The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 158

took up
the refrain of a low, weird chant. Presently those about Tarzan began
to dance to the cadence of their solemn song. They circled him slowly,
resembling in their manner of dancing a number of clumsy, shuffling
bears; but as yet they did not look at him, keeping their little eyes
fixed upon the sun.

For ten minutes or more they kept up their monotonous chant and steps,
and then suddenly, and in perfect unison, they turned toward their
victim with upraised bludgeons and emitting fearful howls, the while
they contorted their features into the most diabolical expressions,
they rushed upon him.

At the same instant a female figure dashed into the midst of the
bloodthirsty horde, and, with a bludgeon similar to their own, except
that it was wrought from gold, beat back the advancing men.




Chapter 20

La


For a moment Tarzan thought that by some strange freak of fate a
miracle had saved him, but when he realized the ease with which the
girl had, single-handed, beaten off twenty gorilla-like males, and an
instant later, as he saw them again take up their dance about him while
she addressed them in a singsong monotone, which bore every evidence of
rote, he came to the conclusion that it was all but a part of the
ceremony of which he was the central figure.

After a moment or two the girl drew a knife from her girdle, and,
leaning over Tarzan, cut the bonds from his legs. Then, as the men
stopped their dance, and approached, she motioned to him to rise.
Placing the rope that had been about his legs around his neck, she led
him across the courtyard, the men following in twos.

Through winding corridors she led, farther and farther into the remoter
precincts of the temple, until they came to a great chamber in the
center of which stood an altar. Then it was that Tarzan translated the
strange ceremony that had preceded his introduction into this holy of
holies.

He had fallen into the hands of descendants of the ancient sun
worshippers. His seeming rescue by a votaress of the high priestess of
the sun had been but a part of the mimicry of their heathen
ceremony--the sun looking down upon him through the opening at the top
of the court had claimed him as his own, and the priestess had come
from the inner temple to save him from the polluting hands of
worldlings--to save him as a human offering to their flaming deity.

And had he needed further assurance as to the correctness of his theory
he

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