Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80

by inviting
him to a place at his side. Come, Ko-tan; thus would I honor you in the
name of Jad-ben-Otho."

The ape-man's policy had for its basis an attempt not only to arouse
the fearful respect of Ko-tan but to do it without making of him an
enemy at heart, for he did not know how strong a hold the religion of
the Ho-don had upon them, for since the time that he had prevented
Ta-den and Om-at from quarreling over a religious difference the
subject had been utterly taboo among them. He was therefore quick to
note the evident though wordless resentment of Ko-tan at the suggestion
that he entirely relinquish his throne to his guest. On the whole,
however, the effect had been satisfactory as he could see from the
renewed evidence of awe upon the faces of the warriors.

At Tarzan's direction the business of the court continued where it had
been interrupted by his advent. It consisted principally in the
settling of disputes between warriors. There was present one who stood
upon the step just below the throne and which Tarzan was to learn was
the place reserved for the higher chiefs of the allied tribes which
made up Ko-tan's kingdom. The one who attracted Tarzan's attention was
a stalwart warrior of powerful physique and massive, lion-like
features. He was addressing Ko-tan on a question that is as old as
government and that will continue in unabated importance until man
ceases to exist. It had to do with a boundary dispute with one of his
neighbors.

The matter itself held little or no interest for Tarzan, but he was
impressed by the appearance of the speaker and when Ko-tan addressed
him as Ja-don the ape-man's interest was permanently crystallized, for
Ja-don was the father of Ta-den. That the knowledge would benefit him
in any way seemed rather a remote possibility since he could not reveal
to Ja-don his friendly relations with his son without admitting the
falsity of his claims to godship.

When the affairs of the audience were concluded Ko-tan suggested that
the son of Jad-ben-Otho might wish to visit the temple in which were
performed the religious rites coincident to the worship of the Great
God. And so the ape-man was conducted by the king himself, followed by
the warriors of his court, through the corridors of the palace toward
the northern end of the group of buildings within the royal enclosure.

The temple itself was really a part of the palace and similar in
architecture. There were several ceremonial places of varying sizes,
the purposes of which Tarzan could only conjecture.

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