,
and he was still absorbed in the solution of his strange
problem when he fell asleep.
The sun was well up in the heavens when he awoke.
The apes were astir in search of food. Tarzan watched
them lazily from above as they scratched in the rotting
loam for bugs and beetles and grubworms, or sought among
the branches of the trees for eggs and young birds,
or luscious caterpillars.
An orchid, dangling close beside his head, opened slowly,
unfolding its delicate petals to the warmth and light
of the sun which but recently had penetrated to its
shady retreat. A thousand times had Tarzan of the Apes
witnessed the beauteous miracle; but now it aroused
a keener interest, for the ape-man was just commencing
to ask himself questions about all the myriad wonders
which heretofore he had but taken for granted.
What made the flower open? What made it grow from a tiny
bud to a full-blown bloom? Why was it at all? Why was he?
Where did Numa, the lion, come from? Who planted the first
tree? How did Goro get way up into the darkness of the night
sky to cast his welcome light upon the fearsome nocturnal
jungle? And the sun! Did the sun merely happen there?
Why were all the peoples of the jungle not trees? Why were
the trees not something else? Why was Tarzan different
from Taug, and Taug different from Bara, the deer,
and Bara different from Sheeta, the panther, and why
was not Sheeta like Buto, the rhinoceros? Where and how,
anyway, did they all come from--the trees, the flowers,
the insects, the countless creatures of the jungle?
Quite unexpectedly an idea popped into Tarzan's head.
In following out the many ramifications of the dictionary
definition of GOD he had come upon the word CREATE--
"to cause to come into existence; to form out of nothing."
Tarzan almost had arrived at something tangible when a
distant wail startled him from his preoccupation into
sensibility of the present and the real. The wail came
from the jungle at some little distance from Tarzan's
swaying couch. It was the wail of a tiny balu.
Tarzan recognized it at once as the voice of Gazan,
Teeka's baby. They had called it Gazan because its soft,
baby hair had been unusually red, and GAZAN in the
language of the great apes, means red skin.
The wail was immediately followed by a real scream
of terror from the small lungs. Tarzan was electrified
into instant action. Like an arrow from a bow he shot
through the trees in the direction of the sound.
Ahead of him he heard the savage snarling of an adult
she-ape. It was Teeka to the rescue. The danger must
be very real. Tarzan could tell that by the note of rage
mingled with fear in the voice of the she.
Running along bending limbs, swinging from one tree
to another, the ape-man raced through the middle
terraces toward the sounds which now had risen in volume
to deafening proportions. From all directions the apes
of Kerchak were hurrying in response to the appeal in
the tones of the balu and its mother, and as they came,
their roars reverberated through the forest.
But Tarzan, swifter than his heavy fellows, distanced them all.
It was he who was first upon the scene. What he saw
sent a cold chill through his giant frame, for the enemy
was the most hated and loathed of all the jungle creatures.
Twined in a great tree was Histah, the snake--huge, ponderous,
slimy--and in the folds of its deadly embrace was Teeka's
little balu, Gazan. Nothing in the jungle inspired within
the breast of Tarzan so near a semblance to fear as did
the hideous Histah. The apes, too, loathed the terrifying
reptile and feared him even more than they did Sheeta,
the panther, or Numa, the lion. Of all their enemies there
was none they gave a wider berth than they gave Histah,
Tarzan knew that Teeka was peculiarly fearful of this silent,
repulsive foe, and as the scene broke upon his vision,
it was the action of Teeka which filled him with the
greatest wonder, for at the moment that he saw her,
the she-ape leaped upon the glistening body of the snake,
and as the mighty folds encircled her as well as her offspring,
she made no effort to escape, but instead grasped the writhing
body in a futile effort to tear it from her screaming balu.
Tarzan knew all too well how deep-rooted was Teeka's terror
of Histah. He scarce could believe the testimony of his
own eyes then, when they told him that she had voluntarily
rushed into that deadly embrace. Nor was Teeka's innate
dread of the monster much greater than Tarzan's own.
Never, willingly, had he touched a snake. Why, he could
not say, for he would admit fear of nothing; nor was it fear,
but rather an inherent repulsion bequeathed to him by many
generations of civilized ancestors, and back of them, perhaps,
by countless myriads of such as Teeka, in the breasts
of each of which had lurked the same nameless terror of the slimy
Yet Tarzan did not hesitate more than had Teeka,
but leaped upon Histah with all the speed and impetuosity
that he would have shown had he been springing upon Bara,
the deer, to make a kill for food. Thus beset the snake
writhed and twisted horribly; but not for an instant
did it loose its hold upon any of its intended victims,
for it had included the ape-man in its cold embrace
the minute that he had fallen upon it.
Still clinging to the tree, the mighty reptile held
the three as though they had been without weight,
the while it sought to crush the life from them.
Tarzan had drawn his knife and this he now plunged rapidly
into the body of the enemy; but the encircling folds
promised to sap his life before he had inflicted a death
wound upon the snake. Yet on he fought, nor once did he
seek to escape the horrid death that confronted him--his
sole aim was to slay Histah and thus free Teeka and her balu.
The great, wide-gaping jaws of the snake turned and hovered
above him. The elastic maw, which could accommodate a rabbit
or a horned buck with equal facility, yawned for him;
but Histah, in turning his attention upon the ape-man, brought
his head within reach of Tarzan's blade. Instantly a brown
hand leaped forth and seized the mottled neck, and another
drove the heavy hunting knife to the hilt into the little brain.
Convulsively Histah shuddered and relaxed, tensed and
relaxed again, whipping and striking with his great body;
but no longer sentient or sensible. Histah was dead,
but in his death throes he might easily dispatch a dozen
apes or men.
Quickly Tarzan seized Teeka and dragged her from the
loosened embrace, dropping her to the ground beneath,
then he extricated the balu and tossed it to its mother.
Still Histah whipped about, clinging to the ape-man;
but after a dozen efforts Tarzan succeeded in wriggling
free and leaping to the ground out of range of the mighty
battering of the dying snake.
A circle of apes surrounded the scene of the battle;
but the moment that Tarzan broke safely from the enemy they
turned silently away to resume their interrupted feeding,
and Teeka turned with them, apparently forgetful of all
but her balu and the fact that when the interruption had
occurred she just had discovered an ingeniously hidden
nest containing three perfectly good eggs.
Tarzan, equally indifferent to a battle that was over,
merely cast a parting glance at the still writhing
body of Histah and wandered off toward the little
pool which served to water the tribe at this point.
Strangely, he did not give the victory cry over the
vanquished Histah. Why, he could not have told you,
other than that to him Histah was not an animal.
He differed in some peculiar way from the other denizens
of the jungle. Tarzan only knew that he hated him.
At the pool Tarzan drank his fill and lay stretched
upon the soft grass beneath the shade of a tree.
His mind reverted to the battle with Histah, the snake.
It seemed strange to him that Teeka should have placed
herself within the folds of the horrid monster.
Why had she done it? Why, indeed, had he? Teeka did
not belong to him, nor did Teeka's balu. They were both
Taug's. Why then had he done this thing? Histah was not
food for him when he was dead. There seemed to Tarzan,
now that he gave the matter thought, no reason in the world
why he should have done the thing he did, and presently it
occurred to him that he had acted almost involuntarily,
just as he had acted when he had released the old Gomangani
the previous evening.
What made him do such things? Somebody more powerful than he must
force him to act at times. "All-powerful," thought Tarzan.
"The little bugs say that God is all-powerful. It must
be that God made me do these things, for I never did them
by myself. It was God who made Teeka rush upon Histah.
Teeka would never go near Histah of her own volition.
It was God who held my knife from the throat of the
old Gomangani. God accomplishes strange things for he is
'all-powerful.' I cannot see Him; but I know that it must
be God who does these things. No Mangani, no Gomangani,
no Tarmangani could do them."
And the flowers--who made them grow? Ah, now it
was all explained--the flowers, the trees, the moon,
the sun, himself, every living creature in the jungle--they
were all made by God out of nothing.
And what was God? What did God look like? Of that he had
no conception; but he was sure that everything that was good
came from God. His good act in refraining from slaying
the poor, defenseless old Gomangani; Teeka's love that had
hurled her into the embrace of death; his own loyalty to
Teeka which had jeopardized his life that she might live.
The flowers and the trees were good and beautiful.
God had made them. He made the other creatures,
too, that each might have food upon which to live.
He had made Sheeta, the panther, with his beautiful coat;
and Numa, the lion, with his noble head and his shaggy mane.
He had made Bara, the deer, lovely and graceful.
Yes, Tarzan had found God, and he spent the whole day
in attributing to Him all of the good and beautiful things
of nature; but there was one thing which troubled him.
He could not quite reconcile it to his conception of his
Who made Histah, the snake?
Tarzan and the Black Boy
TARZAN OF THE Apes sat at the foot of a great tree braiding
a new grass rope. Beside him lay the frayed remnants of the
old one, torn and severed by the fangs and talons of Sheeta,
the panther. Only half the original rope was there,
the balance having been carried off by the angry cat as he
bounded away through the jungle with the noose still about
his savage neck and the loose end dragging among the underbrush.
Tarzan smiled as he recalled Sheeta's great rage, his frantic
efforts to free himself from the entangling strands,
his uncanny screams that were part hate, part anger,
part terror. He smiled in retrospection at the discomfiture
of his enemy, and in anticipation of another day as he
added an extra strand to his new rope.
This would be the strongest, the heaviest rope that Tarzan
of the Apes ever had fashioned. Visions of Numa, the lion,
straining futilely in its embrace thrilled the ape-man. He
was quite content, for his hands and his brain were busy.
Content, too, were his fellows of the tribe of Kerchak,
searching for food in the clearing and the surrounding
trees about him. No perplexing thoughts of the future
burdened their minds, and only occasionally, dimly arose
recollections of the near past. They were stimulated
to a species of brutal content by the delectable business
of filling their bellies. Afterward they would sleep--it
was their life, and they enjoyed it as we enjoy ours,
you and I--as Tarzan enjoyed his. Possibly they enjoyed
theirs more than we enjoy ours, for who shall say that the
beasts of the jungle do not better fulfill the purposes
for which they are created than does man with his many
excursions into strange fields and his contraventions
of the laws of nature? And what gives greater content
and greater happiness than the fulfilling of a destiny?
As Tarzan worked, Gazan, Teeka's little balu, played about
him while Teeka sought food upon the opposite side of
the clearing. No more did Teeka, the mother, or Taug,
the sullen sire, harbor suspicions of Tarzan's intentions
toward their first-born. Had he not courted death to save
their Gazan from the fangs and talons of Sheeta? Did he
not fondle and cuddle the little one with even as great
a show of affection as Teeka herself displayed? Their
fears were allayed and Tarzan now found himself often
in the role of nursemaid to a tiny anthropoid-- an
avocation which he found by no means irksome, since Gazan
was a never-failing fount of surprises and entertainment.
Just now the apeling was developing those arboreal
tendencies which were to stand him in such good stead
during the years of his youth, when rapid flight into
the upper terraces was of far more importance and value
than his undeveloped muscles and untried fighting fangs.
Backing off fifteen or twenty feet from the bole of the tree
beneath the branches of which Tarzan worked upon his rope,
Gazan scampered quickly forward, scrambling nimbly upward
to the lower limbs. Here he would squat for a moment or two,
quite proud of his achievement, then clamber to the ground
again and repeat. Sometimes, quite often in fact, for he
was an ape, his attention was distracted by other things,
a beetle, a caterpillar, a tiny field mouse, and off he
would go in pursuit; the caterpillars he always caught,
and sometimes the beetles; but the field mice, never.
Now he discovered the tail of the rope upon which Tarzan
was working. Grasping it in one small hand he bounced away,
for all the world like an animated rubber ball, snatching it
from the ape-man's hand and running off across the clearing.
Tarzan leaped to his feet and was in pursuit in an instant,
no trace of anger on his face or in his voice as he called
to the roguish little balu to drop his rope.
Straight toward his mother raced Gazan, and after him
came Tarzan. Teeka looked up from her feeding, and in the
first instant that she realized that Gazan was fleeing and
that another was in pursuit, she bared her fangs and bristled;
but when she saw that the pursuer was Tarzan she turned back
to the business that had been occupying her attention.
At her very feet the ape-man overhauled the balu and,
though the youngster squealed and fought when Tarzan
seized him, Teeka only glanced casually in their direction.
No longer did she fear harm to her first-born at the hands
of the ape-man. Had he not saved Gazan on two occasions?
Rescuing his rope, Tarzan returned to his tree and resumed
his labor; but thereafter it was necessary to watch
carefully the playful balu, who was now possessed to steal
it whenever he thought his great, smooth-skinned cousin
was momentarily off his guard.
But even under this handicap Tarzan finally completed
the rope, a long, pliant weapon, stronger than any he
ever had made before. The discarded piece of his former
one he gave to Gazan for a plaything, for Tarzan had
it in his mind to instruct Teeka's balu after ideas
of his own when the youngster should be old and strong
enough to profit by his precepts. At present the little
ape's innate aptitude for mimicry would be sufficient
to familiarize him with Tarzan's ways and weapons,
and so the ape-man swung off into the jungle, his new rope
coiled over one shoulder, while little Gazan hopped about
the clearing dragging the old one after him in childish glee.
As Tarzan traveled, dividing his quest for food with one
for a sufficiently noble quarry whereupon to test his
new weapon, his mind often was upon Gazan. The ape-man
had realized a deep affection for Teeka's balu almost from
the first, partly because the child belonged to Teeka,
his first love, and partly for the little ape's own sake,
and Tarzan's human longing for some sentient creature
upon which to expend those natural affections of the soul
which are inherent to all normal members of the GENUS
HOMO. Tarzan envied Teeka. It was true that Gazan
evidenced a considerable reciprocation of Tarzan's fondness
for him, even preferring him to his own surly sire;
but to Teeka the little one turned when in pain or terror,
when tired or hungry. Then it was that Tarzan felt
quite alone in the world and longed desperately for one
who should turn first to him for succor and protection.
Taug had Teeka; Teeka had Gazan; and nearly every other
bull and cow of the tribe of Kerchak had one or more
to love and by whom to be loved. Of course Tarzan could
scarcely formulate the thought in precisely this way--he
only knew that he craved something which was denied him;
something which seemed to be represented by those
relations which existed between Teeka and her balu,
and so he envied Teeka and longed for a balu of his own.
He saw Sheeta and his mate with their little family of three;
and deeper inland toward the rocky hills, where one might lie
up during the heat of the day, in the dense shade of a tangled
thicket close under the cool face of an overhanging rock,
Tarzan had found the lair of Numa, the lion, and of Sabor,
the lioness. Here he had watched them with their little
balus--playful creatures, spotted leopard-like. And he
had seen the young fawn with Bara, the deer, and with Buto,
the rhinoceros, its ungainly little one. Each of the
creatures of the jungle had its own--except Tarzan.
It made the ape-man sad to think upon this thing,
sad and lonely; but presently the scent of game cleared
his young mind of all other considerations, as catlike he
crawled far out upon a bending limb above the game trail
which led down to the ancient watering place of the wild
things of this wild world.
How many thousands of times had this great, old limb bent
to the savage form of some blood-thirsty hunter in the
long years that it had spread its leafy branches above
the deep-worn jungle path! Tarzan, the ape-man, Sheeta,
the panther, and Histah, the snake, it knew well.
They had worn smooth the bark upon its upper surface.
Today it was Horta, the boar, which came down toward the
watcher in the old tree--Horta, the boar, whose formidable
tusks and diabolical temper preserved him from all but
the most ferocious or most famished of the largest carnivora.
But to Tarzan, meat was meat; naught that was edible or tasty
might pass a hungry Tarzan unchallenged and unattacked.
In hunger, as in battle, the ape-man out-savaged the
dreariest denizens of the jungle. He knew neither fear
nor mercy, except upon rare occasions when some strange,
inexplicable force stayed his hand--a force inexplicable
to him, perhaps, because of his ignorance of his own origin
and of all the forces of humanitarianism and civilization
that were his rightful heritage because of that origin.
So today, instead of staying his hand until a less
formidable feast found its way toward him, Tarzan dropped
his new noose about the neck of Horta, the boar.
It was an excellent test for the untried strands.
The angered boar bolted this way and that; but each time
the new rope held him where Tarzan had made it fast
about the stem of the tree above the branch from which he
had cast it.
As Horta grunted and charged, slashing the sturdy jungle
patriarch with his mighty tusks until the bark flew in
every direction, Tarzan dropped to the ground behind him.
In the ape-man's hand was the long, keen blade that had been
his constant companion since that distant day upon which
chance had directed its point into the body of Bolgani,
the gorilla, and saved the torn and bleeding man-child
from what else had been certain death.
Tarzan walked in toward Horta, who swung now to face
his enemy. Mighty and muscled as was the young giant,
it yet would have appeared but the maddest folly for him
to face so formidable a creature as Horta, the boar,
armed only with a slender hunting knife. So it would
have seemed to one who knew Horta even slightly and Tarzan
not at all.
For a moment Horta stood motionless facing the ape-man.
His wicked, deep-set eyes flashed angrily. He shook
his lowered head.
"Mud-eater!" jeered the ape-man. "Wallower in filth.
Even your meat stinks, but it is juicy and makes Tarzan strong.
Today I shall eat your heart, O Lord of the Great Tusks,
that it shall keep savage that which pounds against my
Horta, understanding nothing of what Tarzan said, was none
the less enraged because of that. He saw only a naked
man-thing, hairless and futile, pitting his puny fangs
and soft muscles against his own indomitable savagery,
and he charged.
Tarzan of the Apes waited until the upcut of a wicked
tusk would have laid open his thigh, then he moved--just
the least bit to one side; but so quickly that lightning
was a sluggard by comparison, and as he moved, he stooped
low and with all the great power of his right arm drove
the long blade of his father's hunting knife straight
into the heart of Horta, the boar. A quick leap carried
him from the zone of the creature's death throes,
and a moment later the hot and dripping heart of Horta
was in his grasp.
His hunger satisfied, Tarzan did not seek a lying-up place
for sleep, as was sometimes his way, but continued on
through the jungle more in search of adventure than of food,
for today he was restless. And so it came that he turned
his footsteps toward the village of Mbonga, the black chief,
whose people Tarzan had baited remorselessly since that
day upon which Kulonga, the chief's son, had slain Kala.
A river winds close beside the village of the black men.
Tarzan reached its side a little below the clearing where
squat the thatched huts of the Negroes. The river life
was ever fascinating to the ape-man. He found pleasure
in watching the ungainly antics of Duro, the hippopotamus,
and keen sport in tormenting the sluggish crocodile,
Gimla, as he basked in the sun. Then, too, there were
the shes and the balus of the black men of the Gomangani
to frighten as they squatted by the river, the shes with
their meager washing, the balus with their primitive toys.
This day he came upon a woman and her child farther
down stream than usual. The former was searching for a
species of shellfish which was to be found in the mud
close to the river bank. She was a young black woman
of about thirty. Her teeth were filed to sharp points,
for her people ate the flesh of man. Her under lip
was slit that it might support a rude pendant of copper
which she had worn for so many years that the lip had been
dragged downward to prodigious lengths, exposing the teeth
and gums of her lower jaw. Her nose, too, was slit,
and through the slit was a wooden skewer. Metal ornaments
dangled from her ears, and upon her forehead and cheeks;
upon her chin and the bridge of her nose were tattooings
in colors that were mellowed now by age. She was
naked except for a girdle of grasses about her waist.
Altogether she was very beautiful in her own estimation
and even in the estimation of the men of Mbonga's tribe,
though she was of another people--a trophy of war seized
in her maidenhood by one of Mbonga's fighting men.
Her child was a boy of ten, lithe, straight and,
for a black, handsome. Tarzan looked upon the two from
the concealing foliage of a near-by bush. He was about
to leap forth before them with a terrifying scream,
that he might enjoy the spectacle of their terror and their
incontinent flight; but of a sudden a new whim seized him.
Here was a balu fashioned as he himself was fashioned.
Of course this one's skin was black; but what of it?
Tarzan had never seen a white man. In so far as he knew,
he was the sole representative of that strange form
of life upon the earth. The black boy should make an
excellent balu for Tarzan, since he had none of his own.
He would tend him carefully, feed him well, protect him
as only Tarzan of the Apes could protect his own,
and teach him out of his half human, half bestial lore
the secrets of the jungle from its rotting surface
vegetation to the high tossed pinnacles of the forest's
* * *
Tarzan uncoiled his rope, and shook out the noose.
The two before him, all ignorant of the near presence of
that terrifying form, continued preoccupied in the search
for shellfish, poking about in the mud with short sticks.
Tarzan stepped from the jungle behind them; his noose
lay open upon the ground beside him. There was a quick
movement of the right arm and the noose rose gracefully
into the air, hovered an instant above the head of the
unsuspecting youth, then settled. As it encompassed
his body below the shoulders, Tarzan gave a quick jerk
that tightened it about the boy's arms, pinioning them
to his sides. A scream of terror broke from the lad's lips,
and as his mother turned, affrighted at his cry,
she saw him being dragged quickly toward a great white
giant who stood just beneath the shade of a near-by tree,
scarcely a dozen long paces from her.
With a savage cry of terror and rage, the woman leaped fearlessly
toward the ape-man. In her mien Tarzan saw determination
and courage which would shrink not even from death itself.
She was very hideous and frightful even when her face
was in repose; but convulsed by passion, her expression
became terrifyingly fiendish. Even the ape-man drew back,
but more in revulsion than fear--fear he knew not.
Biting and kicking was the black she's balu as Tarzan tucked
him beneath his arm and vanished into the branches hanging
low above him, just as the infuriated mother dashed forward
to seize and do battle with him. And as he melted away into
the depth of the jungle with his still struggling prize,
he meditated upon the possibilities which might lie in the
prowess of the Gomangani were the hes as formidable as the shes.
Once at a safe distance from the despoiled mother and out
of earshot of her screams and menaces, Tarzan paused
to inspect his prize, now so thoroughly terrorized
that he had ceased his struggles and his outcries.
The frightened child rolled his eyes fearfully toward
his captor, until the whites showed gleaming all about
"I am Tarzan," said the ape-man, in the vernacular of
the anthropoids. "I will not harm you. You are to be
Tarzan's balu. Tarzan will protect you. He will feed you.
The best in the jungle shall be for Tarzan's balu,
for Tarzan is a mighty hunter. None need you fear,
not even Numa, the lion, for Tarzan is a mighty fighter.
None so great as Tarzan, son of Kala. Do not fear."
But the child only whimpered and trembled, for he did
not understand the tongue of the great apes, and the voice
of Tarzan sounded to him like the barking and growling
of a beast. Then, too, he had heard stories of this bad,
white forest god. It was he who had slain Kulonga
and others of the warriors of Mbonga, the chief.
It was he who entered the village stealthily, by magic,
in the darkness of the night, to steal arrows and poison,
and frighten the women and the children and even the
great warriors. Doubtless this wicked god fed upon
little boys. Had his mother not said as much when he
was naughty and she threatened to give him to the white
god of the jungle if he were not good? Little black Tibo
shook as with ague.
"Are you cold, Go-bu-balu?" asked Tarzan, using the simian
equivalent of black he-baby in lieu of a better name.
"The sun is hot; why do you shiver?"
Tibo could not understand; but he cried for his mamma and
begged the great, white god to let him go, promising always
to be a good boy thereafter if his plea were granted.
Tarzan shook his head. Not a word could he understand.
This would never do! He must teach Go-bu-balu a language
which sounded like talk. It was quite certain to Tarzan
that Go-bu-balu's speech was not talk at all. It sounded
quite as senseless as the chattering of the silly birds.
It would be best, thought the ape-man, quickly to get him
among the tribe of Kerchak where he would hear the Mangani
talking among themselves. Thus he would soon learn an
intelligible form of speech.
Tarzan rose to his feet upon the swaying branch where he
had halted far above the ground, and motioned to the child
to follow him; but Tibo only clung tightly to the bole
of the tree and wept. Being a boy, and a native African,
he had, of course, climbed into trees many times before this;
but the idea of racing off through the forest, leaping from
one branch to another, as his captor, to his horror,
had done when he had carried Tibo away from his mother,
filled his childish heart with terror.
Tarzan sighed. His newly acquired balu had much indeed
to learn. It was pitiful that a balu of his size and strength
should be so backward. He tried to coax Tibo to follow him;
but the child dared not, so Tarzan picked him up and carried
him upon his back. Tibo no longer scratched or bit.
Escape seemed impossible. Even now, were he set upon
the ground, the chance was remote, he knew, that he could
find his way back to the village of Mbonga, the chief.
Even if he could, there were the lions and the leopards
and the hyenas, any one of which, as Tibo was well aware,
was particularly fond of the meat of little black boys.
So far the terrible white god of the jungle had offered
him no harm. He could not expect even this much
consideration from the frightful, green-eyed man-eaters.
It would be the lesser of two evils, then, to let the
white god carry him away without scratching and biting,
as he had done at first.
As Tarzan swung rapidly through the trees, little Tibo
closed his eyes in terror rather than look longer down
into the frightful abysses beneath. Never before in all
his life had Tibo been so frightened, yet as the white
giant sped on with him through the forest there stole
over the child an inexplicable sensation of security as he
saw how true were the leaps of the ape-man, how unerring
his grasp upon the swaying limbs which gave him hand-hold,
and then, too, there was safety in the middle terraces
of the forest, far above the reach of the dreaded lions.
And so Tarzan came to the clearing where the tribe fed,
dropping among them with his new balu clinging tightly
to his shoulders. He was fairly in the midst of them
before Tibo spied a single one of the great hairy forms,
or before the apes realized that Tarzan was not alone.
When they saw the little Gomangani perched upon his back
some of them came forward in curiosity with upcurled lips
and snarling mien.
An hour before little Tibo would have said that he
knew the uttermost depths of fear; but now, as he saw
these fearsome beasts surrounding him, he realized that
all that had gone before was as nothing by comparison.
Why did the great white giant stand there so unconcernedly?
Why did he not flee before these horrid, hairy, tree men
fell upon them both and tore them to pieces? And then
there came to Tibo a numbing recollection. It was none
other than the story he had heard passed from mouth
to mouth, fearfully, by the people of Mbonga, the chief,
that this great white demon of the jungle was naught other
than a hairless ape, for had not he been seen in company with
Tibo could only stare in wide-eyed horror at the
approaching apes. He saw their beetling brows,
their great fangs, their wicked eyes. He noted their
mighty muscles rolling beneath their shaggy hides.
Their every attitude and expression was a menace.
Tarzan saw this, too. He drew Tibo around in front of him.
"This is Tarzan's Go-bu-balu," he said. "Do not harm him,
or Tarzan will kill you," and he bared his own fangs
in the teeth of the nearest ape.
"It is a Gomangani," replied the ape. "Let me kill it.
It is a Gomangani. The Gomangani are our enemies.
Let me kill it."
"Go away," snarled Tarzan. "I tell you, Gunto, it is
Tarzan's balu. Go away or Tarzan will kill you,"
and the ape-man took a step toward the advancing ape.
The latter sidled off, quite stiff and haughty,
after the manner of a dog which meets another and is
too proud to fight and too fearful to turn his back and run.
Next came Teeka, prompted by curiosity. At her side
skipped little Gazan. They were filled with wonder
like the others; but Teeka did not bare her fangs.
Tarzan saw this and motioned that she approach.
"Tarzan has a balu now," he said. "He and Teeka's balu
can play together."
"It is a Gomangani, " replied Teeka. "It will kill my balu.
Take it away, Tarzan."
Tarzan laughed. "It could not harm Pamba, the rat,"
he said. "It is but a little balu and very frightened.
Let Gazan play with it."
Teeka still was fearful, for with all their mighty
ferocity the great anthropoids are timid; but at last,
assured by her great confidence in Tarzan, she pushed
Gazan forward toward the little black boy. The small ape,
guided by instinct, drew back toward its mother, baring its
small fangs and screaming in mingled fear and rage.
Tibo, too, showed no signs of desiring a closer acquaintance
with Gazan, so Tarzan gave up his efforts for the time.
During the week which followed, Tarzan found his time
much occupied. His balu was a greater responsibility
than he had counted upon. Not for a moment did he dare
leave it, since of all the tribe, Teeka alone could have
been depended upon to refrain from slaying the hapless
black had it not been for Tarzan's constant watchfulness.
When the ape-man hunted, he must carry Go-bu-balu about
with him. It was irksome, and then the little black
seemed so stupid and fearful to Tarzan. It was quite
helpless against even the lesser of the jungle creatures.
Tarzan wondered how it had survived at all. He tried
to teach it, and found a ray of hope in the fact that
Go-bu-balu had mastered a few words of the language
of the anthropoids, and that he could now cling to a
high-tossed branch without screaming in fear; but there
was something about the child which worried Tarzan.
He often had watched the blacks within their village.
He had seen the children playing, and always there had
been much laughter; but little Go-bu-balu never laughed.
It was true that Tarzan himself never laughed. Upon occasion
he smiled, grimly, but to laughter he was a stranger.
The black, however, should have laughed, reasoned the ape-man.
It was the way of the Gomangani.
Also, he saw that the little fellow often refused food
and was growing thinner day by day. At times he surprised
the boy sobbing softly to himself. Tarzan tried to
comfort him, even as fierce Kala had comforted Tarzan
when the ape-man was a balu, but all to no avail.
Go-bu-balu merely no longer feared Tarzan--that was all.
He feared every other living thing within the jungle.
He feared the jungle days with their long excursions
through the dizzy tree tops. He feared the jungle nights
with their swaying, perilous couches far above the ground,
and the grunting and coughing of the great carnivora prowling
Tarzan did not know what to do. His heritage of English
blood rendered it a difficult thing even to consider
a surrender of his project, though he was forced to admit
to himself that his balu was not all that he had hoped.
Though he was faithful to his self-imposed task, and even
found that he had grown to like Go-bu-balu, he could
not deceive himself into believing that he felt for it
that fierce heat of passionate affection which Teeka
revealed for Gazan, and which the black mother had shown
The little black boy from cringing terror at the sight of
Tarzan passed by degrees into trustfulness and admiration.
Only kindness had he ever received at the hands of the
great white devil-god, yet he had seen with what ferocity
his kindly captor could deal with others. He had seen him
leap upon a certain he-ape which persisted in attempting
to seize and slay Go-bu-balu. He had seen the strong,
white teeth of the ape-man fastened in the neck of
his adversary, and the mighty muscles tensed in battle.
He had heard the savage, bestial snarls and roars
of combat, and he had realized with a shudder that he
could not differentiate between those of his guardian
and those of the hairy ape.
He had seen Tarzan bring down a buck, just as Numa, the lion,
might have done, leaping upon its back and fastening his fangs
in the creature's neck. Tibo had shuddered at the sight,
but he had thrilled, too, and for the first time there
entered his dull, Negroid mind a vague desire to emulate
his savage foster parent. But Tibo, the little black boy,
lacked the divine spark which had permitted Tarzan,
the white boy, to benefit by his training in the ways
of the fierce jungle. In imagination he was wanting,
and imagination is but another name for super-intelligence.
Imagination it is which builds bridges, and cities,
and empires. The beasts know it not, the blacks only
a little, while to one in a hundred thousand of earth's
dominant race it is given as a gift from heaven that man
may not perish from the earth.
While Tarzan pondered his problem concerning the future
of his balu, Fate was arranging to take the matter out
of his hands. Momaya, Tibo's mother, grief-stricken at
the loss of her boy, had consulted the tribal witch-doctor,
but to no avail. The medicine he made was not good medicine,
for though Momaya paid him two goats for it, it did
not bring back Tibo, nor even indicate where she might
search for him with reasonable assurance of finding him.
Momaya, being of a short temper and of another people,
had little respect for the witch-doctor of her
husband's tribe, and so, when he suggested that a further
payment of two more fat goats would doubtless enable
him to make stronger medicine, she promptly loosed her
shrewish tongue upon him, and with such good effect that
he was glad to take himself off with his zebra's tail and his pot
When he had gone and Momaya had succeeded in partially
subduing her anger, she gave herself over to thought,
as she so often had done since the abduction of her Tibo,
in the hope that she finally might discover some feasible
means of locating him, or at least assuring herself as to
whether he were alive or dead.
It was known to the blacks that Tarzan did not eat the flesh
of man, for he had slain more than one of their number,
yet never tasted the flesh of any. Too, the bodies
always had been found, sometimes dropping as though
from the clouds to alight in the center of the village.
As Tibo's body had not been found, Momaya argued that he
still lived, but where?
Then it was that there came to her mind a recollection
of Bukawai, the unclean, who dwelt in a cave in the hillside
to the north, and who it was well known entertained
devils in his evil lair. Few, if any, had the temerity
to visit old Bukawai, firstly because of fear of his black
magic and the two hyenas who dwelt with him and were
commonly known to be devils masquerading, and secondly
because of the loathsome disease which had caused Bukawai
to be an outcast--a disease which was slowly eating away his
Now it was that Momaya reasoned shrewdly that if any might
know the whereabouts of her Tibo, it would be Bukawai,
who was in friendly intercourse with gods and demons,
since a demon or a god it was who had stolen her baby;
but even her great mother love was sorely taxed to find
the courage to send her forth into the black jungle toward
the distant hills and the uncanny abode of Bukawai,
the unclean, and his devils.
Mother love, however, is one of the human passions
which closely approximates to the dignity of an
irresistible force. It drives the frail flesh of weak
women to deeds of heroic measure. Momaya was neither frail
nor weak, physically, but she was a woman, an ignorant,
superstitious, African savage. She believed in devils,
in black magic, and in witchcraft. To Momaya, the jungle
was inhabited by far more terrifying things than lions
and leopards--horrifying, nameless things which possessed
the power of wreaking frightful harm under various innocent
From one of the warriors of the village, whom she knew
to have once stumbled upon the lair of Bukawai, the mother
of Tibo learned how she might find it--near a spring of
water which rose in a small rocky canon between two hills,
the easternmost of which was easily recognizable because
of a huge granite boulder which rested upon its summit.
The westerly hill was lower than its companion, and was
quite bare of vegetation except for a single mimosa tree
which grew just a little below its summit.
These two hills, the man assured her, could be seen
for some distance before she reached them, and together
formed an excellent guide to her destination.
He warned her, however, to abandon so foolish and
dangerous an adventure, emphasizing what she already
quite well knew, that if she escaped harm at the hands
of Bukawai and his demons, the chances were that she
would not be so fortunate with the great carnivora
of the jungle through which she must pass going and returning.
The warrior even went to Momaya's husband, who, in turn,
having little authority over the vixenish lady of his choice,
went to Mbonga, the chief. The latter summoned Momaya,
threatening her with the direst punishment should she
venture forth upon so unholy an excursion. The old
chief's interest in the matter was due solely to that
age-old alliance which exists between church and state.
The local witch-doctor, knowing his own medicine
better than any other knew it, was jealous of all
other pretenders to accomplishments in the black art.
He long had heard of the power of Bukawai, and feared lest,
should he succeed in recovering Momaya's lost child,
much of the tribal patronage and consequent fees would be
diverted to the unclean one. As Mbonga received, as chief,
a certain proportion of the witch-doctor's fees and could
expect nothing from Bukawai, his heart and soul were,
quite naturally, wrapped up in the orthodox church.
But if Momaya could view with intrepid heart an excursion
into the jungle and a visit to the fear-haunted abode
of Bukawai, she was not likely to be deterred by threats
of future punishment at the hands of old Mbonga,
whom she secretly despised. Yet she appeared to accede
to his injunctions, returning to her hut in silence.
She would have preferred starting upon her quest
by day-light, but this was now out of the question,
since she must carry food and a weapon of some sort--things
which she never could pass out of the village with by
day without being subjected to curious questioning
that surely would come immediately to the ears of Mbonga.
So Momaya bided her time until night, and just before the
gates of the village were closed, she slipped through into
the darkness and the jungle. She was much frightened,
but she set her face resolutely toward the north, and though
she paused often to listen, breathlessly, for the huge
cats which, here, were her greatest terror, she nevertheless
continued her way staunchly for several hours, until a low
moan a little to her right and behind her brought her to a sudden
With palpitating heart the woman stood, scarce daring
to breathe, and then, very faintly but unmistakable
to her keen ears, came the stealthy crunching of twigs
and grasses beneath padded feet.
All about Momaya grew the giant trees of the tropical jungle,
festooned with hanging vines and mosses. She seized
upon the nearest and started to clamber, apelike, to the
branches above. As she did so, there was a sudden
rush of a great body behind her, a menacing roar that
caused the earth to tremble, and something crashed
into the very creepers to which she was clinging--but below her.
Momaya drew herself to safety among the leafy branches and
thanked the foresight which had prompted her to bring along
the dried human ear which hung from a cord about her neck.
She always had known that that ear was good medicine.
It had been given her, when a girl, by the witch-doctor
of her town tribe, and was nothing like the poor,
weak medicine of Mbonga's witch-doctor.
All night Momaya clung to her perch, for although the
lion sought other prey after a short time, she dared
not descend into the darkness again, for fear she might
encounter him or another of his kind; but at daylight
she clambered down and resumed her way.
Tarzan of the Apes, finding that his balu never ceased to give
evidence of terror in the presence of the apes of the tribe,
and also that most of the adult apes were a constant menace
to Go-bu-balu's life, so that Tarzan dared not leave him
alone with them, took to hunting with the little black boy
farther and farther from the stamping grounds of the anthropoids.
Little by little his absences from the tribe grew in length
as he wandered farther away from them, until finally he
found himself a greater distance to the north than he ever
before had hunted, and with water and ample game and fruit,
he felt not at all inclined to return to the tribe.
Little Go-bu-balu gave evidences of a greater interest
in life, an interest which varied in direct proportion
to the distance he was from the apes of Kerchak.
He now trotted along behind Tarzan when the ape-man went
upon the ground, and in the trees he even did his best
to follow his mighty foster parent. The boy was still
sad and lonely. His thin, little body had grown steadily
thinner since he had come among the apes, for while,
as a young cannibal, he was not overnice in the matter
of diet, he found it not always to his taste to stomach
the weird things which tickled the palates of epicures
among the apes.
His large eyes were very large indeed now, his cheeks sunken,
and every rib of his emaciated body plainly discernible
to whomsoever should care to count them. Constant terror,
perhaps, had had as much to do with his physical condition as
had improper food. Tarzan noticed the change and was worried.
He had hoped to see his balu wax sturdy and strong.
His disappointment was great. In only one respect did
Go-bu-balu seem to progress--he readily was mastering
the language of the apes. Even now he and Tarzan could
converse in a fairly satisfactory manner by supplementing
the meager ape speech with signs; but for the most part,
Go-bu-balu was silent other than to answer questions put
to him. His great sorrow was yet too new and too poignant
to be laid aside even momentarily. Always he pined for
Momaya--shrewish, hideous, repulsive, perhaps, she would
have been to you or me, but to Tibo she was mamma,
the personification of that one great love which knows
no selfishness and which does not consume itself in its own
As the two hunted, or rather as Tarzan hunted and Go-bu-balu
tagged along in his wake, the ape-man noticed many things
and thought much. Once they came upon Sabor moaning in
the tall grasses. About her romped and played two little
balls of fur, but her eyes were for one which lay between
her great forepaws and did not romp, one who never would romp
Tarzan read aright the anguish and the suffering of the
huge mother cat. He had been minded to bait her. It was
to do this that he had sneaked silently through the trees
until he had come almost above her, but something held the
ape-man as he saw the lioness grieving over her dead cub.
With the acquisition of Go-bu-balu, Tarzan had come
to realize the responsibilities and sorrows of parentage,
without its joys. His heart went out to Sabor as it might
not have done a few weeks before. As he watched her,
there rose quite unbidden before him a vision of Momaya,
the skewer through the septum of her nose, her pendulous
under lip sagging beneath the weight which dragged it down.
Tarzan saw not her unloveliness; he saw only the same anguish
that was Sabor's, and he winced. That strange functioning
of the mind which sometimes is called association of ideas
snapped Teeka and Gazan before the ape-man's mental vision.
What if one should come and take Gazan from Teeka.
Tarzan uttered a low and ominous growl as though Gazan were
his own. Go-bu-balu glanced here and there apprehensively,
thinking that Tarzan had espied an enemy. Sabor sprang
suddenly to her feet, her yellow-green eyes blazing,
her tail lashing as she cocked her ears, and raising
her muzzle, sniffed the air for possible danger.
The two little cubs, which had been playing, scampered
quickly to her, and standing beneath her, peered out
from between her forelegs, their big ears upstanding,
their little heads cocked first upon one side and then
upon the other.
With a shake of his black shock, Tarzan turned away
and resumed his hunting in another direction; but all day
there rose one after another, above the threshold of his
objective mind, memory portraits of Sabor, of Momaya,
and of Teeka--a lioness, a cannibal, and a she-ape, yet
to the ape-man they were identical through motherhood.
It was noon of the third day when Momaya came within
sight of the cave of Bukawai, the unclean. The old
witch-doctor had rigged a framework of interlaced boughs
to close the mouth of the cave from predatory beasts.
This was now set to one side, and the black cavern beyond
yawned mysterious and repellent. Momaya shivered as from
a cold wind of the rainy season. No sign of life appeared
about the cave, yet Momaya experienced that uncanny
sensation as of unseen eyes regarding her malevolently.
Again she shuddered. She tried to force her unwilling
feet onward toward the cave, when from its depths issued
an uncanny sound that was neither brute nor human, a weird
sound that was akin to mirthless laughter.
With a stifled scream, Momaya turned and fled into the jungle.
For a hundred yards she ran before she could control
her terror, and then she paused, listening. Was all
her labor, were all the terrors and dangers through
which she had passed to go for naught? She tried to steel
herself to return to the cave, but again fright overcame her.
Saddened, disheartened, she turned slowly upon the back trail
toward the village of Mbonga. Her young shoulders now were
drooped like those of an old woman who bears a great burden
of many years with their accumulated pains and sorrows,
and she walked with tired feet and a halting step.
The spring of youth was gone from Momaya.
For another hundred yards she dragged her weary way,
her brain half paralyzed from dumb terror and suffering,
and then there came to her the memory of a little babe
that suckled at her breast, and of a slim boy who romped,
laughing, about her, and they were both Tibo--her Tibo!
Her shoulders straightened. She shook her savage head,
and she turned about and walked boldly back to the
mouth of the cave of Bukawai, the unclean--of Bukawai,
Again, from the interior of the cave came the hideous
laughter that was not laughter. This time Momaya
recognized it for what it was, the strange cry of a hyena.
No more did she shudder, but she held her spear ready
and called aloud to Bukawai to come out.
Instead of Bukawai came the repulsive head of a hyena.
Momaya poked at it with her spear, and the ugly,
sullen brute drew back with an angry growl. Again Momaya
called Bukawai by name, and this time there came an answer
in mumbling tones that were scarce more human than those
of the beast.
"Who comes to Bukawai?" queried the voice.
"It is Momaya," replied the woman; "Momaya from the village
of Mbonga, the chief.
"What do you want?"
"I want good medicine, better medicine than Mbonga's witch-doctor
can make," replied Momaya. "The great, white, jungle god
has stolen my Tibo, and I want medicine to bring him back,
or to find where he is hidden that I may go and get him."
"Who is Tibo?" asked Bukawai.
Momaya told him.
"Bukawai's medicine is very strong," said the voice.
"Five goats and a new sleeping mat are scarce enough in
exchange for Bukawai's medicine."
"Two goats are enough," said Momaya, for the spirit
of barter is strong in the breasts of the blacks.
The pleasure of haggling over the price was a sufficiently
potent lure to draw Bukawai to the mouth of the cave.
Momaya was sorry when she saw him that he had not
remained within. There are some things too horrible,
too hideous, too repulsive for description--Bukawai's face
was of these. When Momaya saw him she understood why it
was that he was almost inarticulate.
Beside him were two hyenas, which rumor had said were his
only and constant companions. They made an excellent
trio--the most repulsive of beasts with the most repulsive
"Five goats and a new sleeping mat," mumbled Bukawai.
"Two fat goats and a sleeping mat." Momaya raised her bid;
but Bukawai was obdurate. He stuck for the five goats
and the sleeping mat for a matter of half an hour,
while the hyenas sniffed and growled and laughed hideously.
Momaya was determined to give all that Bukawai asked
if she could do no better, but haggling is second nature
to black barterers, and in the end it partly repaid her,
for a compromise finally was reached which included
three fat goats, a new sleeping mat, and a piece of
"Come back tonight," said Bukawai, "when the moon is two
hours in the sky. Then will I make the strong medicine
which shall bring Tibo back to you. Bring with you
the three fat goats, the new sleeping mat, and the piece
of copper wire the length of a large man's forearm."
"I cannot bring them," said Momaya. "You will have
to come after them. When you have restored Tibo to me,
you shall have them all at the village of Mbonga.
Bukawai shook his head.
"I will make no medicine," he said, "until I have
the goats and the mat and the copper wire."
Momaya pleaded and threatened, but all to no avail.
Finally, she turned away and started off through the jungle
toward the village of Mbonga. How she could get three
goats and a sleeping mat out of the village and through
the jungle to the cave of Bukawai, she did not know,
but that she would do it somehow she was quite positive--she
would do it or die. Tibo must be restored to her.
Tarzan coming lazily through the jungle with little Go-bu-balu,
caught the scent of Bara, the deer. Tarzan hungered for
the flesh of Bara. Naught tickled his palate so greatly;
but to stalk Bara with Go-bu-balu at his heels, was out
of the question, so he hid the child in the crotch of
a tree where the thick foliage screened him from view,
and set off swiftly and silently upon the spoor of Bara.
Tibo alone was more terrified than Tibo even among the apes.
Real and apparent dangers are less disconcerting than
those which we imagine, and only the gods of his people
knew how much Tibo imagined.
He had been but a short time in his hiding place when
he heard something approaching through the jungle.
He crouched closer to the limb upon which he lay and prayed
that Tarzan would return quickly. His wide eyes searched
the jungle in the direction of the moving creature.
What if it was a leopard that had caught his scent! It would
be upon him in a minute. Hot tears flowed from the large
eyes of little Tibo. The curtain of jungle foliage rustled
close at hand. The thing was but a few paces from his tree!
His eyes fairly popped from his black face as he watched
for the appearance of the dread creature which presently would
thrust a snarling countenance from between the vines and
And then the curtain parted and a woman stepped into
full view. With a gasping cry, Tibo tumbled from his
perch and raced toward her. Momaya suddenly started
back and raised her spear, but a second later she cast
it aside and caught the thin body in her strong arms.
Crushing it to her, she cried and laughed all at one and
the same time, and hot tears of joy, mingled with the tears
of Tibo, trickled down the crease between her naked breasts.
Disturbed by the noise so close at hand, there arose
from his sleep in a near-by thicket Numa, the lion.
He looked through the tangled underbrush and saw
the black woman and her young. He licked his chops
and measured the distance between them and himself.
A short charge and a long leap would carry him upon them.
He flicked the end of his tail and sighed.
A vagrant breeze, swirling suddenly in the wrong direction,
carried the scent of Tarzan to the sensitive nostrils
of Bara, the deer. There was a startled tensing of muscles
and cocking of ears, a sudden dash, and Tarzan's meat
was gone. The ape-man angrily shook his head and turned
back toward the spot where he had left Go-bu-balu. He
came softly, as was his way. Before he reached the spot
he heard strange sounds--the sound of a woman laughing
and of a woman weeping, and the two which seemed to come
from one throat were mingled with the convulsive sobbing
of a child. Tarzan hastened, and when Tarzan hastened,
only the birds and the wind went faster.
And as Tarzan approached the sounds, he heard another,
a deep sigh. Momaya did not hear it, nor did Tibo;
but the ears of Tarzan were as the ears of Bara, the deer.
He heard the sigh, and he knew, so he unloosed the heavy
spear which dangled at his back. Even as he sped through
the branches of the trees, with the same ease that you
or I might take out a pocket handkerchief as we strolled
nonchalantly down a lazy country lane, Tarzan of the Apes
took the spear from its thong that it might be ready against
Numa, the lion, did not rush madly to attack.
He reasoned again, and reason told him that already the prey
was his, so he pushed his great bulk through the foliage
and stood eyeing his meat with baleful, glaring eyes.
Momaya saw him and shrieked, drawing Tibo closer to her breast.
To have found her child and to lose him, all in a moment!
She raised her spear, throwing her hand far back of
her shoulder. Numa roared and stepped slowly forward.
Momaya cast her weapon. It grazed the tawny shoulder,
inflicting a flesh wound which aroused all the terrific
bestiality of the carnivore, and the lion charged.
Momaya tried to close her eyes, but could not. She saw
the flashing swiftness of the huge, oncoming death,
and then she saw something else. She saw a mighty,
naked white man drop as from the heavens into the path
of the charging lion. She saw the muscles of a great arm
flash in the light of the equatorial sun as it filtered,
dappling, through the foliage above. She saw a heavy
hunting spear hurtle through the air to meet the lion
Numa brought up upon his haunches, roaring terribly and striking
at the spear which protruded from his breast. His great blows
bent and twisted the weapon. Tarzan, crouching and with
hunting knife in hand, circled warily about the frenzied cat.
Momaya, wide-eyed, stood rooted to the spot, watching,
In sudden fury Numa hurled himself toward the ape-man,
but the wiry creature eluded the blundering charge,
side-stepping quickly only to rush in upon his foe.
Twice the hunting blade flashed in the air. Twice it fell
upon the back of Numa, already weakening from the spear
point so near his heart. The second stroke of the blade
pierced far into the beast's spine, and with a last
convulsive sweep of the fore-paws, in a vain attempt
to reach his tormentor, Numa sprawled upon the ground,
paralyzed and dying.
Bukawai, fearful lest he should lose any recompense,
followed Momaya with the intention of persuading her
to part with her ornaments of copper and iron against
her return with the price of the medicine--to pay,
as it were, for an option on his services as one pays
a retaining fee to an attorney, for, like an attorney,
Bukawai knew the value of his medicine and that it was
well to collect as much as possible in advance.
The witch-doctor came upon the scene as Tarzan leaped
to meet the lion's charge. He saw it all and marveled,
guessing immediately that this must be the strange white
demon concerning whom he had heard vague rumors before
Momaya came to him.
Momaya, now that the lion was past harming her or hers,
gazed with new terror upon Tarzan. It was he who had stolen
her Tibo. Doubtless he would attempt to steal him again.
Momaya hugged the boy close to her. She was determined
to die this time rather than suffer Tibo to be taken from
Tarzan eyed them in silence. The sight of the boy clinging,
sobbing, to his mother aroused within his savage breast
a melancholy loneliness. There was none thus to cling
to Tarzan, who yearned so for the love of someone,
At last Tibo looked up, because of the quiet that had
fallen upon the jungle, and saw Tarzan. He did not shrink.
"Tarzan," he said, in the speech of the great apes of the
tribe of Kerchak, "do not take me from Momaya, my mother.
Do not take me again to the lair of the hairy, tree men,
for I fear Taug and Gunto and the others. Let me stay
with Momaya, O Tarzan, God of the Jungle! Let me stay
with Momaya, my mother, and to the end of our days we will
bless you and put food before the gates of the village
of Mbonga that you may never hunger."
"Go," he said, "back to the village of Mbonga, and Tarzan
will follow to see that no harm befalls you."
Tibo translated the words to his mother, and the two turned
their backs upon the ape-man and started off toward home.
In the heart of Momaya was a great fear and a great exultation,
for never before had she walked with God, and never had
she been so happy. She strained little Tibo to her,
stroking his thin cheek. Tarzan saw and sighed again.
"For Teeka there is Teeka's balu," he soliloquized;
"for Sabor there are balus, and for the she-Gomangani,
and for Bara, and for Manu, and even for Pamba, the rat;
but for Tarzan there can be none--neither a she nor a balu.
Tarzan of the Apes is a man, and it must be that man
Bukawai saw them go, and he mumbled through his rotting face,
swearing a great oath that he would yet have the three
fat goats, the new sleeping mat, and the bit of copper wire.
The Witch-Doctor Seeks Vengeance
LORD GREYSTOKE was hunting, or, to be more accurate,
he was shooting pheasants at Chamston-Hedding. Lord
Greystoke was immaculately and appropriately garbed--to
the minutest detail he was vogue. To be sure, he was among
the forward guns, not being considered a sporting shot,
but what he lacked in skill he more than made up
in appearance. At the end of the day he would, doubtless,
have many birds to his credit, since he had two guns
and a smart loader-- many more birds than he could eat
in a year, even had he been hungry, which he was not,
having but just arisen from the breakfast table.
The beaters--there were twenty-three of them, in white
smocks--had but just driven the birds into a patch of gorse,
and were now circling to the opposite side that they
might drive down toward the guns. Lord Greystoke was
quite as excited as he ever permitted himself to become.
There was an exhilaration in the sport that would not
be denied. He felt his blood tingling through his veins
as the beaters approached closer and closer to the birds.
In a vague and stupid sort of way Lord Greystoke felt,
as he always felt upon such occasions, that he was
experiencing a sensation somewhat akin to a reversion
to a prehistoric type--that the blood of an ancient forbear
was coursing hot through him, a hairy, half-naked forbear
who had lived by the hunt.
And far away in a matted equatorial jungle another
Lord Greystoke, the real Lord Greystoke, hunted. By the
standards which he knew, he, too, was vogue--utterly vogue,
as was the primal ancestor before the first eviction.
The day being sultry, the leopard skin had been left behind.
The real Lord Greystoke had not two guns, to be sure,
nor even one, neither did he have a smart loader; but he
possessed something infinitely more efficacious than guns,
or loaders, or even twenty-three beaters in white smocks--he
possessed an appetite, an uncanny woodcraft, and muscles
that were as steel springs.
Later that day, in England, a Lord Greystoke ate bountifully
of things he had not killed, and he drank other things
which were uncorked to the accompaniment of much noise.
He patted his lips with snowy linen to remove the faint
traces of his repast, quite ignorant of the fact that he was
an impostor and that the rightful owner of his noble title
was even then finishing his own dinner in far-off Africa.
He was not using snowy linen, though. Instead he drew
the back of a brown forearm and hand across his mouth
and wiped his bloody fingers upon his thighs. Then he
moved slowly through the jungle to the drinking place,
where, upon all fours, he drank as drank his fellows,
the other beasts of the jungle.
As he quenched his thirst, another denizen of the gloomy
forest approached the stream along the path behind him.
It was Numa, the lion, tawny of body and black of mane,
scowling and sinister, rumbling out low, coughing roars.
Tarzan of the Apes heard him long before he came within sight,
but the ape-man went on with his drinking until he had had
his fill; then he arose, slowly, with the easy grace of a
creature of the wilds and all the quiet dignity that was
Numa halted as he saw the man standing at the very spot
where the king would drink. His jaws were parted, and his
cruel eyes gleamed. He growled and advanced slowly.
The man growled, too, backing slowly to one side,
and watching, not the lion's face, but its tail.
Should that commence to move from side to side in quick,
nervous jerks, it would be well to be upon the alert,
and should it rise suddenly erect, straight and stiff,
then one might prepare to fight or flee; but it did neither,
so Tarzan merely backed away and the lion came down and drank
scarce fifty feet from where the man stood.
Tomorrow they might be at one another's throats, but today
there existed one of those strange and inexplicable truces
which so often are seen among the savage ones of the jungle.
Before Numa had finished drinking, Tarzan had returned
into the forest, and was swinging away in the direction
of the village of Mbonga, the black chief.
It had been at least a moon since the ape-man had called upon