Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 67

and feared lest,
should he succeed in recovering Momaya's lost child, much of the tribal
patronage and consequent fees would be diverted to the unclean one. As
Mbonga received, as chief, a certain proportion of the witch-doctor's
fees and could expect nothing from Bukawai, his heart and soul were,
quite naturally, wrapped up in the orthodox church.

But if Momaya could view with intrepid heart an excursion into the
jungle and a visit to the fear-haunted abode of Bukawai, she was not
likely to be deterred by threats of future punishment at the hands of
old Mbonga, whom she secretly despised. Yet she appeared to accede to
his injunctions, returning to her hut in silence.

She would have preferred starting upon her quest by day-light, but this
was now out of the question, since she must carry food and a weapon of
some sort--things which she never could pass out of the village with by
day without being subjected to curious questioning that surely would
come immediately to the ears of Mbonga.

So Momaya bided her time until night, and just before the gates of the
village were closed, she slipped through into the darkness and the
jungle. She was much frightened, but she set her face resolutely
toward the north, and though she paused often to listen, breathlessly,
for the huge cats which, here, were her greatest terror, she
nevertheless continued her way staunchly for several hours, until a low
moan a little to her right and behind her brought her to a sudden stop.

With palpitating heart the woman stood, scarce daring to breathe, and
then, very faintly but unmistakable to her keen ears, came the stealthy
crunching of twigs and grasses beneath padded feet.

All about Momaya grew the giant trees of the tropical jungle, festooned
with hanging vines and mosses. She seized upon the nearest and started
to clamber, apelike, to the branches above. As she did so, there was a
sudden rush of a great body behind her, a menacing roar that caused the
earth to tremble, and something crashed into the very creepers to which
she was clinging--but below her.

Momaya drew herself to safety among the leafy branches and thanked the
foresight which had prompted her to bring along the dried human ear
which hung from a cord about her neck. She always had known that that
ear was good medicine. It had been given her, when a girl, by the
witch-doctor of her town tribe, and was nothing like the poor, weak
medicine of Mbonga's witch-doctor.

All night Momaya clung to her perch,

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