Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 92

breath of the brute on his face as the
great paw crushed down upon his breast!

For a moment all was still. Clayton stood rigid, with raised spear.
Presently a faint rustling of the bush apprised him of the stealthy
creeping of the thing behind. It was gathering for the spring. At
last he saw it, not twenty feet away--the long, lithe, muscular body
and tawny head of a huge black-maned lion.

The beast was upon its belly, moving forward very slowly. As its eyes
met Clayton's it stopped, and deliberately, cautiously gathered its
hind quarters behind it.

In agony the man watched, fearful to launch his spear, powerless to fly.

He heard a noise in the tree above him. Some new danger, he thought,
but he dared not take his eyes from the yellow green orbs before him.
There was a sharp twang as of a broken banjo-string, and at the same
instant an arrow appeared in the yellow hide of the crouching lion.

With a roar of pain and anger the beast sprang; but, somehow, Clayton
stumbled to one side, and as he turned again to face the infuriated
king of beasts, he was appalled at the sight which confronted him.
Almost simultaneously with the lion's turning to renew the attack a
half-naked giant dropped from the tree above squarely on the brute's

With lightning speed an arm that was banded layers of iron muscle
encircled the huge neck, and the great beast was raised from behind,
roaring and pawing the air--raised as easily as Clayton would have
lifted a pet dog.

The scene he witnessed there in the twilight depths of the African
jungle was burned forever into the Englishman's brain.

The man before him was the embodiment of physical perfection and giant
strength; yet it was not upon these he depended in his battle with the
great cat, for mighty as were his muscles, they were as nothing by
comparison with Numa's. To his agility, to his brain and to his long
keen knife he owed his supremacy.

His right arm encircled the lion's neck, while the left hand plunged
the knife time and again into the unprotected side behind the left
shoulder. The infuriated beast, pulled up and backwards until he stood
upon his hind legs, struggled impotently in this unnatural position.

Had the battle been of a few seconds' longer duration the outcome might
have been different, but it was all accomplished so quickly that the
lion had scarce time to recover from the confusion of its surprise ere
it sank lifeless to the ground.


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