Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 60

to the trees again.




Chapter X

The Fear-Phantom


From a lofty perch Tarzan viewed the village of thatched huts across
the intervening plantation.

He saw that at one point the forest touched the village, and to this
spot he made his way, lured by a fever of curiosity to behold animals
of his own kind, and to learn more of their ways and view the strange
lairs in which they lived.

His savage life among the fierce wild brutes of the jungle left no
opening for any thought that these could be aught else than enemies.
Similarity of form led him into no erroneous conception of the welcome
that would be accorded him should he be discovered by these, the first
of his own kind he had ever seen.

Tarzan of the Apes was no sentimentalist. He knew nothing of the
brotherhood of man. All things outside his own tribe were his deadly
enemies, with the few exceptions of which Tantor, the elephant, was a
marked example.

And he realized all this without malice or hatred. To kill was the law
of the wild world he knew. Few were his primitive pleasures, but the
greatest of these was to hunt and kill, and so he accorded to others
the right to cherish the same desires as he, even though he himself
might be the object of their hunt.

His strange life had left him neither morose nor bloodthirsty. That he
joyed in killing, and that he killed with a joyous laugh upon his
handsome lips betokened no innate cruelty. He killed for food most
often, but, being a man, he sometimes killed for pleasure, a thing
which no other animal does; for it has remained for man alone among all
creatures to kill senselessly and wantonly for the mere pleasure of
inflicting suffering and death.

And when he killed for revenge, or in self-defense, he did that also
without hysteria, for it was a very businesslike proceeding which
admitted of no levity.

So it was that now, as he cautiously approached the village of Mbonga,
he was quite prepared either to kill or be killed should he be
discovered. He proceeded with unwonted stealth, for Kulonga had taught
him great respect for the little sharp splinters of wood which dealt
death so swiftly and unerringly.

At length he came to a great tree, heavy laden with thick foliage and
loaded with pendant loops of giant creepers. From this almost
impenetrable bower above the village he crouched, looking down upon the
scene below him, wondering over every feature of this new, strange life.

There were

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