Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 17

mountain sheep,
monkeys, or birds than to man; but the three that followed it were
trained to ways which no ordinary man might essay. Now, upon the lower
slopes, it led through dense forests where the ground was so matted
with fallen trees and over-rioting vines and brush that the way held
always to the swaying branches high above the tangle; again it skirted
yawning gorges whose slippery-faced rocks gave but momentary foothold
even to the bare feet that lightly touched them as the three leaped
chamois-like from one precarious foothold to the next. Dizzy and
terrifying was the way that Om-at chose across the summit as he led
them around the shoulder of a towering crag that rose a sheer two
thousand feet of perpendicular rock above a tumbling river. And when at
last they stood upon comparatively level ground again Om-at turned and
looked at them both intently and especially at Tarzan of the Apes.

"You will both do," he said. "You are fit companions for Om-at, the
Waz-don."

"What do you mean?" asked Tarzan.

"I brought you this way," replied the black, "to learn if either lacked
the courage to follow where Om-at led. It is here that the young
warriors of Es-sat come to prove their courage. And yet, though we are
born and raised upon cliff sides, it is considered no disgrace to admit
that Pastar-ul-ved, the Father of Mountains, has defeated us, for of
those who try it only a few succeed--the bones of the others lie at the
feet of Pastar-ul-ved."

Ta-den laughed. "I would not care to come this way often," he said.

"No," replied Om-at; "but it has shortened our journey by at least a
full day. So much the sooner shall Tarzan look upon the Valley of
Jad-ben-Otho. Come!" and he led the way upward along the shoulder of
Pastar-ul-ved until there lay spread below them a scene of mystery and
of beauty--a green valley girt by towering cliffs of marble
whiteness--a green valley dotted by deep blue lakes and crossed by the
blue trail of a winding river. In the center a city of the whiteness of
the marble cliffs--a city which even at so great a distance evidenced a
strange, yet artistic architecture. Outside the city there were visible
about the valley isolated groups of buildings--sometimes one, again two
and three and four in a cluster--but always of the same glaring
whiteness, and always in some fantastic form.

About the valley the cliffs were occasionally cleft by deep gorges,
verdure filled, giving the appearance of green rivers rioting downward
toward a central sea of green.

"Jad Pele ul

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