Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 51

Of all their enemies there was
none they gave a wider berth than they gave Histah, the snake.

Tarzan knew that Teeka was peculiarly fearful of this silent, repulsive
foe, and as the scene broke upon his vision, it was the action of Teeka
which filled him with the greatest wonder, for at the moment that he
saw her, the she-ape leaped upon the glistening body of the snake, and
as the mighty folds encircled her as well as her offspring, she made no
effort to escape, but instead grasped the writhing body in a futile
effort to tear it from her screaming balu.

Tarzan knew all too well how deep-rooted was Teeka's terror of Histah.
He scarce could believe the testimony of his own eyes then, when they
told him that she had voluntarily rushed into that deadly embrace. Nor
was Teeka's innate dread of the monster much greater than Tarzan's own.
Never, willingly, had he touched a snake. Why, he could not say, for
he would admit fear of nothing; nor was it fear, but rather an inherent
repulsion bequeathed to him by many generations of civilized ancestors,
and back of them, perhaps, by countless myriads of such as Teeka, in
the breasts of each of which had lurked the same nameless terror of the
slimy reptile.

Yet Tarzan did not hesitate more than had Teeka, but leaped upon Histah
with all the speed and impetuosity that he would have shown had he been
springing upon Bara, the deer, to make a kill for food. Thus beset the
snake writhed and twisted horribly; but not for an instant did it loose
its hold upon any of its intended victims, for it had included the
ape-man in its cold embrace the minute that he had fallen upon it.

Still clinging to the tree, the mighty reptile held the three as though
they had been without weight, the while it sought to crush the life
from them. Tarzan had drawn his knife and this he now plunged rapidly
into the body of the enemy; but the encircling folds promised to sap
his life before he had inflicted a death wound upon the snake. Yet on
he fought, nor once did he seek to escape the horrid death that
confronted him--his sole aim was to slay Histah and thus free Teeka and
her balu.

The great, wide-gaping jaws of the snake turned and hovered above him.
The elastic maw, which could accommodate a rabbit or a horned buck with
equal facility, yawned for him; but Histah, in turning his attention
upon

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