Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

drawing his hind quarters far beneath his tawny
body, gathering himself for the sudden charge and the savage assault.
His eyes shot hungry fire. His great muscles quivered to the
excitement of the moment.

Pacco came a little nearer, halted, snorted, and wheeled. There was a
pattering of scurrying hoofs and the herd was gone; but Numa, the lion,
moved not. He was familiar with the ways of Pacco, the zebra. He knew
that he would return, though many times he might wheel and fly before
he summoned the courage to lead his harem and his offspring to the
water. There was the chance that Pacco might be frightened off
entirely. Numa had seen this happen before, and so he became almost
rigid lest he be the one to send them galloping, waterless, back to the
plain.

Again and again came Pacco and his family, and again and again did they
turn and flee; but each time they came closer to the river, until at
last the plump stallion dipped his velvet muzzle daintily into the
water. The others, stepping warily, approached their leader. Numa
selected a sleek, fat filly and his flaming eyes burned greedily as
they feasted upon her, for Numa, the lion, loves scarce anything better
than the meat of Pacco, perhaps because Pacco is, of all the
grass-eaters, the most difficult to catch.

Slowly the lion rose, and as he rose, a twig snapped beneath one of his
great, padded paws. Like a shot from a rifle he charged upon the
filly; but the snapped twig had been enough to startle the timorous
quarry, so that they were in instant flight simultaneously with Numa's
charge.

The stallion was last, and with a prodigious leap, the lion catapulted
through the air to seize him; but the snapping twig had robbed Numa of
his dinner, though his mighty talons raked the zebra's glossy rump,
leaving four crimson bars across the beautiful coat.

It was an angry Numa that quitted the river and prowled, fierce,
dangerous, and hungry, into the jungle. Far from particular now was
his appetite. Even Dango, the hyena, would have seemed a tidbit to
that ravenous maw. And in this temper it was that the lion came upon
the tribe of Kerchak, the great ape.

One does not look for Numa, the lion, this late in the morning. He
should be lying up asleep beside his last night's kill by now; but Numa
had made no kill last night. He was still hunting, hungrier than ever.

The anthropoids were

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