Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 81

panic,
but wise old Mbonga affected to feel considerable skepticism regarding
the tale, and attributed the whole fabrication to their fright in the
face of some real danger.

"You tell us this great story," he said, "because you do not dare to
speak the truth. You do not dare admit that when the lion sprang upon
Mirando you ran away and left him. You are cowards."

Scarcely had Mbonga ceased speaking when a great crashing of branches
in the trees above them caused the blacks to look up in renewed terror.
The sight that met their eyes made even wise old Mbonga shudder, for
there, turning and twisting in the air, came the dead body of Mirando,
to sprawl with a sickening reverberation upon the ground at their feet.

With one accord the blacks took to their heels; nor did they stop until
the last of them was lost in the dense shadows of the surrounding
jungle.

Again Tarzan came down into the village and renewed his supply of
arrows and ate of the offering of food which the blacks had made to
appease his wrath.

Before he left he carried the body of Mirando to the gate of the
village, and propped it up against the palisade in such a way that the
dead face seemed to be peering around the edge of the gatepost down the
path which led to the jungle.

Then Tarzan returned, hunting, always hunting, to the cabin by the
beach.

It took a dozen attempts on the part of the thoroughly frightened
blacks to reenter their village, past the horrible, grinning face of
their dead fellow, and when they found the food and arrows gone they
knew, what they had only too well feared, that Mirando had seen the
evil spirit of the jungle.

That now seemed to them the logical explanation. Only those who saw
this terrible god of the jungle died; for was it not true that none
left alive in the village had ever seen him? Therefore, those who had
died at his hands must have seen him and paid the penalty with their
lives.

As long as they supplied him with arrows and food he would not harm
them unless they looked upon him, so it was ordered by Mbonga that in
addition to the food offering there should also be laid out an offering
of arrows for this Munan-go-Keewati, and this was done from then on.

If you ever chance to pass that far off African village you will still
see before a tiny thatched hut, built just without the village, a
little iron pot

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