Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 22

nor did Kerchak
attempt to molest her. With the death of the babe his fit of
demoniacal rage passed as suddenly as it had seized him.

Kerchak was a huge king ape, weighing perhaps three hundred and fifty
pounds. His forehead was extremely low and receding, his eyes
bloodshot, small and close set to his coarse, flat nose; his ears large
and thin, but smaller than most of his kind.

His awful temper and his mighty strength made him supreme among the
little tribe into which he had been born some twenty years before.

Now that he was in his prime, there was no simian in all the mighty
forest through which he roved that dared contest his right to rule, nor
did the other and larger animals molest him.

Old Tantor, the elephant, alone of all the wild savage life, feared him
not--and he alone did Kerchak fear. When Tantor trumpeted, the great
ape scurried with his fellows high among the trees of the second
terrace.

The tribe of anthropoids over which Kerchak ruled with an iron hand and
bared fangs, numbered some six or eight families, each family
consisting of an adult male with his females and their young, numbering
in all some sixty or seventy apes.

Kala was the youngest mate of a male called Tublat, meaning broken
nose, and the child she had seen dashed to death was her first; for she
was but nine or ten years old.

Notwithstanding her youth, she was large and powerful--a splendid,
clean-limbed animal, with a round, high forehead, which denoted more
intelligence than most of her kind possessed. So, also, she had a
great capacity for mother love and mother sorrow.

But she was still an ape, a huge, fierce, terrible beast of a species
closely allied to the gorilla, yet more intelligent; which, with the
strength of their cousin, made her kind the most fearsome of those
awe-inspiring progenitors of man.

When the tribe saw that Kerchak's rage had ceased they came slowly down
from their arboreal retreats and pursued again the various occupations
which he had interrupted.

The young played and frolicked about among the trees and bushes. Some
of the adults lay prone upon the soft mat of dead and decaying
vegetation which covered the ground, while others turned over pieces of
fallen branches and clods of earth in search of the small bugs and
reptiles which formed a part of their food.

Others, again, searched the surrounding trees for fruit, nuts, small
birds, and eggs.

They had passed an hour or so thus when Kerchak called them together,
and, with a word

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