Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 28

to swing from branch to
branch after the manner of his giant mother, and as he grew older he
spent hour upon hour daily speeding through the tree tops with his
brothers and sisters.

He could spring twenty feet across space at the dizzy heights of the
forest top, and grasp with unerring precision, and without apparent
jar, a limb waving wildly in the path of an approaching tornado.

He could drop twenty feet at a stretch from limb to limb in rapid
descent to the ground, or he could gain the utmost pinnacle of the
loftiest tropical giant with the ease and swiftness of a squirrel.

Though but ten years old he was fully as strong as the average man of
thirty, and far more agile than the most practiced athlete ever
becomes. And day by day his strength was increasing.

His life among these fierce apes had been happy; for his recollection
held no other life, nor did he know that there existed within the
universe aught else than his little forest and the wild jungle animals
with which he was familiar.

He was nearly ten before he commenced to realize that a great
difference existed between himself and his fellows. His little body,
burned brown by exposure, suddenly caused him feelings of intense
shame, for he realized that it was entirely hairless, like some low
snake, or other reptile.

He attempted to obviate this by plastering himself from head to foot
with mud, but this dried and fell off. Besides it felt so
uncomfortable that he quickly decided that he preferred the shame to
the discomfort.

In the higher land which his tribe frequented was a little lake, and it
was here that Tarzan first saw his face in the clear, still waters of
its bosom.

It was on a sultry day of the dry season that he and one of his cousins
had gone down to the bank to drink. As they leaned over, both little
faces were mirrored on the placid pool; the fierce and terrible
features of the ape beside those of the aristocratic scion of an old
English house.

Tarzan was appalled. It had been bad enough to be hairless, but to own
such a countenance! He wondered that the other apes could look at him
at all.

That tiny slit of a mouth and those puny white teeth! How they looked
beside the mighty lips and powerful fangs of his more fortunate
brothers!

And the little pinched nose of his; so thin was it that it looked half
starved. He turned red as he compared

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