The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 27

were broken.

Relaxing his bowstring, he returned the arrow to the quiver and,
throwing the bow about his shoulder, stepped closer to the pinioned
beast.

On his lips was the soothing, purring sound that the great cats
themselves made when contented and happy. It was the nearest approach
to a friendly advance that Tarzan could make in the language of Sheeta.

The panther ceased his snarling and eyed the ape-man closely. To lift
the tree's great weight from the animal it was necessary to come within
reach of those long, strong talons, and when the tree had been removed
the man would be totally at the mercy of the savage beast; but to
Tarzan of the Apes fear was a thing unknown.

Having decided, he acted promptly.

Unhesitatingly, he stepped into the tangle of branches close to the
panther's side, still voicing his friendly and conciliatory purr. The
cat turned his head toward the man, eyeing him steadily--questioningly.
The long fangs were bared, but more in preparedness than threat.

Tarzan put a broad shoulder beneath the bole of the tree, and as he did
so his bare leg pressed against the cat's silken side, so close was the
man to the great beast.

Slowly Tarzan extended his giant thews.

The great tree with its entangling branches rose gradually from the
panther, who, feeling the encumbering weight diminish, quickly crawled
from beneath. Tarzan let the tree fall back to earth, and the two
beasts turned to look upon one another.

A grim smile lay upon the ape-man's lips, for he knew that he had taken
his life in his hands to free this savage jungle fellow; nor would it
have surprised him had the cat sprung upon him the instant that it had
been released.

But it did not do so. Instead, it stood a few paces from the tree
watching the ape-man clamber out of the maze of fallen branches.

Once outside, Tarzan was not three paces from the panther. He might
have taken to the higher branches of the trees upon the opposite side,
for Sheeta cannot climb to the heights to which the ape-man can go; but
something, a spirit of bravado perhaps, prompted him to approach the
panther as though to discover if any feeling of gratitude would prompt
the beast to friendliness.

As he approached the mighty cat the creature stepped warily to one
side, and the ape-man brushed past him within a foot of the dripping
jaws, and as he continued on through the forest the panther followed on
behind him, as a hound follows at heel.

For

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