Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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Jungle Tales of Tarzan


Edgar Rice Burroughs



1 Tarzan's First Love
2 The Capture of Tarzan
3 The Fight for the Balu
4 The God of Tarzan
5 Tarzan and the Black Boy
6 The Witch-Doctor Seeks Vengeance
7 The End of Bukawai
8 The Lion
9 The Nightmare
10 The Battle for Teeka
11 A Jungle Joke
12 Tarzan Rescues the Moon


Tarzan's First Love

TEEKA, STRETCHED AT luxurious ease in the shade of the tropical forest,
presented, unquestionably, a most alluring picture of young, feminine
loveliness. Or at least so thought Tarzan of the Apes, who squatted
upon a low-swinging branch in a near-by tree and looked down upon her.

Just to have seen him there, lolling upon the swaying bough of the
jungle-forest giant, his brown skin mottled by the brilliant equatorial
sunlight which percolated through the leafy canopy of green above him,
his clean-limbed body relaxed in graceful ease, his shapely head partly
turned in contemplative absorption and his intelligent, gray eyes
dreamily devouring the object of their devotion, you would have thought
him the reincarnation of some demigod of old.

You would not have guessed that in infancy he had suckled at the breast
of a hideous, hairy she-ape, nor that in all his conscious past since
his parents had passed away in the little cabin by the landlocked
harbor at the jungle's verge, he had known no other associates than the
sullen bulls and the snarling cows of the tribe of Kerchak, the great

Nor, could you have read the thoughts which passed through that active,
healthy brain, the longings and desires and aspirations which the sight
of Teeka inspired, would you have been any more inclined to give
credence to the reality of the origin of the ape-man. For, from his
thoughts alone, you could never have gleaned the truth - that he had
been born to a gentle English lady or that his sire had been an English
nobleman of time-honored lineage.

Lost to Tarzan of the Apes was the truth of his origin. That he was
John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, with a seat in the House of Lords, he did
not know, nor, knowing, would have understood.

Yes, Teeka was indeed beautiful!

Of course Kala had been beautiful - one's mother is always that - but
Teeka was beautiful in a way all her own, an indescribable sort of way
which Tarzan was just beginning to sense in a rather vague and hazy

For years had Tarzan and Teeka been play-fellows, and Teeka still
continued to be playful while the young bulls of her own age were
rapidly becoming surly and morose. Tarzan, if he gave the matter much
thought at all, probably reasoned that his growing attachment for the
young female could be easily accounted for by the fact that of the
former playmates she and he alone retained any desire to frolic as of

But today, as he sat gazing upon her, he found himself noting the
beauties of Teeka's form and features - something he never had done
before, since none of them had aught to do with Teeka's ability to race
nimbly through the lower terraces of the forest in the primitive games
of tag and hide-and-go-seek which Tarzan's fertile brain evolved.
Tarzan scratched his head, running his fingers deep into the shock of
black hair which framed his shapely, boyish face - he scratched his head
and sighed. Teeka's new-found beauty became as suddenly his despair.
He envied her the handsome coat of hair which covered her body. His
own smooth, brown hide he hated with a hatred born of disgust and
contempt. Years back he had harbored a hope that some day he, too,
would be clothed in hair as were all his brothers and sisters; but of
late he had been forced to abandon the delectable dream.

Then there were Teeka's great teeth, not so large as the males, of
course, but still mighty, handsome things by comparison with Tarzan's
feeble white ones. And her beetling brows, and broad, flat nose, and
her mouth! Tarzan had often practiced making his mouth into a little
round circle and then puffing out his cheeks while he winked his eyes
rapidly; but he felt that he could never do it in the same cute and
irresistible way in which Teeka did it.

And as he watched her that afternoon, and wondered, a young bull ape
who had been lazily foraging for food beneath the damp, matted carpet
of decaying vegetation at the roots of a near-by tree lumbered
awkwardly in Teeka's direction. The other apes of the tribe of Kerchak
moved listlessly about or lolled restfully in the midday heat of the
equatorial jungle. From time to time one or another of them had passed
close to Teeka, and Tarzan had been uninterested. Why was it then that
his brows contracted and his muscles tensed as he saw Taug pause beside
the young she and then squat down close to her?

Tarzan always had liked Taug. Since childhood they had romped
together. Side by side they had squatted near the water, their quick,
strong fingers ready to leap forth and seize Pisah, the fish, should
that wary denizen of the cool depths dart surfaceward to the lure of
the insects Tarzan tossed upon the face of the pool.

Together they had baited Tublat and teased Numa, the lion. Why, then,
should Tarzan feel the rise of the short hairs at the nape of his neck
merely because Taug sat close to Teeka?

It is true that Taug was no longer the frolicsome ape of yesterday.
When his snarling-muscles bared his giant fangs no one could longer
imagine that Taug was in as playful a mood as when he and Tarzan had
rolled upon the turf in mimic battle. The Taug of today was a huge,
sullen bull ape, somber and forbidding. Yet he and Tarzan never had

For a few minutes the young ape-man watched Taug press closer to Teeka.
He saw the rough caress of the huge paw as it stroked the sleek
shoulder of the she, and then Tarzan of the Apes slipped catlike to the
ground and approached the two.

As he came his upper lip curled into a snarl, exposing his fighting
fangs, and a deep growl rumbled from his cavernous chest. Taug looked
up, batting his blood-shot eyes. Teeka half raised herself and looked
at Tarzan. Did she guess the cause of his perturbation? Who may say?
At any rate, she was feminine, and so she reached up and scratched Taug
behind one of his small, flat ears.

Tarzan saw, and in the instant that he saw, Teeka was no longer the
little playmate of an hour ago; instead she was a wondrous thing - the
most wondrous in the world - and a possession for which Tarzan would
fight to the death against Taug or any other who dared question his
right of proprietorship.

Stooped, his muscles rigid and one great shoulder turned toward the
young bull, Tarzan of the Apes sidled nearer and nearer. His face was
partly averted, but his keen gray eyes never left those of Taug, and as
he came, his growls increased in depth and volume.

Taug rose upon his short legs, bristling. His fighting fangs were
bared. He, too, sidled, stiff-legged, and growled.

"Teeka is Tarzan's," said the ape-man, in the low gutturals of the
great anthropoids.

"Teeka is Taug's," replied the bull ape.

Thaka and Numgo and Gunto, disturbed by the growlings of the two young
bulls, looked up half apathetic, half interested. They were sleepy,
but they sensed a fight. It would break the monotony of the humdrum
jungle life they led.

Coiled about his shoulders was Tarzan's long grass rope, in his hand
was the hunting knife of the long-dead father he had never known. In
Taug's little brain lay a great respect for the shiny bit of sharp
metal which the ape-boy knew so well how to use. With it had he slain
Tublat, his fierce foster father, and Bolgani, the gorilla. Taug knew
these things, and so he came warily, circling about Tarzan in search of
an opening. The latter, made cautious because of his lesser bulk and
the inferiority of his natural armament, followed similar tactics.

For a time it seemed that the altercation would follow the way of the
majority of such differences between members of the tribe and that one
of them would finally lose interest and wander off to prosecute some
other line of endeavor. Such might have been the end of it had the
CASUS BELLI been other than it was; but Teeka was flattered at the
attention that was being drawn to her and by the fact that these two
young bulls were contemplating battle on her account. Such a thing
never before had occurred in Teeka's brief life. She had seen other
bulls battling for other and older shes, and in the depth of her wild
little heart she had longed for the day when the jungle grasses would
be reddened with the blood of mortal combat for her fair sake.

So now she squatted upon her haunches and insulted both her admirers
impartially. She hurled taunts at them for their cowardice, and called
them vile names, such as Histah, the snake, and Dango, the hyena. She
threatened to call Mumga to chastise them with a stick - Mumga, who was
so old that she could no longer climb and so toothless that she was
forced to confine her diet almost exclusively to bananas and grub-worms.

The apes who were watching heard and laughed. Taug was infuriated. He
made a sudden lunge for Tarzan, but the ape-boy leaped nimbly to one
side, eluding him, and with the quickness of a cat wheeled and leaped
back again to close quarters. His hunting knife was raised above his
head as he came in, and he aimed a vicious blow at Taug's neck. The
ape wheeled to dodge the weapon so that the keen blade struck him but a
glancing blow upon the shoulder.

The spurt of red blood brought a shrill cry of delight from Teeka. Ah,
but this was something worth while! She glanced about to see if others
had witnessed this evidence of her popularity. Helen of Troy was never
one whit more proud than was Teeka at that moment.

If Teeka had not been so absorbed in her own vaingloriousness she might
have noted the rustling of leaves in the tree above her - a rustling
which was not caused by any movement of the wind, since there was no
wind. And had she looked up she might have seen a sleek body crouching
almost directly over her and wicked yellow eyes glaring hungrily down
upon her, but Teeka did not look up.

With his wound Taug had backed off growling horribly. Tarzan had
followed him, screaming insults at him, and menacing him with his
brandishing blade. Teeka moved from beneath the tree in an effort to
keep close to the duelists.

The branch above Teeka bent and swayed a trifle with the movement of
the body of the watcher stretched along it. Taug had halted now and
was preparing to make a new stand. His lips were flecked with foam,
and saliva drooled from his jowls. He stood with head lowered and arms
outstretched, preparing for a sudden charge to close quarters. Could
he but lay his mighty hands upon that soft, brown skin the battle would
be his. Taug considered Tarzan's manner of fighting unfair. He would
not close. Instead, he leaped nimbly just beyond the reach of Taug's
muscular fingers.

The ape-boy had as yet never come to a real trial of strength with a
bull ape, other than in play, and so he was not at all sure that it
would be safe to put his muscles to the test in a life and death
struggle. Not that he was afraid, for Tarzan knew nothing of fear.
The instinct of self-preservation gave him caution - that was all. He
took risks only when it seemed necessary, and then he would hesitate at

His own method of fighting seemed best fitted to his build and to his
armament. His teeth, while strong and sharp, were, as weapons of
offense, pitifully inadequate by comparison with the mighty fighting
fangs of the anthropoids. By dancing about, just out of reach of an
antagonist, Tarzan could do infinite injury with his long, sharp
hunting knife, and at the same time escape many of the painful and
dangerous wounds which would be sure to follow his falling into the
clutches of a bull ape.

And so Taug charged and bellowed like a bull, and Tarzan of the Apes
danced lightly to this side and that, hurling jungle billingsgate at
his foe, the while he nicked him now and again with his knife.

There were lulls in the fighting when the two would stand panting for
breath, facing each other, mustering their wits and their forces for a
new onslaught. It was during a pause such as this that Taug chanced to
let his eyes rove beyond his foeman. Instantly the entire aspect of
the ape altered. Rage left his countenance to be supplanted by an
expression of fear.

With a cry that every ape there recognized, Taug turned and fled. No
need to question him - his warning proclaimed the near presence of their
ancient enemy.

Tarzan started to seek safety, as did the other members of the tribe,
and as he did so he heard a panther's scream mingled with the
frightened cry of a she-ape. Taug heard, too; but he did not pause in
his flight.

With the ape-boy, however, it was different. He looked back to see if
any member of the tribe was close pressed by the beast of prey, and the
sight that met his eyes filled them with an expression of horror.

Teeka it was who cried out in terror as she fled across a little
clearing toward the trees upon the opposite side, for after her leaped
Sheeta, the panther, in easy, graceful bounds. Sheeta appeared to be
in no hurry. His meat was assured, since even though the ape reached
the trees ahead of him she could not climb beyond his clutches before
he could be upon her.

Tarzan saw that Teeka must die. He cried to Taug and the other bulls
to hasten to Teeka's assistance, and at the same time he ran toward the
pursuing beast, taking down his rope as he came. Tarzan knew that once
the great bulls were aroused none of the jungle, not even Numa, the
lion, was anxious to measure fangs with them, and that if all those of
the tribe who chanced to be present today would charge, Sheeta, the
great cat, would doubtless turn tail and run for his life.

Taug heard, as did the others, but no one came to Tarzan's assistance
or Teeka's rescue, and Sheeta was rapidly closing up the distance
between himself and his prey.

The ape-boy, leaping after the panther, cried aloud to the beast in an
effort to turn it from Teeka or otherwise distract its attention until
the she-ape could gain the safety of the higher branches where Sheeta
dared not go. He called the panther every opprobrious name that fell
to his tongue. He dared him to stop and do battle with him; but Sheeta
only loped on after the luscious titbit now almost within his reach.

Tarzan was not far behind and he was gaining, but the distance was so
short that he scarce hoped to overhaul the carnivore before it had
felled Teeka. In his right hand the boy swung his grass rope above his
head as he ran. He hated to chance a miss, for the distance was much
greater than he ever had cast before except in practice. It was the
full length of his grass rope which separated him from Sheeta, and yet
there was no other thing to do. He could not reach the brute's side
before it overhauled Teeka. He must chance a throw.

And just as Teeka sprang for the lower limb of a great tree, and Sheeta
rose behind her in a long, sinuous leap, the coils of the ape-boy's
grass rope shot swiftly through the air, straightening into a long thin
line as the open noose hovered for an instant above the savage head and
the snarling jaws. Then it settled - clean and true about the tawny
neck it settled, and Tarzan, with a quick twist of his rope-hand, drew
the noose taut, bracing himself for the shock when Sheeta should have
taken up the slack.

Just short of Teeka's glossy rump the cruel talons raked the air as the
rope tightened and Sheeta was brought to a sudden stop - a stop that
snapped the big beast over upon his back. Instantly Sheeta was
up - with glaring eyes, and lashing tail, and gaping jaws, from which
issued hideous cries of rage and disappointment.

He saw the ape-boy, the cause of his discomfiture, scarce forty feet
before him, and Sheeta charged.

Teeka was safe now; Tarzan saw to that by a quick glance into the tree
whose safety she had gained not an instant too soon, and Sheeta was
charging. It was useless to risk his life in idle and unequal combat
from which no good could come; but could he escape a battle with the
enraged cat? And if he was forced to fight, what chance had he to
survive? Tarzan was constrained to admit that his position was aught
but a desirable one. The trees were too far to hope to reach in time
to elude the cat. Tarzan could but stand facing that hideous charge.
In his right hand he grasped his hunting knife - a puny, futile thing
indeed by comparison with the great rows of mighty teeth which lined
Sheeta's powerful jaws, and the sharp talons encased within his padded
paws; yet the young Lord Greystoke faced it with the same courageous
resignation with which some fearless ancestor went down to defeat and
death on Senlac Hill by Hastings.

From safety points in the trees the great apes watched, screaming
hatred at Sheeta and advice at Tarzan, for the progenitors of man have,
naturally, many human traits. Teeka was frightened. She screamed at
the bulls to hasten to Tarzan's assistance; but the bulls were
otherwise engaged - principally in giving advice and making faces.
Anyway, Tarzan was not a real Mangani, so why should they risk their
lives in an effort to protect him?

And now Sheeta was almost upon the lithe, naked body, and - the body was
not there. Quick as was the great cat, the ape-boy was quicker. He
leaped to one side almost as the panther's talons were closing upon
him, and as Sheeta went hurtling to the ground beyond, Tarzan was
racing for the safety of the nearest tree.

The panther recovered himself almost immediately and, wheeling, tore
after his prey, the ape-boy's rope dragging along the ground behind
him. In doubling back after Tarzan, Sheeta had passed around a low
bush. It was a mere nothing in the path of any jungle creature of the
size and weight of Sheeta - provided it had no trailing rope dangling
behind. But Sheeta was handicapped by such a rope, and as he leaped
once again after Tarzan of the Apes the rope encircled the small bush,
became tangled in it and brought the panther to a sudden stop. An
instant later Tarzan was safe among the higher branches of a small tree
into which Sheeta could not follow him.

Here he perched, hurling twigs and epithets at the raging feline
beneath him. The other members of the tribe now took up the
bombardment, using such hard-shelled fruits and dead branches as came
within their reach, until Sheeta, goaded to frenzy and snapping at the
grass rope, finally succeeded in severing its strands. For a moment
the panther stood glaring first at one of his tormentors and then at
another, until, with a final scream of rage, he turned and slunk off
into the tangled mazes of the jungle.

A half hour later the tribe was again upon the ground, feeding as
though naught had occurred to interrupt the somber dullness of their
lives. Tarzan had recovered the greater part of his rope and was busy
fashioning a new noose, while Teeka squatted close behind him, in
evident token that her choice was made.

Taug eyed them sullenly. Once when he came close, Teeka bared her
fangs and growled at him, and Tarzan showed his canines in an ugly
snarl; but Taug did not provoke a quarrel. He seemed to accept after
the manner of his kind the decision of the she as an indication that he
had been vanquished in his battle for her favors.

Later in the day, his rope repaired, Tarzan took to the trees in search
of game. More than his fellows he required meat, and so, while they
were satisfied with fruits and herbs and beetles, which could be
discovered without much effort upon their part, Tarzan spent
considerable time hunting the game animals whose flesh alone satisfied
the cravings of his stomach and furnished sustenance and strength to
the mighty thews which, day by day, were building beneath the soft,
smooth texture of his brown hide.

Taug saw him depart, and then, quite casually, the big beast hunted
closer and closer to Teeka in his search for food. At last he was
within a few feet of her, and when he shot a covert glance at her he
saw that she was appraising him and that there was no evidence of anger
upon her face.

Taug expanded his great chest and rolled about on his short legs,
making strange growlings in his throat. He raised his lips, baring his
fangs. My, but what great, beautiful fangs he had! Teeka could not but
notice them. She also let her eyes rest in admiration upon Taug's
beetling brows and his short, powerful neck. What a beautiful creature
he was indeed!

Taug, flattered by the unconcealed admiration in her eyes, strutted
about, as proud and as vain as a peacock. Presently he began to
inventory his assets, mentally, and shortly he found himself comparing
them with those of his rival.

Taug grunted, for there was no comparison. How could one compare his
beautiful coat with the smooth and naked hideousness of Tarzan's bare
hide? Who could see beauty in the stingy nose of the Tarmangani after
looking at Taug's broad nostrils? And Tarzan's eyes! Hideous things,
showing white about them, and entirely unrimmed with red. Taug knew
that his own blood-shot eyes were beautiful, for he had seen them
reflected in the glassy surface of many a drinking pool.

The bull drew nearer to Teeka, finally squatting close against her.
When Tarzan returned from his hunting a short time later it was to see
Teeka contentedly scratching the back of his rival.

Tarzan was disgusted. Neither Taug nor Teeka saw him as he swung
through the trees into the glade. He paused a moment, looking at them;
then, with a sorrowful grimace, he turned and faded away into the
labyrinth of leafy boughs and festooned moss out of which he had come.

Tarzan wished to be as far away from the cause of his heartache as he
could. He was suffering the first pangs of blighted love, and he
didn't quite know what was the matter with him. He thought that he was
angry with Taug, and so he couldn't understand why it was that he had
run away instead of rushing into mortal combat with the destroyer of
his happiness.

He also thought that he was angry with Teeka, yet a vision of her many
beauties persisted in haunting him, so that he could only see her in
the light of love as the most desirable thing in the world.

The ape-boy craved affection. From babyhood until the time of her
death, when the poisoned arrow of Kulonga had pierced her savage heart,
Kala had represented to the English boy the sole object of love which
he had known.

In her wild, fierce way Kala had loved her adopted son, and Tarzan had
returned that love, though the outward demonstrations of it were no
greater than might have been expected from any other beast of the
jungle. It was not until he was bereft of her that the boy realized
how deep had been his attachment for his mother, for as such he looked
upon her.

In Teeka he had seen within the past few hours a substitute for
Kala - someone to fight for and to hunt for - someone to caress; but now
his dream was shattered. Something hurt within his breast. He placed
his hand over his heart and wondered what had happened to him. Vaguely
he attributed his pain to Teeka. The more he thought of Teeka as he
had last seen her, caressing Taug, the more the thing within his breast
hurt him.

Tarzan shook his head and growled; then on and on through the jungle he
swung, and the farther he traveled and the more he thought upon his
wrongs, the nearer he approached becoming an irreclaimable misogynist.

Two days later he was still hunting alone - very morose and very
unhappy; but he was determined never to return to the tribe. He could
not bear the thought of seeing Taug and Teeka always together. As he
swung upon a great limb Numa, the lion, and Sabor, the lioness, passed
beneath him, side by side, and Sabor leaned against the lion and bit
playfully at his cheek. It was a half-caress. Tarzan sighed and hurled
a nut at them.

Later he came upon several of Mbonga's black warriors. He was upon the
point of dropping his noose about the neck of one of them, who was a
little distance from his companions, when he became interested in the
thing which occupied the savages. They were building a cage in the
trail and covering it with leafy branches. When they had completed
their work the structure was scarcely visible.

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Online LibraryEdgar Rice BurroughsJungle Tales of Tarzan → online text (page 1 of 17)