Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 40

silver orb. Now that he had clambered to the highest point
within his reach, he discovered, to his surprise, that Goro was as far
away as when he viewed him from the ground. He thought that Goro was
attempting to elude him.

"Come, Goro!" he cried, "Tarzan of the Apes will not harm you!" But
still the moon held aloof.

"Tell me," he continued, "if you be the great king who sends Ara, the
lightning; who makes the great noise and the mighty winds, and sends
the waters down upon the jungle people when the days are dark and it is
cold. Tell me, Goro, are you God?"

Of course he did not pronounce God as you or I would pronounce His
name, for Tarzan knew naught of the spoken language of his English
forbears; but he had a name of his own invention for each of the little
bugs which constituted the alphabet. Unlike the apes he was not
satisfied merely to have a mental picture of the things he knew, he
must have a word descriptive of each. In reading he grasped a word in
its entirety; but when he spoke the words he had learned from the books
of his father, he pronounced each according to the names he had given
the various little bugs which occurred in it, usually giving the gender
prefix for each.

Thus it was an imposing word which Tarzan made of GOD. The masculine
prefix of the apes is BU, the feminine MU; g Tarzan had named LA, o he
pronounced TU, and d was MO. So the word God evolved itself into
BULAMUTUMUMO, or, in English, he-g-she-o-she-d.

Similarly he had arrived at a strange and wonderful spelling of his own
name. Tarzan is derived from the two ape words TAR and ZAN, meaning
white skin. It was given him by his foster mother, Kala, the great
she-ape. When Tarzan first put it into the written language of his own
people he had not yet chanced upon either WHITE or SKIN in the
dictionary; but in a primer he had seen the picture of a little white
boy and so he wrote his name BUMUDE-MUTOMURO, or he-boy.

To follow Tarzan's strange system of spelling would be laborious as
well as futile, and so we shall in the future, as we have in the past,
adhere to the more familiar forms of our grammar school copybooks. It
would tire you to remember that DO meant b, TU o, and RO y, and that to
say he-boy you must prefix

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