Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 43

none other than
God could inspire such awe in the hearts of the Gomangani, or stop
their mouths so effectually without recourse to arrows or spears.
Tarzan had come to look with contempt upon the blacks, principally
because of their garrulity. The small apes talked a great deal and ran
away from an enemy. The big, old bulls of Kerchak talked but little
and fought upon the slightest provocation. Numa, the lion, was not
given to loquacity, yet of all the jungle folk there were few who
fought more often than he.

Tarzan witnessed strange things that night, none of which he
understood, and, perhaps because they were strange, he thought that
they must have to do with the God he could not understand. He saw
three youths receive their first war spears in a weird ceremony which
the grotesque witch-doctor strove successfully to render uncanny and
awesome.

Hugely interested, he watched the slashing of the three brown arms and
the exchange of blood with Mbonga, the chief, in the rites of the
ceremony of blood brotherhood. He saw the zebra's tail dipped into a
caldron of water above which the witch-doctor had made magical passes
the while he danced and leaped about it, and he saw the breasts and
foreheads of each of the three novitiates sprinkled with the charmed
liquid. Could the ape-man have known the purpose of this act, that it
was intended to render the recipient invulnerable to the attacks of his
enemies and fearless in the face of any danger, he would doubtless have
leaped into the village street and appropriated the zebra's tail and a
portion of the contents of the caldron.

But he did not know, and so he only wondered, not alone at what he saw
but at the strange sensations which played up and down his naked spine,
sensations induced, doubtless, by the same hypnotic influence which
held the black spectators in tense awe upon the verge of a hysteric
upheaval.

The longer Tarzan watched, the more convinced he became that his eyes
were upon God, and with the conviction came determination to have word
with the deity. With Tarzan of the Apes, to think was to act.

The people of Mbonga were keyed to the highest pitch of hysterical
excitement. They needed little to release the accumulated pressure of
static nerve force which the terrorizing mummery of the witch-doctor
had induced.

A lion roared, suddenly and loud, close without the palisade. The
blacks started nervously, dropping into utter silence as they listened
for a repetition of that all-too-familiar and always terrorizing

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