The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 34

growled at
the stranger.

At the sight of the thing--a man mauling with his bare hands one of the
most relentless and fierce of the jungle carnivora--Mugambi's eyes
bulged from their sockets, and from entertaining a sullen respect for
the giant white man who had made him prisoner, the black felt an almost
worshipping awe of Tarzan.

The education of Sheeta progressed so well that in a short time Mugambi
ceased to be the object of his hungry attention, and the black felt a
degree more of safety in his society.

To say that Mugambi was entirely happy or at ease in his new
environment would not be to adhere strictly to the truth. His eyes
were constantly rolling apprehensively from side to side as now one and
now another of the fierce pack chanced to wander near him, so that for
the most of the time it was principally the whites that showed.

Together Tarzan and Mugambi, with Sheeta and Akut, lay in wait at the
ford for a deer, and when at a word from the ape-man the four of them
leaped out upon the affrighted animal the black was sure that the poor
creature died of fright before ever one of the great beasts touched it.

Mugambi built a fire and cooked his portion of the kill; but Tarzan,
Sheeta, and Akut tore theirs, raw, with their sharp teeth, growling
among themselves when one ventured to encroach upon the share of
another.

It was not, after all, strange that the white man's ways should have
been so much more nearly related to those of the beasts than were the
savage blacks. We are, all of us, creatures of habit, and when the
seeming necessity for schooling ourselves in new ways ceases to exist,
we fall naturally and easily into the manners and customs which long
usage has implanted ineradicably within us.

Mugambi from childhood had eaten no meat until it had been cooked,
while Tarzan, on the other hand, had never tasted cooked food of any
sort until he had grown almost to manhood, and only within the past
three or four years had he eaten cooked meat. Not only did the habit
of a lifetime prompt him to eat it raw, but the craving of his palate
as well; for to him cooked flesh was spoiled flesh when compared with
the rich and juicy meat of a fresh, hot kill.

That he could, with relish, eat raw meat that had been buried by
himself weeks before, and enjoy small rodents and disgusting grubs,
seems to us who have been always "civilized"

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