Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 15

superior to the other--one could see it in his quiet
smile.

"Where is A-lur?" Tarzan asked again. "You are returning to it?"

"It is beyond the mountains," replied Ta-den. "I do not return to
it--not yet. Not until Ko-tan is no more."

"Ko-tan?" queried Tarzan.

"Ko-tan is king," explained the pithecanthropus. "He rules this land. I
was one of his warriors. I lived in the palace of Ko-tan and there I
met O-lo-a, his daughter. We loved, Likestar-light, and I; but Ko-tan
would have none of me. He sent me away to fight with the men of the
village of Dak-at, who had refused to pay his tribute to the king,
thinking that I would be killed, for Dak-at is famous for his many fine
warriors. And I was not killed. Instead I returned victorious with the
tribute and with Dak-at himself my prisoner; but Ko-tan was not pleased
because he saw that O-lo-a loved me even more than before, her love
being strengthened and fortified by pride in my achievement.

"Powerful is my father, Ja-don, the Lion-man, chief of the largest
village outside of A-lur. Him Ko-tan hesitated to affront and so he
could not but praise me for my success, though he did it with half a
smile. But you do not understand! It is what we call a smile that moves
only the muscles of the face and affects not the light of the eyes--it
means hypocrisy and duplicity. I must be praised and rewarded. What
better than that he reward me with the hand of O-lo-a, his daughter?
But no, he saves O-lo-a for Bu-lot, son of Mo-sar, the chief whose
great-grandfather was king and who thinks that he should be king. Thus
would Ko-tan appease the wrath of Mo-sar and win the friendship of
those who think with Mo-sar that Mo-sar should be king.

"But what reward shall repay the faithful Ta-den? Greatly do we honor
our priests. Within the temples even the chiefs and the king himself
bow down to them. No greater honor could Ko-tan confer upon a
subject--who wished to be a priest, but I did not so wish. Priests
other than the high priest must become eunuchs for they may never marry.

"It was O-lo-a herself who brought word to me that her father had given
the commands that would set in motion the machinery of the temple. A
messenger was on his way in search of me to summon me to Ko-tan's
presence. To have refused the priesthood once it was offered me by the
king would have been to have affronted the temple and

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