Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 83

the price of his ransom had
risen. Ten fat goats? Where would his mother get ten fat goats, or
thin ones, either, for that matter, to buy back just a poor little boy?
Mbonga would never let her have them, and Tibo knew that his father
never had owned more than three goats at the same time in all his life.
Ten fat goats! Tibo sniffled. The putrid old man would kill him and
eat him, for the goats would never be forthcoming. Bukawai would throw
his bones to the hyenas. The little black boy shuddered and became so
weak that he almost fell in his tracks. Bukawai cuffed him on an ear
and jerked him along.

After what seemed an eternity to Tibo, they arrived at the mouth of a
cave between two rocky hills. The opening was low and narrow. A few
saplings bound together with strips of rawhide closed it against stray
beasts. Bukawai removed the primitive door and pushed Tibo within.
The hyenas, snarling, rushed past him and were lost to view in the
blackness of the interior. Bukawai replaced the saplings and seizing
Tibo roughly by the arm, dragged him along a narrow, rocky passage.
The floor was comparatively smooth, for the dirt which lay thick upon
it had been trodden and tramped by many feet until few inequalities
remained.

The passage was tortuous, and as it was very dark and the walls rough
and rocky, Tibo was scratched and bruised from the many bumps he
received. Bukawai walked as rapidly through the winding gallery as one
would traverse a familiar lane by daylight. He knew every twist and
turn as a mother knows the face of her child, and he seemed to be in a
hurry. He jerked poor little Tibo possibly a trifle more ruthlessly
than necessary even at the pace Bukawai set; but the old witch-doctor,
an outcast from the society of man, diseased, shunned, hated, feared,
was far from possessing an angelic temper. Nature had given him few of
the kindlier characteristics of man, and these few Fate had eradicated
entirely. Shrewd, cunning, cruel, vindictive, was Bukawai, the
witch-doctor.

Frightful tales were whispered of the cruel tortures he inflicted upon
his victims. Children were frightened into obedience by the threat of
his name. Often had Tibo been thus frightened, and now he was reaping
a grisly harvest of terror from the seeds his mother had innocently
sown. The darkness, the presence of the dreaded witch-doctor, the pain
of the contusions, with

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