Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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the selfsame purpose as that which prompted him to await the fleet
animal. Numa, perhaps, or Sheeta, the panther.

In any event, Tarzan could see his repast slipping from his grasp
unless Bara moved more rapidly toward the ford than at present.

Even as these thoughts passed through his mind some noise of the
stalker in his rear must have come to the buck, for with a sudden start
he paused for an instant, trembling, in his tracks, and then with a
swift bound dashed straight for the river and Tarzan. It was his
intention to flee through the shallow ford and escape upon the opposite
side of the river.

Not a hundred yards behind him came Numa.

Tarzan could see him quite plainly now. Below the ape-man Bara was
about to pass. Could he do it? But even as he asked himself the
question the hungry man launched himself from his perch full upon the
back of the startled buck.

In another instant Numa would be upon them both, so if the ape-man were
to dine that night, or ever again, he must act quickly.

Scarcely had he touched the sleek hide of the deer with a momentum that
sent the animal to its knees than he had grasped a horn in either hand,
and with a single quick wrench twisted the animal's neck completely
round, until he felt the vertebrae snap beneath his grip.

The lion was roaring in rage close behind him as he swung the deer
across his shoulder, and, grasping a foreleg between his strong teeth,
leaped for the nearest of the lower branches that swung above his head.

With both hands he grasped the limb, and, at the instant that Numa
sprang, drew himself and his prey out of reach of the animal's cruel

There was a thud below him as the baffled cat fell back to earth, and
then Tarzan of the Apes, drawing his dinner farther up to the safety of
a higher limb, looked down with grinning face into the gleaming yellow
eyes of the other wild beast that glared up at him from beneath, and
with taunting insults flaunted the tender carcass of his kill in the
face of him whom he had cheated of it.

With his crude stone knife he cut a juicy steak from the hindquarters,
and while the great lion paced, growling, back and forth below him,
Lord Greystoke filled his savage belly, nor ever in the choicest of his
exclusive London clubs had a meal tasted more palatable.

The warm blood of his kill smeared his hands and face and filled his
nostrils with the scent that the savage carnivora love best.

And when he had finished he left the balance of the carcass in a high
fork of the tree where he had dined, and with Numa trailing below him,
still keen for revenge, he made his way back to his tree-top shelter,
where he slept until the sun was high the following morning.

Chapter 4


The next few days were occupied by Tarzan in completing his weapons and
exploring the jungle. He strung his bow with tendons from the buck
upon which he had dined his first evening upon the new shore, and
though he would have preferred the gut of Sheeta for the purpose, he
was content to wait until opportunity permitted him to kill one of the
great cats.

He also braided a long grass rope - such a rope as he had used so many
years before to tantalize the ill-natured Tublat, and which later had
developed into a wondrous effective weapon in the practised hands of
the little ape-boy.

A sheath and handle for his hunting-knife he fashioned, and a quiver
for arrows, and from the hide of Bara a belt and loin-cloth. Then he
set out to learn something of the strange land in which he found
himself. That it was not his old familiar west coast of the African
continent he knew from the fact that it faced east - the rising sun came
up out of the sea before the threshold of the jungle.

But that it was not the east coast of Africa he was equally positive,
for he felt satisfied that the Kincaid had not passed through the
Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea, nor had she had time to
round the Cape of Good Hope. So he was quite at a loss to know where
he might be.

Sometimes he wondered if the ship had crossed the broad Atlantic to
deposit him upon some wild South American shore; but the presence of
Numa, the lion, decided him that such could not be the case.

As Tarzan made his lonely way through the jungle paralleling the shore,
he felt strong upon him a desire for companionship, so that gradually
he commenced to regret that he had not cast his lot with the apes. He
had seen nothing of them since that first day, when the influences of
civilization were still paramount within him.

Now he was more nearly returned to the Tarzan of old, and though he
appreciated the fact that there could be little in common between
himself and the great anthropoids, still they were better than no
company at all.

Moving leisurely, sometimes upon the ground and again among the lower
branches of the trees, gathering an occasional fruit or turning over a
fallen log in search of the larger bugs, which he still found as
palatable as of old, Tarzan had covered a mile or more when his
attention was attracted by the scent of Sheeta up-wind ahead of him.

Now Sheeta, the panther, was one whom Tarzan was exceptionally glad
to fall in with, for he had it in mind not only to utilize the great
cat's strong gut for his bow, but also to fashion a new quiver and
loin-cloth from pieces of his hide. So, whereas the ape-man had gone
carelessly before, he now became the personification of noiseless

Swiftly and silently he glided through the forest in the wake of the
savage cat, nor was the pursuer, for all his noble birth, one whit less
savage than the wild, fierce thing he stalked.

As he came closer to Sheeta he became aware that the panther on his
part was stalking game of his own, and even as he realized this fact
there came to his nostrils, wafted from his right by a vagrant breeze,
the strong odour of a company of great apes.

The panther had taken to a large tree as Tarzan came within sight of
him, and beyond and below him Tarzan saw the tribe of Akut lolling in a
little, natural clearing. Some of them were dozing against the boles
of trees, while others roamed about turning over bits of bark from
beneath which they transferred the luscious grubs and beetles to their

Akut was the closest to Sheeta.

The great cat lay crouched upon a thick limb, hidden from the ape's
view by dense foliage, waiting patiently until the anthropoid should
come within range of his spring.

Tarzan cautiously gained a position in the same tree with the panther
and a little above him. In his left hand he grasped his slim stone
blade. He would have preferred to use his noose, but the foliage
surrounding the huge cat precluded the possibility of an accurate throw
with the rope.

Akut had now wandered quite close beneath the tree wherein lay the
waiting death. Sheeta slowly edged his hind paws along the branch
still further beneath him, and then with a hideous shriek he launched
himself toward the great ape. The barest fraction of a second before
his spring another beast of prey above him leaped, its weird and savage
cry mingling with his.

As the startled Akut looked up he saw the panther almost above him, and
already upon the panther's back the white ape that had bested him that
day near the great water.

The teeth of the ape-man were buried in the back of Sheeta's neck and
his right arm was round the fierce throat, while the left hand,
grasping a slender piece of stone, rose and fell in mighty blows upon
the panther's side behind the left shoulder.

Akut had just time to leap to one side to avoid being pinioned beneath
these battling monsters of the jungle.

With a crash they came to earth at his feet. Sheeta was screaming,
snarling, and roaring horribly; but the white ape clung tenaciously and
in silence to the thrashing body of his quarry.

Steadily and remorselessly the stone knife was driven home through the
glossy hide - time and again it drank deep, until with a final agonized
lunge and shriek the great feline rolled over upon its side and, save
for the spasmodic jerking of its muscles, lay quiet and still in death.

Then the ape-man raised his head, as he stood over the carcass of his
kill, and once again through the jungle rang his wild and savage
victory challenge.

Akut and the apes of Akut stood looking in startled wonder at the dead
body of Sheeta and the lithe, straight figure of the man who had slain

Tarzan was the first to speak.

He had saved Akut's life for a purpose, and, knowing the limitations of
the ape intellect, he also knew that he must make this purpose plain to
the anthropoid if it were to serve him in the way he hoped.

"I am Tarzan of the Apes," he said, "Mighty hunter. Mighty fighter.
By the great water I spared Akut's life when I might have taken it and
become king of the tribe of Akut. Now I have saved Akut from death
beneath the rending fangs of Sheeta.

"When Akut or the tribe of Akut is in danger, let them call to Tarzan
thus" - and the ape-man raised the hideous cry with which the tribe of
Kerchak had been wont to summon its absent members in times of peril.

"And," he continued, "when they hear Tarzan call to them, let them
remember what he has done for Akut and come to him with great speed.
Shall it be as Tarzan says?"

"Huh!" assented Akut, and from the members of his tribe there rose a
unanimous "Huh."

Then, presently, they went to feeding again as though nothing had
happened, and with them fed John Clayton, Lord Greystoke.

He noticed, however, that Akut kept always close to him, and was often
looking at him with a strange wonder in his little bloodshot eyes, and
once he did a thing that Tarzan during all his long years among the
apes had never before seen an ape do - he found a particularly tender
morsel and handed it to Tarzan.

As the tribe hunted, the glistening body of the ape-man mingled with
the brown, shaggy hides of his companions. Oftentimes they brushed
together in passing, but the apes had already taken his presence for
granted, so that he was as much one of them as Akut himself.

If he came too close to a she with a young baby, the former would bare
her great fighting fangs and growl ominously, and occasionally a
truculent young bull would snarl a warning if Tarzan approached while
the former was eating. But in those things the treatment was no
different from that which they accorded any other member of the tribe.

Tarzan on his part felt very much at home with these fierce, hairy
progenitors of primitive man. He skipped nimbly out of reach of each
threatening female - for such is the way of apes, if they be not in one
of their occasional fits of bestial rage - and he growled back at the
truculent young bulls, baring his canine teeth even as they. Thus
easily he fell back into the way of his early life, nor did it seem
that he had ever tasted association with creatures of his own kind.

For the better part of a week he roamed the jungle with his new
friends, partly because of a desire for companionship and partially
through a well-laid plan to impress himself indelibly upon their
memories, which at best are none too long; for Tarzan from past
experience knew that it might serve him in good stead to have a tribe
of these powerful and terrible beasts at his call.

When he was convinced that he had succeeded to some extent in fixing
his identity upon them he decided to again take up his exploration. To
this end he set out toward the north early one day, and, keeping
parallel with the shore, travelled rapidly until almost nightfall.

When the sun rose the next morning he saw that it lay almost directly
to his right as he stood upon the beach instead of straight out across
the water as heretofore, and so he reasoned that the shore line had
trended toward the west. All the second day he continued his rapid
course, and when Tarzan of the Apes sought speed, he passed through the
middle terrace of the forest with the rapidity of a squirrel.

That night the sun set straight out across the water opposite the land,
and then the ape-man guessed at last the truth that he had been

Rokoff had set him ashore upon an island.

He might have known it! If there was any plan that would render his
position more harrowing he should have known that such would be the one
adopted by the Russian, and what could be more terrible than to leave
him to a lifetime of suspense upon an uninhabited island?

Rokoff doubtless had sailed directly to the mainland, where it would be
a comparatively easy thing for him to find the means of delivering the
infant Jack into the hands of the cruel and savage foster-parents, who,
as his note had threatened, would have the upbringing of the child.

Tarzan shuddered as he thought of the cruel suffering the little one
must endure in such a life, even though he might fall into the hands of
individuals whose intentions toward him were of the kindest. The
ape-man had had sufficient experience with the lower savages of Africa
to know that even there may be found the cruder virtues of charity and
humanity; but their lives were at best but a series of terrible
privations, dangers, and sufferings.

Then there was the horrid after-fate that awaited the child as he grew
to manhood. The horrible practices that would form a part of his
life-training would alone be sufficient to bar him forever from
association with those of his own race and station in life.

A cannibal! His little boy a savage man-eater! It was too horrible to

The filed teeth, the slit nose, the little face painted hideously.
Tarzan groaned. Could he but feel the throat of the Russ fiend beneath
his steel fingers!

And Jane!

What tortures of doubt and fear and uncertainty she must be suffering.
He felt that his position was infinitely less terrible than hers, for
he at least knew that one of his loved ones was safe at home, while she
had no idea of the whereabouts of either her husband or her son.

It is well for Tarzan that he did not guess the truth, for the
knowledge would have but added a hundredfold to his suffering.

As he moved slowly through the jungle his mind absorbed by his gloomy
thoughts, there presently came to his ears a strange scratching sound
which he could not translate.

Cautiously he moved in the direction from which it emanated, presently
coming upon a huge panther pinned beneath a fallen tree.

As Tarzan approached, the beast turned, snarling, toward him,
struggling to extricate itself; but one great limb across its back and
the smaller entangling branches pinioning its legs prevented it from
moving but a few inches in any direction.

The ape-man stood before the helpless cat fitting an arrow to his bow
that he might dispatch the beast that otherwise must die of starvation;
but even as he drew back the shaft a sudden whim stayed his hand.

Why rob the poor creature of life and liberty, when it would be so easy
a thing to restore both to it! He was sure from the fact that the
panther moved all its limbs in its futile struggle for freedom that its
spine was uninjured, and for the same reason he knew that none of its
limbs were broken.

Relaxing his bowstring, he returned the arrow to the quiver and,
throwing the bow about his shoulder, stepped closer to the pinioned

On his lips was the soothing, purring sound that the great cats
themselves made when contented and happy. It was the nearest approach
to a friendly advance that Tarzan could make in the language of Sheeta.

The panther ceased his snarling and eyed the ape-man closely. To lift
the tree's great weight from the animal it was necessary to come within
reach of those long, strong talons, and when the tree had been removed
the man would be totally at the mercy of the savage beast; but to
Tarzan of the Apes fear was a thing unknown.

Having decided, he acted promptly.

Unhesitatingly, he stepped into the tangle of branches close to the
panther's side, still voicing his friendly and conciliatory purr. The
cat turned his head toward the man, eyeing him steadily - questioningly.
The long fangs were bared, but more in preparedness than threat.

Tarzan put a broad shoulder beneath the bole of the tree, and as he did
so his bare leg pressed against the cat's silken side, so close was the
man to the great beast.

Slowly Tarzan extended his giant thews.

The great tree with its entangling branches rose gradually from the
panther, who, feeling the encumbering weight diminish, quickly crawled
from beneath. Tarzan let the tree fall back to earth, and the two
beasts turned to look upon one another.

A grim smile lay upon the ape-man's lips, for he knew that he had taken
his life in his hands to free this savage jungle fellow; nor would it
have surprised him had the cat sprung upon him the instant that it had
been released.

But it did not do so. Instead, it stood a few paces from the tree
watching the ape-man clamber out of the maze of fallen branches.

Once outside, Tarzan was not three paces from the panther. He might
have taken to the higher branches of the trees upon the opposite side,
for Sheeta cannot climb to the heights to which the ape-man can go; but
something, a spirit of bravado perhaps, prompted him to approach the
panther as though to discover if any feeling of gratitude would prompt
the beast to friendliness.

As he approached the mighty cat the creature stepped warily to one
side, and the ape-man brushed past him within a foot of the dripping
jaws, and as he continued on through the forest the panther followed on
behind him, as a hound follows at heel.

For a long time Tarzan could not tell whether the beast was following
out of friendly feelings or merely stalking him against the time he
should be hungry; but finally he was forced to believe that the former
incentive it was that prompted the animal's action.

Later in the day the scent of a deer sent Tarzan into the trees, and
when he had dropped his noose about the animal's neck he called to
Sheeta, using a purr similar to that which he had utilized to pacify
the brute's suspicions earlier in the day, but a trifle louder and more

It was similar to that which he had heard panthers use after a kill
when they had been hunting in pairs.

Almost immediately there was a crashing of the underbrush close at
hand, and the long, lithe body of his strange companion broke into view.

At sight of the body of Bara and the smell of blood the panther gave
forth a shrill scream, and a moment later two beasts were feeding side
by side upon the tender meat of the deer.

For several days this strangely assorted pair roamed the jungle

When one made a kill he called the other, and thus they fed well and

On one occasion as they were dining upon the carcass of a boar that
Sheeta had dispatched, Numa, the lion, grim and terrible, broke through
the tangled grasses close beside them.

With an angry, warning roar he sprang forward to chase them from their
kill. Sheeta bounded into a near-by thicket, while Tarzan took to the
low branches of an overhanging tree.

Here the ape-man unloosed his grass rope from about his neck, and as
Numa stood above the body of the boar, challenging head erect, he
dropped the sinuous noose about the maned neck, drawing the stout
strands taut with a sudden jerk. At the same time he called shrilly
to Sheeta, as he drew the struggling lion upward until only his hind
feet touched the ground.

Quickly he made the rope fast to a stout branch, and as the panther, in
answer to his summons, leaped into sight, Tarzan dropped to the earth
beside the struggling and infuriated Numa, and with a long sharp knife
sprang upon him at one side even as Sheeta did upon the other.

The panther tore and rent Numa upon the right, while the ape-man struck
home with his stone knife upon the other, so that before the mighty
clawing of the king of beasts had succeeded in parting the rope he hung
quite dead and harmless in the noose.

And then upon the jungle air there rose in unison from two savage
throats the victory cry of the bull-ape and the panther, blended into
one frightful and uncanny scream.

As the last notes died away in a long-drawn, fearsome wail, a score of
painted warriors, drawing their long war-canoe upon the beach, halted
to stare in the direction of the jungle and to listen.

Chapter 5


By the time that Tarzan had travelled entirely about the coast of the
island, and made several trips inland from various points, he was sure
that he was the only human being upon it.

Nowhere had he found any sign that men had stopped even temporarily
upon this shore, though, of course, he knew that so quickly does the
rank vegetation of the tropics erase all but the most permanent of
human monuments that he might be in error in his deductions.

The day following the killing of Numa, Tarzan and Sheeta came upon the
tribe of Akut. At sight of the panther the great apes took to flight,
but after a time Tarzan succeeded in recalling them.

It had occurred to him that it would be at least an interesting
experiment to attempt to reconcile these hereditary enemies. He
welcomed anything that would occupy his time and his mind beyond the
filling of his belly and the gloomy thoughts to which he fell prey the
moment that he became idle.

To communicate his plan to the apes was not a particularly difficult
matter, though their narrow and limited vocabulary was strained in the
effort; but to impress upon the little, wicked brain of Sheeta that he
was to hunt with and not for his legitimate prey proved a task almost
beyond the powers of the ape-man.

Tarzan, among his other weapons, possessed a long, stout cudgel, and
after fastening his rope about the panther's neck he used this
instrument freely upon the snarling beast, endeavouring in this way to
impress upon its memory that it must not attack the great, shaggy
manlike creatures that had approached more closely once they had seen
the purpose of the rope about Sheeta's neck.

That the cat did not turn and rend Tarzan is something of a miracle
which may possibly be accounted for by the fact that twice when it
turned growling upon the ape-man he had rapped it sharply upon its
sensitive nose, inculcating in its mind thereby a most wholesome fear
of the cudgel and the ape-beasts behind it.

It is a question if the original cause of his attachment for Tarzan was
still at all clear in the mind of the panther, though doubtless some
subconscious suggestion, superinduced by this primary reason and aided
and abetted by the habit of the past few days, did much to compel the
beast to tolerate treatment at his hands that would have sent it at the
throat of any other creature.

Then, too, there was the compelling force of the manmind exerting its
powerful influence over this creature of a lower order, and, after all,
it may have been this that proved the most potent factor in Tarzan's
supremacy over Sheeta and the other beasts of the jungle that had from
time to time fallen under his domination.

Be that as it may, for days the man, the panther, and the great apes
roamed their savage haunts side by side, making their kills together
and sharing them with one another, and of all the fierce and savage
band none was more terrible than the smooth-skinned, powerful beast
that had been but a few short months before a familiar figure in many a
London drawing room.

Sometimes the beasts separated to follow their own inclinations for an
hour or a day, and it was upon one of these occasions when the ape-man
had wandered through the tree-tops toward the beach, and was stretched
in the hot sun upon the sand, that from the low summit of a near-by
promontory a pair of keen eyes discovered him.

For a moment the owner of the eyes looked in astonishment at the figure
of the savage white man basking in the rays of that hot, tropic sun;
then he turned, making a sign to some one behind him. Presently
another pair of eyes were looking down upon the ape-man, and then
another and another, until a full score of hideously trapped, savage
warriors were lying upon their bellies along the crest of the ridge
watching the white-skinned stranger.

They were down wind from Tarzan, and so their scent was not carried to
him, and as his back was turned half toward them he did not see their
cautious advance over the edge of the promontory and down through the
rank grass toward the sandy beach where he lay.

Big fellows they were, all of them, their barbaric headdresses and

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Online LibraryEdgar Rice BurroughsBeasts of Tarzan → online text (page 3 of 15)