Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 122

his branch trembling in every limb,
wide-eyed and panting. He looked all around him with his keen,
jungle-trained eyes, but he saw naught of the old man with the body of
Histah, the snake, but on his naked thigh the ape-man saw a
caterpillar, dropped from a branch above him. With a grimace he
flicked it off into the darkness beneath.

And so the night wore on, dream following dream, nightmare following
nightmare, until the distracted ape-man started like a frightened deer
at the rustling of the wind in the trees about him, or leaped to his
feet as the uncanny laugh of a hyena burst suddenly upon a momentary
jungle silence. But at last the tardy morning broke and a sick and
feverish Tarzan wound sluggishly through the dank and gloomy mazes of
the forest in search of water. His whole body seemed on fire, a great
sickness surged upward to his throat. He saw a tangle of almost
impenetrable thicket, and, like the wild beast he was, he crawled into
it to die alone and unseen, safe from the attacks of predatory
carnivora.

But he did not die. For a long time he wanted to; but presently nature
and an outraged stomach relieved themselves in their own therapeutic
manner, the ape-man broke into a violent perspiration and then fell
into a normal and untroubled sleep which persisted well into the
afternoon. When he awoke he found himself weak but no longer sick.

Once more he sought water, and after drinking deeply, took his way
slowly toward the cabin by the sea. In times of loneliness and trouble
it had long been his custom to seek there the quiet and restfulness
which he could find nowhere else.

As he approached the cabin and raised the crude latch which his father
had fashioned so many years before, two small, blood-shot eyes watched
him from the concealing foliage of the jungle close by. From beneath
shaggy, beetling brows they glared maliciously upon him, maliciously
and with a keen curiosity; then Tarzan entered the cabin and closed the
door after him. Here, with all the world shut out from him, he could
dream without fear of interruption. He could curl up and look at the
pictures in the strange things which were books, he could puzzle out
the printed word he had learned to read without knowledge of the spoken
language it represented, he could live in a wonderful world of which he
had no knowledge beyond the covers of his beloved books. Numa and
Sabor might

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