Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

through the slit was a wooden skewer. Metal ornaments dangled from her
ears, and upon her forehead and cheeks; upon her chin and the bridge of
her nose were tattooings in colors that were mellowed now by age. She
was naked except for a girdle of grasses about her waist. Altogether
she was very beautiful in her own estimation and even in the estimation
of the men of Mbonga's tribe, though she was of another people--a
trophy of war seized in her maidenhood by one of Mbonga's fighting men.

Her child was a boy of ten, lithe, straight and, for a black, handsome.
Tarzan looked upon the two from the concealing foliage of a near-by
bush. He was about to leap forth before them with a terrifying scream,
that he might enjoy the spectacle of their terror and their incontinent
flight; but of a sudden a new whim seized him. Here was a balu
fashioned as he himself was fashioned. Of course this one's skin was
black; but what of it? Tarzan had never seen a white man. In so far
as he knew, he was the sole representative of that strange form of life
upon the earth. The black boy should make an excellent balu for
Tarzan, since he had none of his own. He would tend him carefully,
feed him well, protect him as only Tarzan of the Apes could protect his
own, and teach him out of his half human, half bestial lore the secrets
of the jungle from its rotting surface vegetation to the high tossed
pinnacles of the forest's upper terraces.

* * *

Tarzan uncoiled his rope, and shook out the noose. The two before him,
all ignorant of the near presence of that terrifying form, continued
preoccupied in the search for shellfish, poking about in the mud with
short sticks.

Tarzan stepped from the jungle behind them; his noose lay open upon the
ground beside him. There was a quick movement of the right arm and the
noose rose gracefully into the air, hovered an instant above the head
of the unsuspecting youth, then settled. As it encompassed his body
below the shoulders, Tarzan gave a quick jerk that tightened it about
the boy's arms, pinioning them to his sides. A scream of terror broke
from the lad's lips, and as his mother turned, affrighted at his cry,
she saw him being dragged quickly toward a great white giant who stood
just beneath the shade of a near-by tree, scarcely a dozen long

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