Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 128

heat of the equatorial
sun. Peace had reigned within the tribe for weeks and no alien enemy
had trespassed upon its preserves from without. To the ape-mind all
this was sufficient evidence that the future would be identical with
the immediate past--that Utopia would persist.

The sentinels, now from habit become a fixed tribal custom, either
relaxed their vigilance or entirely deserted their posts, as the whim
seized them. The tribe was far scattered in search of food. Thus may
peace and prosperity undermine the safety of the most primitive
community even as it does that of the most cultured.

Even the individuals became less watchful and alert, so that one might
have thought Numa and Sabor and Sheeta entirely deleted from the scheme
of things. The shes and the balus roamed unguarded through the sullen
jungle, while the greedy males foraged far afield, and thus it was that
Teeka and Gazan, her balu, hunted upon the extreme southern edge of the
tribe with no great male near them.

Still farther south there moved through the forest a sinister figure--a
huge bull ape, maddened by solitude and defeat. A week before he had
contended for the kingship of a tribe far distant, and now battered,
and still sore, he roamed the wilderness an outcast. Later he might
return to his own tribe and submit to the will of the hairy brute he
had attempted to dethrone; but for the time being he dared not do so,
since he had sought not only the crown but the wives, as well, of his
lord and master. It would require an entire moon at least to bring
forgetfulness to him he had wronged, and so Toog wandered a strange
jungle, grim, terrible, hate-filled.

It was in this mental state that Toog came unexpectedly upon a young
she feeding alone in the jungle--a stranger she, lithe and strong and
beautiful beyond compare. Toog caught his breath and slunk quickly to
one side of the trail where the dense foliage of the tropical
underbrush concealed him from Teeka while permitting him to feast his
eyes upon her loveliness.

But not alone were they concerned with Teeka--they roved the
surrounding jungle in search of the bulls and cows and balus of her
tribe, though principally for the bulls. When one covets a she of an
alien tribe one must take into consideration the great, fierce, hairy
guardians who seldom wander far from their wards and who will fight a
stranger to the death in protection of the mate or offspring of a
fellow, precisely

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