Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 14

desire quickly to master their tongue strengthened, with
the result that he fell to with even greater assiduity to the task he
had set himself. Already he knew the names of his companions and the
common names of the fauna and flora with which they had most often come
in contact.

Ta-den, he of the hairless, white skin, having assumed the role of
tutor, prosecuted his task with a singleness of purpose that was
reflected in his pupil's rapid mastery of Ta-den's mother tongue.
Om-at, the hairy black, also seemed to feel that there rested upon his
broad shoulders a portion of the burden of responsibility for Tarzan's
education, with the result that either one or the other of them was
almost constantly coaching the ape-man during his waking hours. The
result was only what might have been expected--a rapid assimilation of
the teachings to the end that before any of them realized it,
communication by word of mouth became an accomplished fact.

Tarzan explained to his companions the purpose of his mission but
neither could give him any slightest thread of hope to weave into the
fabric of his longing. Never had there been in their country a woman
such as he described, nor any tailless man other than himself that they
ever had seen.

"I have been gone from A-lur while Bu, the moon, has eaten seven
times," said Ta-den. "Many things may happen in seven times
twenty-eight days; but I doubt that your woman could have entered our
country across the terrible morasses which even you found an almost
insurmountable obstacle, and if she had, could she have survived the
perils that you already have encountered beside those of which you have
yet to learn? Not even our own women venture into the savage lands
beyond the cities."

"'A-lur,' Light-city, City of Light," mused Tarzan, translating the
word into his own tongue. "And where is A-lur?" he asked. "Is it your
city, Ta-den, and Om-at's?"

"It is mine," replied the hairless one; "but not Om-at's. The Waz-don
have no cities--they live in the trees of the forests and the caves of
the hills--is it not so, black man?" he concluded, turning toward the
hairy giant beside him.

"Yes," replied Om-at, "We Waz-don are free--only the Hodon imprison
themselves in cities. I would not be a white man!"

Tarzan smiled. Even here was the racial distinction between white man
and black man--Ho-don and Waz-don. Not even the fact that they appeared
to be equals in the matter of intelligence made any difference--one was
white and one was black, and it was easy to see that the white
considered himself

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