Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 78

huts, he
approached that from which rose the sounds of lamentation. A fire
burned brightly before the doorway as it did before other doorways in
the village. A few females squatted about, occasionally adding their
own mournful howlings to those of the master artist within.

The ape-man smiled a slow smile as he thought of the consternation
which would follow the quick leap that would carry him among the
females and into the full light of the fire. Then he would dart into
the hut during the excitement, throttle the chief screamer, and be gone
into the jungle before the blacks could gather their scattered nerves
for an assault.

Many times had Tarzan behaved similarly in the village of Mbonga, the
chief. His mysterious and unexpected appearances always filled the
breasts of the poor, superstitious blacks with the panic of terror;
never, it seemed, could they accustom themselves to the sight of him.
It was this terror which lent to the adventures the spice of interest
and amusement which the human mind of the ape-man craved. Merely to
kill was not in itself sufficient. Accustomed to the sight of death,
Tarzan found no great pleasure in it. Long since had he avenged the
death of Kala, but in the accomplishment of it, he had learned the
excitement and the pleasure to be derived from the baiting of the
blacks. Of this he never tired.

It was just as he was about to spring forward with a savage roar that a
figure appeared in the doorway of the hut. It was the figure of the
wailer whom he had come to still, the figure of a young woman with a
wooden skewer through the split septum of her nose, with a heavy metal
ornament depending from her lower lip, which it had dragged down to
hideous and repulsive deformity, with strange tattooing upon forehead,
cheeks, and breasts, and a wonderful coiffure built up with mud and
wire.

A sudden flare of the fire threw the grotesque figure into high relief,
and Tarzan recognized her as Momaya, the mother of Tibo. The fire also
threw out a fitful flame which carried to the shadows where Tarzan
lurked, picking out his light brown body from the surrounding darkness.
Momaya saw him and knew him. With a cry, she leaped forward and Tarzan
came to meet her. The other women, turning, saw him, too; but they did
not come toward him. Instead they rose as one, shrieked as one, fled
as one.

Momaya threw herself at Tarzan's feet, raising

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