Part 5 out of 5
the frenzied dancers.
A woman saw him first and screamed. Instantly there
was a panic in the immediate vicinity of the ape-man. The
strong light from the fire fell full upon the lion head
and the blacks leaped to the conclusion, as Tarzan had
known they would, that their captive had escaped his cage.
With another roar, Tarzan moved forward. The dancing
warriors paused but an instant. They had been hunting
a lion securely housed within a strong cage, and now
that he was at liberty among them, an entirely different
aspect was placed upon the matter. Their nerves were not
attuned to this emergency. The women and children already
had fled to the questionable safety of the nearest huts,
and the warriors were not long in following their example,
so that presently Tarzan was left in sole possession
of the village street.
But not for long. Nor did he wish to be left thus
long alone. It would not comport with his scheme.
Presently a head peered forth from a near-by hut, and then
another and another until a score or more of warriors were
looking out upon him, waiting for his next move--waiting
for the lion to charge or to attempt to escape from the village.
Their spears were ready in their hands against either
a charge or a bolt for freedom, and then the lion rose
erect upon its hind legs, the tawny skin dropped from it
and there stood revealed before them in the firelight
the straight young figure of the white devil-god.
For an instant the blacks were too astonished to act.
They feared this apparition fully as much as they did Numa,
yet they would gladly have slain the thing could they
quickly enough have gathered together their wits;
but fear and superstition and a natural mental density
held them paralyzed while the ape-man stooped and gathered
up the lion skin. They saw him turn then and walk
back into the shadows at the far end of the village.
Not until then did they gain courage to pursue him,
and when they had come in force, with brandished spears
and loud war cries, the quarry was gone.
Not an instant did Tarzan pause in the tree. Throwing the
skin over a branch he leaped again into the village upon
the opposite side of the great bole, and diving into the
shadow of a hut, ran quickly to where lay the caged lion.
Springing to the top of the cage he pulled upon the cord
which raised the door, and a moment later a great lion
in the prime of his strength and vigor leaped out into
The warriors, returning from a futile search for Tarzan,
saw him step into the firelight. Ah! there was the
devil-god again, up to his old trick. Did he think
he could twice fool the men of Mbonga, the chief,
the same way in so short a time? They would show him!
For long they had waited for such an opportunity to rid
themselves forever of this fearsome jungle demon.
As one they rushed forward with raised spears.
The women and the children came from the huts to witness
the slaying of the devil-god. The lion turned blazing eyes
upon them and then swung about toward the advancing warriors.
With shouts of savage joy and triumph they came toward him,
menacing him with their spears. The devil-god was theirs!
And then, with a frightful roar, Numa, the lion, charged.
The men of Mbonga, the chief, met Numa with ready spears
and screams of raillery. In a solid mass of muscled ebony
they waited the coming of the devil-god; yet beneath
their brave exteriors lurked a haunting fear that all
might not be quite well with them--that this strange
creature could yet prove invulnerable to their weapons
and inflict upon them full punishment for their effrontery.
The charging lion was all too lifelike--they saw that in
the brief instant of the charge; but beneath the tawny
hide they knew was hid the soft flesh of the white man,
and how could that withstand the assault of many war spears?
In their forefront stood a huge young warrior in the full
arrogance of his might and his youth. Afraid? Not he! He
laughed as Numa bore down upon him; he laughed and couched
his spear, setting the point for the broad breast.
And then the lion was upon him. A great paw swept away
the heavy war spear, splintering it as the hand of man
might splinter a dry twig.
Down went the black, his skull crushed by another blow.
And then the lion was in the midst of the warriors,
clawing and tearing to right and left. Not for long did
they stand their ground; but a dozen men were mauled before
the others made good their escape from those frightful
talons and gleaming fangs.
In terror the villagers fled hither and thither.
No hut seemed a sufficiently secure asylum with Numa
ranging within the palisade. From one to another fled
the frightened blacks, while in the center of the village
Numa stood glaring and growling above his kills.
At last a tribesman flung wide the gates of the village
and sought safety amid the branches of the forest
trees beyond. Like sheep his fellows followed him,
until the lion and his dead remained alone in the village.
From the nearer trees the men of Mbonga saw the lion lower
his great head and seize one of his victims by the shoulder
and then with slow and stately tread move down the village
street past the open gates and on into the jungle.
They saw and shuddered, and from another tree Tarzan
of the Apes saw and smiled.
A full hour elapsed after the lion had disappeared
with his feast before the blacks ventured down from
the trees and returned to their village. Wide eyes
rolled from side to side, and naked flesh contracted
more to the chill of fear than to the chill of the jungle night.
"It was he all the time," murmured one. "It was the devil-god."
"He changed himself from a lion to a man, and back again
into a lion," whispered another.
"And he dragged Mweeza into the forest and is eating him,"
said a third, shuddering.
"We are no longer safe here," wailed a fourth. "Let us
take our belongings and search for another village site
far from the haunts of the wicked devil-god."
But with morning came renewed courage, so that the
experiences of the preceding evening had little
other effect than to increase their fear of Tarzan
and strengthen their belief in his supernatural origin.
And thus waxed the fame and the power of the ape-man in the
mysterious haunts of the savage jungle where he ranged,
mightiest of beasts because of the man-mind which directed
his giant muscles and his flawless courage.
Tarzan Rescues the Moon
THE MOON SHONE down out of a cloudless sky--a huge,
swollen moon that seemed so close to earth that one might
wonder that she did not brush the crooning tree tops.
It was night, and Tarzan was abroad in the jungle--Tarzan,
the ape-man; mighty fighter, mighty hunter. Why he swung
through the dark shadows of the somber forest he could
not have told you. It was not that he was hungry--he had
fed well this day, and in a safe cache were the remains
of his kill, ready against the coming of a new appetite.
Perhaps it was the very joy of living that urged him
from his arboreal couch to pit his muscles and his senses
against the jungle night, and then, too, Tarzan always was
goaded by an intense desire to know.
The jungle which is presided over by Kudu, the sun,
is a very different jungle from that of Goro, the moon.
The diurnal jungle has its own aspect--its own lights
and shades, its own birds, its own blooms, its own beasts;
its noises are the noises of the day. The lights and
shades of the nocturnal jungle are as different as one
might imagine the lights and shades of another world
to differ from those of our world; its beasts, its blooms,
and its birds are not those of the jungle of Kudu,
Because of these differences Tarzan loved to investigate
the jungle by night. Not only was the life another life;
but it was richer in numbers and in romance; it was
richer in dangers, too, and to Tarzan of the Apes danger
was the spice of life. And the noises of the jungle
night--the roar of the lion, the scream of the leopard,
the hideous laughter of Dango, the hyena, were music
to the ears of the ape-man.
The soft padding of unseen feet, the rustling of leaves
and grasses to the passage of fierce beasts, the sheen
of opalesque eyes flaming through the dark, the million
sounds which proclaimed the teeming life that one might
hear and scent, though seldom see, constituted the appeal
of the nocturnal jungle to Tarzan.
Tonight he had swung a wide circle--toward the east first
and then toward the south, and now he was rounding back again
into the north. His eyes, his ears and his keen nostrils
were ever on the alert. Mingled with the sounds he knew,
there were strange sounds--weird sounds which he never
heard until after Kudu had sought his lair below the far
edge of the big water-sounds which belonged to Goro,
the moon--and to the mysterious period of Goro's supremacy.
These sounds often caused Tarzan profound speculation.
They baffled him because he thought that he knew his jungle
so well that there could be nothing within it unfamiliar to him.
Sometimes he thought that as colors and forms appeared
to differ by night from their familiar daylight aspects,
so sounds altered with the passage of Kudu and the coming
of Goro, and these thoughts roused within his brain a vague
conjecture that perhaps Goro and Kudu influenced these changes.
And what more natural that eventually he came to attribute
to the sun and the moon personalities as real as his
own? The sun was a living creature and ruled the day.
The moon, endowed with brains and miraculous powers,
ruled the night.
Thus functioned the untrained man-mind groping through the
dark night of ignorance for an explanation of the things
he could not touch or smell or hear and of the great,
unknown powers of nature which he could not see.
As Tarzan swung north again upon his wide circle
the scent of the Gomangani came to his nostrils,
mixed with the acrid odor of wood smoke. The ape-man
moved quickly in the direction from which the scent
was borne down to him upon the gentle night wind.
Presently the ruddy sheen of a great fire filtered
through the foliage to him ahead, and when Tarzan came
to a halt in the trees near it, he saw a party of half
a dozen black warriors huddled close to the blaze.
It was evidently a hunting party from the village of Mbonga,
the chief, caught out in the jungle after dark.
In a rude circle about them they had constructed a thorn
boma which, with the aid of the fire, they apparently
hoped would discourage the advances of the larger carnivora.
That hope was not conviction was evidenced by the very palpable
terror in which they crouched, wide-eyed and trembling,
for already Numa and Sabor were moaning through the jungle
toward them. There were other creatures, too, in the shadows
beyond the firelight. Tarzan could see their yellow
eyes flaming there. The blacks saw them and shivered.
Then one arose and grasping a burning branch from the fire
hurled it at the eyes, which immediately disappeared.
The black sat down again. Tarzan watched and saw that it
was several minutes before the eyes began to reappear
in twos and fours.
Then came Numa, the lion, and Sabor, his mate. The other
eyes scattered to right and left before the menacing
growls of the great cats, and then the huge orbs of the
man-eaters flamed alone out of the darkness. Some of
the blacks threw themselves upon their faces and moaned;
but he who before had hurled the burning branch now
hurled another straight at the faces of the hungry lions,
and they, too, disappeared as had the lesser lights
before them. Tarzan was much interested. He saw a new
reason for the nightly fires maintained by the blacks--a
reason in addition to those connected with warmth and
light and cooking. The beasts of the jungle feared fire,
and so fire was, in a measure, a protection from them.
Tarzan himself knew a certain awe of fire. Once he had,
in investigating an abandoned fire in the village of the blacks,
picked up a live coal. Since then he had maintained
a respectful distance from such fires as he had seen.
One experience had sufficed.
For a few minutes after the black hurled the firebrand no
eyes appeared, though Tarzan could hear the soft padding
of feet all about him. Then flashed once more the twin
fire spots that marked the return of the lord of the
jungle and a moment later, upon a slightly lower level,
there appeared those of Sabor, his mate.
For some time they remained fixed and unwavering--a
constellation of fierce stars in the jungle night--then
the male lion advanced slowly toward the boma, where all
but a single black still crouched in trembling terror.
When this lone guardian saw that Numa was again approaching,
he threw another firebrand, and, as before, Numa retreated
and with him Sabor, the lioness; but not so far, this time,
nor for so long. Almost instantly they turned and began
circling the boma, their eyes turning constantly toward
the firelight, while low, throaty growls evidenced their
increasing displeasure. Beyond the lions glowed the flaming
eyes of the lesser satellites, until the black jungle was
shot all around the black men's camp with little spots of fire.
Again and again the black warrior hurled his puny brands at
the two big cats; but Tarzan noticed that Numa paid little
or no attention to them after the first few retreats.
The ape-man knew by Numa's voice that the lion was hungry
and surmised that he had made up his mind to feed upon
a Gomangani; but would he dare a closer approach to the
Even as the thought was passing in Tarzan's mind,
Numa stopped his restless pacing and faced the boma.
For a moment he stood motionless, except for the quick,
nervous upcurving of his tail, then he walked deliberately
forward, while Sabor moved restlessly to and fro where he
had left her. The black man called to his comrades
that the lion was coming, but they were too far gone
in fear to do more than huddle closer together and moan
more loudly than before.
Seizing a blazing branch the man cast it straight
into the face of the lion. There was an angry roar,
followed by a swift charge. With a single bound
the savage beast cleared the boma wall as, with almost
equal agility, the warrior cleared it upon the opposite
side and, chancing the dangers lurking in the darkness,
bolted for the nearest tree.
Numa was out of the boma almost as soon as he was inside it;
but as he went back over the low thorn wall, he took
a screaming negro with him. Dragging his victim along
the ground he walked back toward Sabor, the lioness,
who joined him, and the two continued into the blackness,
their savage growls mingling with the piercing shrieks of
the doomed and terrified man.
At a little distance from the blaze the lions halted,
there ensued a short succession of unusually vicious growls
and roars, during which the cries and moans of the black
Presently Numa reappeared in the firelight. He made
a second trip into the boma and the former grisly tragedy
was reenacted with another howling victim.
Tarzan rose and stretched lazily. The entertainment
was beginning to bore him. He yawned and turned upon
his way toward the clearing where the tribe would
be sleeping in the encircling trees.
Yet even when he had found his familiar crotch and curled
himself for slumber, he felt no desire to sleep.
For a long time he lay awake thinking and dreaming.
He looked up into the heavens and watched the moon and
the stars. He wondered what they were and what power
kept them from falling. His was an inquisitive mind.
Always he had been full of questions concerning all that
passed around him; but there never had been one to answer
his questions. In childhood he had wanted to KNOW, and,
denied almost all knowledge, he still, in manhood,
was filled with the great, unsatisfied curiosity of
He was never quite content merely to perceive that things
happened--he desired to know WHY they happened.
He wanted to know what made things go. The secret
of life interested him immensely. The miracle of death
he could not quite fathom. Upon innumerable occasions
he had investigated the internal mechanism of his kills,
and once or twice he had opened the chest cavity of victims
in time to see the heart still pumping.
He had learned from experience that a knife thrust through
this organ brought immediate death nine times out of ten,
while he might stab an antagonist innumerable times
in other places without even disabling him. And so he
had come to think of the heart, or, as he called it,
"the red thing that breathes," as the seat and origin
The brain and its functionings he did not comprehend at all.
That his sense perceptions were transmitted to his brain
and there translated, classified, and labeled was something
quite beyond him. He thought that his fingers knew when
they touched something, that his eyes knew when they saw,
his ears when they heard, his nose when it scented.
He considered his throat, epidermis, and the hairs
of his head as the three principal seats of emotion.
When Kala had been slain a peculiar choking sensation
had possessed his throat; contact with Histah, the snake,
imparted an unpleasant sensation to the skin of his whole body;
while the approach of an enemy made the hairs on his scalp
Imagine, if you can, a child filled with the wonders
of nature, bursting with queries and surrounded only
by beasts of the jungle to whom his questionings were
as strange as Sanskrit would have been. If he asked
Gunto what made it rain, the big old ape would but gaze
at him in dumb astonishment for an instant and then
return to his interesting and edifying search for fleas;
and when he questioned Mumga, who was very old and should
have been very wise, but wasn't, as to the reason for
the closing of certain flowers after Kudu had deserted
the sky, and the opening of others during the night,
he was surprised to discover that Mumga had never
noticed these interesting facts, though she could tell
to an inch just where the fattest grubworm should be hiding.
To Tarzan these things were wonders. They appealed to his
intellect and to his imagination. He saw the flowers
close and open; he saw certain blooms which turned their
faces always toward the sun; he saw leaves which moved
when there was no breeze; he saw vines crawl like living
things up the boles and over the branches of great trees;
and to Tarzan of the Apes the flowers and the vines and
the trees were living creatures. He often talked to them,
as he talked to Goro, the moon, and Kudu, the sun,
and always was he disappointed that they did not reply.
He asked them questions; but they could not answer,
though he knew that the whispering of the leaves was the
language of the leaves--they talked with one another.
The wind he attributed to the trees and grasses. He thought
that they swayed themselves to and fro, creating the wind.
In no other way could he account for this phenomenon.
The rain he finally attributed to the stars, the moon,
and the sun; but his hypothesis was entirely unlovely
Tonight as Tarzan lay thinking, there sprang to his fertile
imagination an explanation of the stars and the moon.
He became quite excited about it. Taug was sleeping
in a nearby crotch. Tarzan swung over beside him.
"Taug!" he cried. Instantly the great bull was awake
and bristling, sensing danger from the nocturnal summons.
"Look, Taug!" exclaimed Tarzan, pointing toward the stars.
"See the eyes of Numa and Sabor, of Sheeta and Dango.
They wait around Goro to leap in upon him for their kill.
See the eyes and the nose and the mouth of Goro. And the
light that shines upon his face is the light of the great
fire he has built to frighten away Numa and Sabor and Dango
"All about him are the eyes, Taug, you can see them! But
they do not come very close to the fire--there are few
eyes close to Goro. They fear the fire! It is the fire
that saves Goro from Numa. Do you see them, Taug? Some
night Numa will be very hungry and very angry--then he
will leap over the thorn bushes which encircle Goro and we
will have no more light after Kudu seeks his lair--the
night will be black with the blackness that comes when
Goro is lazy and sleeps late into the night, or when he
wanders through the skies by day, forgetting the jungle
and its people."
Taug looked stupidly at the heavens and then at Tarzan.
A meteor fell, blazing a flaming way through the sky.
"Look!" cried Tarzan. "Goro has thrown a burning branch
Taug grumbled. "Numa is down below," he said. "Numa does
not hunt above the trees." But he looked curiously
and a little fearfully at the bright stars above him,
as though he saw them for the first time, and doubtless
it was the first time that Taug ever had seen the stars,
though they had been in the sky above him every night
of his life. To Taug they were as the gorgeous jungle
blooms--he could not eat them and so he ignored them.
Taug fidgeted and was nervous. For a long time he
lay sleepless, watching the stars--the flaming eyes
of the beasts of prey surrounding Goro, the moon--Goro,
by whose light the apes danced to the beating of their
earthen drums. If Goro should be eaten by Numa there could
be no more Dum-Dums. Taug was overwhelmed by the thought.
He glanced at Tarzan half fearfully. Why was his friend
so different from the others of the tribe? No one else whom
Taug ever had known had had such queer thoughts as Tarzan.
The ape scratched his head and wondered, dimly, if Tarzan
was a safe companion, and then he recalled slowly,
and by a laborious mental process, that Tarzan had served
him better than any other of the apes, even the strong
and wise bulls of the tribe.
Tarzan it was who had freed him from the blacks at the
very time that Taug had thought Tarzan wanted Teeka.
It was Tarzan who had saved Taug's little balu from death.
It was Tarzan who had conceived and carried out the plan
to pursue Teeka's abductor and rescue the stolen one.
Tarzan had fought and bled in Taug's service so many times
that Taug, although only a brutal ape, had had impressed
upon his mind a fierce loyalty which nothing now could
swerve--his friendship for Tarzan had become a habit,
a tradition almost, which would endure while Taug endured.
He never showed any outward demonstration of affection--he
growled at Tarzan as he growled at the other bulls
who came too close while he was feeding--but he would
have died for Tarzan. He knew it and Tarzan knew it;
but of such things apes do not speak--their vocabulary,
for the finer instincts, consisting more of actions
than words. But now Taug was worried, and he fell
asleep again still thinking of the strange words of
The following day he thought of them again, and without
any intention of disloyalty he mentioned to Gunto what
Tarzan had suggested about the eyes surrounding Goro,
and the possibility that sooner or later Numa would
charge the moon and devour him. To the apes all large
things in nature are male, and so Goro, being the largest
creature in the heavens by night, was, to them, a bull.
Gunto bit a sliver from a horny finger and recalled
the fact that Tarzan had once said that the trees talked
to one another, and Gozan recounted having seen the ape-man
dancing alone in the moonlight with Sheeta, the panther.
They did not know that Tarzan had roped the savage beast
and tied him to a tree before he came to earth and leaped
about before the rearing cat, to tantalize him.
Others told of seeing Tarzan ride upon the back of Tantor,
the elephant; of his bringing the black boy, Tibo,
to the tribe, and of mysterious things with which he
communed in the strange lair by the sea. They had never
understood his books, and after he had shown them to one
or two of the tribe and discovered that even the pictures
carried no impression to their brains, he had desisted.
"Tarzan is not an ape," said Gunto. "He will bring
Numa to eat us, as he is bringing him to eat Goro.
We should kill him."
Immediately Taug bristled. Kill Tarzan! "First you will
kill Taug," he said, and lumbered away to search for food.
But others joined the plotters. They thought of many
things which Tarzan had done--things which apes did not do
and could not understand. Again Gunto voiced the opinion
that the Tarmangani, the white ape, should be slain,
and the others, filled with terror about the stories they
had heard, and thinking Tarzan was planning to slay Goro,
greeted the proposal with growls of accord.
Among them was Teeka, listening with all her ears;
but her voice was not raised in furtherance of the plan.
Instead she bristled, showing her fangs, and afterward
she went away in search of Tarzan; but she could not
find him, as he was roaming far afield in search of meat.
She found Taug, though, and told him what the others
were planning, and the great bull stamped upon the ground
and roared. His bloodshot eyes blazed with wrath,
his upper lip curled up to expose his fighting fangs,
and the hair upon his spine stood erect, and then a rodent
scurried across the open and Taug sprang to seize it.
In an instant he seemed to have forgotten his rage
against the enemies of his friend; but such is the mind of
Several miles away Tarzan of the Apes lolled upon the
broad head of Tantor, the elephant. He scratched beneath
the great ears with the point of a sharp stick, and he
talked to the huge pachyderm of everything which filled
his black-thatched head. Little, or nothing, of what he
said did Tantor understand; but Tantor is a good listener.
Swaying from side to side he stood there enjoying
the companionship of his friend, the friend he loved,
and absorbing the delicious sensations of the scratching.
Numa, the lion, caught the scent of man, and warily stalked
it until he came within sight of his prey upon the head
of the mighty tusker; then he turned, growling and muttering,
away in search of more propitious hunting grounds.
The elephant caught the scent of the lion, borne to him by
an eddying breeze, and lifting his trunk trumpeted loudly.
Tarzan stretched back luxuriously, lying supine at full
length along the rough hide. Flies swarmed about his face;
but with a leafy branch torn from a tree he lazily brushed
"Tantor," he said, "it is good to be alive. It is good
to lie in the cool shadows. It is good to look upon
the green trees and the bright colors of the flowers--upon
everything which Bulamutumumo has put here for us.
He is very good to us, Tantor; He has given you tender leaves
and bark, and rich grasses to eat; to me He has given Bara
and Horta and Pisah, the fruits and the nuts and the roots.
He provides for each the food that each likes best.
All that He asks is that we be strong enough or cunning enough
to go forth and take it. Yes, Tantor, it is good to live.
I should hate to die."
Tantor made a little sound in his throat and curled his
trunk upward that he might caress the ape-man's cheek
with the finger at its tip.
"Tantor," said Tarzan presently, "turn and feed in
the direction of the tribe of Kerchak, the great ape,
that Tarzan may ride home upon your head without walking."
The tusker turned and moved slowly off along a broad,
tree-arched trail, pausing occasionally to pluck a tender
branch, or strip the edible bark from an adjacent tree.
Tarzan sprawled face downward upon the beast's head and back,
his legs hanging on either side, his head supported by his
open palms, his elbows resting on the broad cranium.
And thus they made their leisurely way toward the gathering
place of the tribe.
Just before they arrived at the clearing from the north
there reached it from the south another figure--that
of a well-knit black warrior, who stepped cautiously
through the jungle, every sense upon the alert against
the many dangers which might lurk anywhere along the way.
Yet he passed beneath the southernmost sentry that was
posted in a great tree commanding the trail from the south.
The ape permitted the Gomangani to pass unmolested, for he
saw that he was alone; but the moment that the warrior
had entered the clearing a loud "Kreeg-ah!" rang out from
behind him, immediately followed by a chorus of replies
from different directions, as the great bulls crashed
through the trees in answer to the summons of their fellow.
The black man halted at the first cry and looked about him.
He could see nothing, but he knew the voice of the hairy
tree men whom he and his kind feared, not alone because
of the strength and ferocity of the savage beings,
but as well through a superstitious terror engendered
by the manlike appearance of the apes.
But Bulabantu was no coward. He heard the apes all about him;
he knew that escape was probably impossible, so he stood
his ground, his spear ready in his hand and a war cry
trembling on his lips. He would sell his life dearly,
would Bulabantu, under-chief of the village of Mbonga,
Tarzan and Tantor were but a short distance away when the
first cry of the sentry rang out through the quiet jungle.
Like a flash the ape-man leaped from the elephant's
back to a near-by tree and was swinging rapidly
in the direction of the clearing before the echoes
of the first "Kreeg-ah" had died away. When he arrived
he saw a dozen bulls circling a single Gomangani.
With a blood-curdling scream Tarzan sprang to the attack.
He hated the blacks even more than did the apes,
and here was an opportunity for a kill in the open.
What had the Gomangani done? Had he slain one of the tribe?
Tarzan asked the nearest ape. No, the Gomangani had
harmed none. Gozan, being on watch, had seen him coming
through the forest and had warned the tribe--that was all.
The ape-man pushed through the circle of bulls, none of
which as yet had worked himself into sufficient frenzy
for a charge, and came where he had a full and close
view of the black. He recognized the man instantly.
Only the night before he had seen him facing the eyes
in the dark, while his fellows groveled in the dirt
at his feet, too terrified even to defend themselves.
Here was a brave man, and Tarzan had deep admiration
for bravery. Even his hatred of the blacks was not so
strong a passion as his love of courage. He would have
joyed in battling with a black warrior at almost any time;
but this one he did not wish to kill--he felt, vaguely,
that the man had earned his life by his brave defense
of it on the preceding night, nor did he fancy the odds
that were pitted against the lone warrior.
He turned to the apes. "Go back to your feeding,"
he said, "and let this Gomangani go his way in peace.
He has not harmed us, and last night I saw him fighting Numa
and Sabor with fire, alone in the jungle. He is brave.
Why should we kill one who is brave and who has not attacked
us? Let him go."
The apes growled. They were displeased. "Kill the Gomangani!"
"Yes." roared another, "kill the Gomangani and the
Tarmangani as well."
"Kill the white ape!" screamed Gozan, "he is no ape at all;
but a Gomangani with his skin off."
"Kill Tarzan!" bellowed Gunto. "Kill! Kill! Kill!"
The bulls were now indeed working themselves into the frenzy
of slaughter; but against Tarzan rather than the black man.
A shaggy form charged through them, hurling those it
came in contact with to one side as a strong man might
scatter children. It was Taug--great, savage Taug.
"Who says 'kill Tarzan'?" he demanded. "Who kills Tarzan
must kill Taug, too. Who can kill Taug? Taug will tear
your insides from you and feed them to Dango."
"We can kill you all," replied Gunto. "There are many
of us and few of you," and he was right. Tarzan knew
that he was right. Taug knew it; but neither would admit
such a possibility. It is not the way of bull apes.
"I am Tarzan," cried the ape-man. "I am Tarzan.
Mighty hunter; mighty fighter. In all the jungle none
so great as Tarzan."
Then, one by one, the opposing bulls recounted their virtues
and their prowess. And all the time the combatants came
closer and closer to one another. Thus do the bulls work
themselves to the proper pitch before engaging in battle.
Gunto came, stiff-legged, close to Tarzan and sniffed at him,
with bared fangs. Tarzan rumbled forth a low, menacing growl.
They might repeat these tactics a dozen times; but sooner
or later one bull would close with another and then the
whole hideous pack would be tearing and rending at their prey.
Bulabantu, the black man, had stood wide-eyed in wonder from
the moment he had seen Tarzan approaching through the apes.
He had heard much of this devil-god who ran with the
hairy tree people; but never before had he seen him in
full daylight. He knew him well enough from the description
of those who had seen him and from the glimpses he had had
of the marauder upon several occasions when the ape-man
had entered the village of Mbonga, the chief, by night,
in the perpetration of one of his numerous ghastly jokes.
Bulabantu could not, of course, understand anything
which passed between Tarzan and the apes; but he saw
that the ape-man and one of the larger bulls were in
argument with the others. He saw that these two were
standing with their back toward him and between him
and the balance of the tribe, and he guessed, though it
seemed improbable, that they might be defending him.
He knew that Tarzan had once spared the life of Mbonga,
the chief, and that he had succored Tibo, and Tibo's
mother, Momaya. So it was not impossible that he would
help Bulabantu; but how he could accomplish it Bulabantu
could not guess; nor as a matter of fact could Tarzan,
for the odds against him were too great.
Gunto and the others were slowly forcing Tarzan and Taug
back toward Bulabantu. The ape-man thought of his words
with Tantor just a short time before: "Yes, Tantor,
it is good to live. I should hate to die." And now
he knew that he was about to die, for the temper
of the great bulls was mounting rapidly against him.
Always had many of them hated him, and all were suspicious
of him. They knew he was different. Tarzan knew it too;
but he was glad that he was--he was a MAN; that he had
learned from his picture-books, and he was very proud of
the distinction. Presently, though, he would be a dead man.
Gunto was preparing to charge. Tarzan knew the signs.
He knew that the balance of the bulls would charge
with Gunto. Then it would soon be over. Something moved
among the verdure at the opposite side of the clearing.
Tarzan saw it just as Gunto, with the terrifying cry
of a challenging ape, sprang forward. Tarzan voiced
a peculiar call and then crouched to meet the assault.
Taug crouched, too, and Bulabantu, assured now that
these two were fighting upon his side, couched his spear
and sprang between them to receive the first charge of
Simultaneously a huge bulk broke into the clearing
from the jungle behind the charging bulls.
The trumpeting of a mad tusker rose shrill above
the cries of the anthropoids, as Tantor, the elephant,
dashed swiftly across the clearing to the aid of his friend.
Gunto never closed upon the ape-man, nor did a fang enter
flesh upon either side. The terrific reverberation of
Tantor's challenge sent the bulls scurrying to the trees,
jabbering and scolding. Taug raced off with them.
Only Tarzan and Bulabantu remained. The latter stood
his ground because he saw that the devil-god did not run,
and because the black had the courage to face a certain
and horrible death beside one who had quite evidently dared
death for him.
But it was a surprised Gomangani who saw the mighty
elephant come to a sudden halt in front of the ape-man
and caress him with his long, sinuous trunk.
Tarzan turned toward the black man. "Go!" he said in
the language of the apes, and pointed in the direction
of the village of Mbonga. Bulabantu understood the gesture,
if not the word, nor did he lose time in obeying.
Tarzan stood watching him until he had disappeared.
He knew that the apes would not follow. Then he said
to the elephant: "Pick me up!" and the tusker swung him
lightly to his head.
"Tarzan goes to his lair by the big water," shouted the
ape-man to the apes in the trees. "All of you are more
foolish than Manu, except Taug and Teeka. Taug and Teeka
may come to see Tarzan; but the others must keep away.
Tarzan is done with the tribe of Kerchak."
He prodded Tantor with a calloused toe and the big beast
swung off across the clearing, the apes watching them
until they were swallowed up by the jungle.
Before the night fell Taug killed Gunto, picking a quarrel
with him over his attack upon Tarzan.
For a moon the tribe saw nothing of Tarzan of the Apes.
Many of them probably never gave him a thought; but there
were those who missed him more than Tarzan imagined.
Taug and Teeka often wished that he was back, and Taug determined
a dozen times to go and visit Tarzan in his seaside lair;
but first one thing and then another interfered.
One night when Taug lay sleepless looking up at the starry
heavens he recalled the strange things that Tarzan once
had suggested to him--that the bright spots were the eyes
of the meat-eaters waiting in the dark of the jungle
sky to leap upon Goro, the moon, and devour him.
The more he thought about this matter the more perturbed
And then a strange thing happened. Even as Taug looked
at Goro, he saw a portion of one edge disappear,
precisely as though something was gnawing upon it.
Larger and larger became the hole in the side of Goro.
With a scream, Taug leaped to his feet. His frenzied
"Kreeg-ahs!" brought the terrified tribe screaming and
chattering toward him.
"Look!" cried Taug, pointing at the moon. "Look! It
is as Tarzan said. Numa has sprung through the fires
and is devouring Goro. You called Tarzan names and
drove him from the tribe; now see how wise he was.
Let one of you who hated Tarzan go to Goro's aid.
See the eyes in the dark jungle all about Goro. He is
in danger and none can help him--none except Tarzan.
Soon Goro will be devoured by Numa and we shall have no
more light after Kudu seeks his lair. How shall we dance
the Dum-Dum without the light of Goro?"
The apes trembled and whimpered. Any manifestation
of the powers of nature always filled them with terror,
for they could not understand.
"Go and bring Tarzan," cried one, and then they all took up
the cry of "Tarzan!" "Bring Tarzan!" "He will save Goro."
But who was to travel the dark jungle by night to fetch
"I will go," volunteered Taug, and an instant later he
was off through the Stygian gloom toward the little
land-locked harbor by the sea.
And as the tribe waited they watched the slow devouring
of the moon. Already Numa had eaten out a great
semicircular piece. At that rate Goro would be entirely gone
before Kudu came again. The apes trembled at the thought
of perpetual darkness by night. They could not sleep.
Restlessly they moved here and there among the branches
of trees, watching Numa of the skies at his deadly feast,
and listening for the coming of Taug with Tarzan.
Goro was nearly gone when the apes heard the sounds of
the approach through the trees of the two they awaited,
and presently Tarzan, followed by Taug, swung into
a nearby tree.
The ape-man wasted no time in idle words. In his hand was
his long bow and at his back hung a quiver full of arrows,
poisoned arrows that he had stolen from the village of
the blacks; just as he had stolen the bow. Up into a great
tree he clambered, higher and higher until he stood swaying
upon a small limb which bent low beneath his weight.
Here he had a clear and unobstructed view of the heavens.
He saw Goro and the inroads which the hungry Numa had made
into his shining surface.
Raising his face to the moon, Tarzan shrilled forth
his hideous challenge. Faintly and from afar came
the roar of an answering lion. The apes shivered.
Numa of the skies had answered Tarzan.
Then the ape-man fitted an arrow to his bow, and drawing
the shaft far back, aimed its point at the heart of Numa
where he lay in the heavens devouring Goro. There was a loud
twang as the released bolt shot into the dark heavens.
Again and again did Tarzan of the Apes launch his arrows
at Numa, and all the while the apes of the tribe of Kerchak
huddled together in terror.
At last came a cry from Taug. "Look! Look!" he screamed.
"Numa is killed. Tarzan has killed Numa. See! Goro is
emerging from the belly of Numa," and, sure enough, the moon
was gradually emerging from whatever had devoured her,
whether it was Numa, the lion, or the shadow of the earth;
but were you to try to convince an ape of the tribe of
Kerchak that it was aught but Numa who so nearly devoured
Goro that night, or that another than Tarzan preserved
the brilliant god of their savage and mysterious rites
from a frightful death, you would have difficulty--and
a fight on your hands.
And so Tarzan of the Apes came back to the tribe of Kerchak,
and in his coming he took a long stride toward the kingship,
which he ultimately won, for now the apes looked up to him
as a superior being.
In all the tribe there was but one who was at all
skeptical about the plausibility of Tarzan's remarkable
rescue of Goro, and that one, strange as it may seem,
was Tarzan of the Apes.