The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 119

just what he was about. In the past he had had
experience with the rodents and vermin that infest every native
village, and, while he was not overscrupulous about such matters, he
much preferred the fresh air of the swaying trees to the fetid
atmosphere of a hut.

The natives followed him to where a great tree overhung the palisade,
and as Tarzan leaped for a lower branch and disappeared into the
foliage above, precisely after the manner of Manu, the monkey, there
were loud exclamations of surprise and astonishment. For half an hour
they called to him to return, but as he did not answer them they at
last desisted, and sought the sleeping-mats within their huts.

Tarzan went back into the forest a short distance until he had found a
tree suited to his primitive requirements, and then, curling himself in
a great crotch, he fell immediately into a deep sleep.

The following morning he dropped into the village street as suddenly as
he had disappeared the preceding night. For a moment the natives were
startled and afraid, but when they recognized their guest of the night
before they welcomed him with shouts and laughter. That day he
accompanied a party of warriors to the nearby plains on a great hunt,
and so dexterous did they find this white man with their own crude
weapons that another bond of respect and admiration was thereby wrought.

For weeks Tarzan lived with his savage friends, hunting buffalo,
antelope, and zebra for meat, and elephant for ivory. Quickly he
learned their simple speech, their native customs, and the ethics of
their wild, primitive tribal life. He found that they were not
cannibals--that they looked with loathing and contempt upon men who ate

Busuli, the warrior whom he had stalked to the village, told him many
of the tribal legends--how, many years before, his people had come many
long marches from the north; how once they had been a great and
powerful tribe; and how the slave raiders had wrought such havoc among
them with their death-dealing guns that they had been reduced to a mere
remnant of their former numbers and power.

"They hunted us down as one hunts a fierce beast," said Busuli. "There
was no mercy in them. When it was not slaves they sought it was ivory,
but usually it was both. Our men were killed and our women driven away
like sheep. We fought against them for many years, but our arrows and
spears could not prevail against the sticks which spit fire

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