Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 52

was Sabor, the lioness, and quick were Numa and Sheeta, but
Tarzan of the Apes was lightning.

With Tantor, the elephant, he made friends. How? Ask not. But this
is known to the denizens of the jungle, that on many moonlight nights
Tarzan of the Apes and Tantor, the elephant, walked together, and where
the way was clear Tarzan rode, perched high upon Tantor's mighty back.

Many days during these years he spent in the cabin of his father, where
still lay, untouched, the bones of his parents and the skeleton of
Kala's baby. At eighteen he read fluently and understood nearly all he
read in the many and varied volumes on the shelves.

Also could he write, with printed letters, rapidly and plainly, but
script he had not mastered, for though there were several copy books
among his treasure, there was so little written English in the cabin
that he saw no use for bothering with this other form of writing,
though he could read it, laboriously.

Thus, at eighteen, we find him, an English lordling, who could speak no
English, and yet who could read and write his native language. Never
had he seen a human being other than himself, for the little area
traversed by his tribe was watered by no greater river to bring down
the savage natives of the interior.

High hills shut it off on three sides, the ocean on the fourth. It was
alive with lions and leopards and poisonous snakes. Its untouched
mazes of matted jungle had as yet invited no hardy pioneer from the
human beasts beyond its frontier.

But as Tarzan of the Apes sat one day in the cabin of his father
delving into the mysteries of a new book, the ancient security of his
jungle was broken forever.

At the far eastern confine a strange cavalcade strung, in single file,
over the brow of a low hill.

In advance were fifty black warriors armed with slender wooden spears
with ends hard baked over slow fires, and long bows and poisoned
arrows. On their backs were oval shields, in their noses huge rings,
while from the kinky wool of their heads protruded tufts of gay
feathers.

Across their foreheads were tattooed three parallel lines of color, and
on each breast three concentric circles. Their yellow teeth were filed
to sharp points, and their great protruding lips added still further to
the low and bestial brutishness of their appearance.

Following them were several hundred women and children, the former
bearing upon their heads great burdens of cooking pots, household
utensils and

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