Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 21

tired apathy born of long sorrow
and hopelessness, which even this cruel blow could scarcely awake to
further suffering:


My little son is crying for nourishment--O Alice, Alice, what shall I
do?


And as John Clayton wrote the last words his hand was destined ever to
pen, he dropped his head wearily upon his outstretched arms where they
rested upon the table he had built for her who lay still and cold in
the bed beside him.

For a long time no sound broke the deathlike stillness of the jungle
midday save the piteous wailing of the tiny man-child.




Chapter IV

The Apes


In the forest of the table-land a mile back from the ocean old Kerchak
the Ape was on a rampage of rage among his people.

The younger and lighter members of his tribe scampered to the higher
branches of the great trees to escape his wrath; risking their lives
upon branches that scarce supported their weight rather than face old
Kerchak in one of his fits of uncontrolled anger.

The other males scattered in all directions, but not before the
infuriated brute had felt the vertebra of one snap between his great,
foaming jaws.

A luckless young female slipped from an insecure hold upon a high
branch and came crashing to the ground almost at Kerchak's feet.

With a wild scream he was upon her, tearing a great piece from her side
with his mighty teeth, and striking her viciously upon her head and
shoulders with a broken tree limb until her skull was crushed to a
jelly.

And then he spied Kala, who, returning from a search for food with her
young babe, was ignorant of the state of the mighty male's temper until
suddenly the shrill warnings of her fellows caused her to scamper madly
for safety.

But Kerchak was close upon her, so close that he had almost grasped her
ankle had she not made a furious leap far into space from one tree to
another--a perilous chance which apes seldom if ever take, unless so
closely pursued by danger that there is no alternative.

She made the leap successfully, but as she grasped the limb of the
further tree the sudden jar loosened the hold of the tiny babe where it
clung frantically to her neck, and she saw the little thing hurled,
turning and twisting, to the ground thirty feet below.

With a low cry of dismay Kala rushed headlong to its side, thoughtless
now of the danger from Kerchak; but when she gathered the wee, mangled
form to her bosom life had left it.

With low moans, she sat cuddling the body to her;

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