Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 39

what caused it to
hold the door, and by what means it released at his touch.

He found that he could close and lock the door from within, and this he
did so that there would be no chance of his being molested while at his
investigation.

He commenced a systematic search of the cabin; but his attention was
soon riveted by the books which seemed to exert a strange and powerful
influence over him, so that he could scarce attend to aught else for
the lure of the wondrous puzzle which their purpose presented to him.

Among the other books were a primer, some child's readers, numerous
picture books, and a great dictionary. All of these he examined, but
the pictures caught his fancy most, though the strange little bugs
which covered the pages where there were no pictures excited his wonder
and deepest thought.

Squatting upon his haunches on the table top in the cabin his father
had built--his smooth, brown, naked little body bent over the book
which rested in his strong slender hands, and his great shock of long,
black hair falling about his well-shaped head and bright, intelligent
eyes--Tarzan of the apes, little primitive man, presented a picture
filled, at once, with pathos and with promise--an allegorical figure of
the primordial groping through the black night of ignorance toward the
light of learning.

His little face was tense in study, for he had partially grasped, in a
hazy, nebulous way, the rudiments of a thought which was destined to
prove the key and the solution to the puzzling problem of the strange
little bugs.

In his hands was a primer opened at a picture of a little ape similar
to himself, but covered, except for hands and face, with strange,
colored fur, for such he thought the jacket and trousers to be.
Beneath the picture were three little bugs--

BOY.


And now he had discovered in the text upon the page that these three
were repeated many times in the same sequence.

Another fact he learned--that there were comparatively few individual
bugs; but these were repeated many times, occasionally alone, but more
often in company with others.

Slowly he turned the pages, scanning the pictures and the text for a
repetition of the combination B-O-Y. Presently he found it beneath a
picture of another little ape and a strange animal which went upon four
legs like the jackal and resembled him not a little. Beneath this
picture the bugs appeared as:

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