Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 42

more comfortable
to take mates from their own tribe, or if they captured one of another
tribe to bring her back to Kerchak's band and live in amity with him
rather than attempt to set up new establishments of their own, or fight
with the redoubtable Kerchak for supremacy at home.

Occasionally one more ferocious than his fellows would attempt this
latter alternative, but none had come yet who could wrest the palm of
victory from the fierce and brutal ape.

Tarzan held a peculiar position in the tribe. They seemed to consider
him one of them and yet in some way different. The older males either
ignored him entirely or else hated him so vindictively that but for his
wondrous agility and speed and the fierce protection of the huge Kala
he would have been dispatched at an early age.

Tublat was his most consistent enemy, but it was through Tublat that,
when he was about thirteen, the persecution of his enemies suddenly
ceased and he was left severely alone, except on the occasions when one
of them ran amuck in the throes of one of those strange, wild fits of
insane rage which attacks the males of many of the fiercer animals of
the jungle. Then none was safe.

On the day that Tarzan established his right to respect, the tribe was
gathered about a small natural amphitheater which the jungle had left
free from its entangling vines and creepers in a hollow among some low
hills.

The open space was almost circular in shape. Upon every hand rose the
mighty giants of the untouched forest, with the matted undergrowth
banked so closely between the huge trunks that the only opening into
the little, level arena was through the upper branches of the trees.

Here, safe from interruption, the tribe often gathered. In the center
of the amphitheater was one of those strange earthen drums which the
anthropoids build for the queer rites the sounds of which men have
heard in the fastnesses of the jungle, but which none has ever
witnessed.

Many travelers have seen the drums of the great apes, and some have
heard the sounds of their beating and the noise of the wild, weird
revelry of these first lords of the jungle, but Tarzan, Lord Greystoke,
is, doubtless, the only human being who ever joined in the fierce, mad,
intoxicating revel of the Dum-Dum.

From this primitive function has arisen, unquestionably, all the forms
and ceremonials of modern church and state, for through all the
countless ages, back beyond the uttermost ramparts of a dawning
humanity our fierce, hairy

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