The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 76

saved her hut for
the night, hovered about the conspirators ostensibly to replenish the
supply of firewood for the blaze about which the men sat, but really to
drink in as much of their conversation as possible.

Tarzan had slept for perhaps an hour or two despite the savage din of
the revellers when his keen senses came suddenly alert to a
suspiciously stealthy movement in the hut in which he lay. The fire
had died down to a little heap of glowing embers, which accentuated
rather than relieved the darkness that shrouded the interior of the
evil-smelling dwelling, yet the trained senses of the ape-man warned
him of another presence creeping almost silently toward him through the
gloom.

He doubted that it was one of his hut mates returning from the
festivities, for he still heard the wild cries of the dancers and the
din of the tom-toms in the village street without. Who could it be
that took such pains to conceal his approach?

As the presence came within reach of him the ape-man bounded lightly to
the opposite side of the hut, his spear poised ready at his side.

"Who is it," he asked, "that creeps upon Tarzan of the Apes, like a
hungry lion out of the darkness?"

"Silence, bwana!" replied an old cracked voice. "It is Tambudza--she
whose hut you would not take, and thus drive an old woman out into the
cold night."

"What does Tambudza want of Tarzan of the Apes?" asked the ape-man.

"You were kind to me to whom none is now kind, and I have come to warn
you in payment of your kindness," answered the old hag.

"Warn me of what?"

"M'ganwazam has chosen the young men who are to sleep in the hut with
you," replied Tambudza. "I was near as he talked with them, and heard
him issuing his instructions to them. When the dance is run well into
the morning they are to come to the hut.

"If you are awake they are to pretend that they have come to sleep, but
if you sleep it is M'ganwazam's command that you be killed. If you are
not then asleep they will wait quietly beside you until you do sleep,
and then they will all fall upon you together and slay you. M'ganwazam
is determined to win the reward the white man has offered."

"I had forgotten the reward," said Tarzan, half to himself, and then he
added, "How may M'ganwazam hope to collect the reward now that the
white men who are my enemies have

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