Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

and ere
the king's son had taken a half dozen steps into the clearing a quick
noose tightened about his neck.

So quickly did Tarzan of the Apes drag back his prey that Kulonga's cry
of alarm was throttled in his windpipe. Hand over hand Tarzan drew the
struggling black until he had him hanging by his neck in mid-air; then
Tarzan climbed to a larger branch drawing the still threshing victim
well up into the sheltering verdure of the tree.

Here he fastened the rope securely to a stout branch, and then,
descending, plunged his hunting knife into Kulonga's heart. Kala was
avenged.

Tarzan examined the black minutely, for he had never seen any other
human being. The knife with its sheath and belt caught his eye; he
appropriated them. A copper anklet also took his fancy, and this he
transferred to his own leg.

He examined and admired the tattooing on the forehead and breast. He
marveled at the sharp filed teeth. He investigated and appropriated
the feathered headdress, and then he prepared to get down to business,
for Tarzan of the Apes was hungry, and here was meat; meat of the kill,
which jungle ethics permitted him to eat.

How may we judge him, by what standards, this ape-man with the heart
and head and body of an English gentleman, and the training of a wild
beast?

Tublat, whom he had hated and who had hated him, he had killed in a
fair fight, and yet never had the thought of eating Tublat's flesh
entered his head. It would have been as revolting to him as is
cannibalism to us.

But who was Kulonga that he might not be eaten as fairly as Horta, the
boar, or Bara, the deer? Was he not simply another of the countless
wild things of the jungle who preyed upon one another to satisfy the
cravings of hunger?

Suddenly, a strange doubt stayed his hand. Had not his books taught
him that he was a man? And was not The Archer a man, also?

Did men eat men? Alas, he did not know. Why, then, this hesitancy!
Once more he essayed the effort, but a qualm of nausea overwhelmed him.
He did not understand.

All he knew was that he could not eat the flesh of this black man, and
thus hereditary instinct, ages old, usurped the functions of his
untaught mind and saved him from transgressing a worldwide law of whose
very existence he was ignorant.

Quickly he lowered Kulonga's body to the ground, removed the noose, and
took

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