The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 164

followed the teachings
of your religion. I cannot blame YOU for that, no matter what I may
think of your creed. But who are you--what people have I fallen among?"

"I am La, high priestess of the Temple of the Sun, in the city of Opar.
We are descendants of a people who came to this savage world more than
ten thousand years ago in search of gold. Their cities stretched from
a great sea under the rising sun to a great sea into which the sun
descends at night to cool his flaming brow. They were very rich and
very powerful, but they lived only a few months of the year in their
magnificent palaces here; the rest of the time they spent in their
native land, far, far to the north.

"Many ships went back and forth between this new world and the old.
During the rainy season there were but few of the inhabitants remained
here, only those who superintended the working of the mines by the
black slaves, and the merchants who had to stay to supply their wants,
and the soldiers who guarded the cities and the mines.

"It was at one of these times that the great calamity occurred. When
the time came for the teeming thousands to return none came. For weeks
the people waited. Then they sent out a great galley to learn why no
one came from the mother country, but though they sailed about for many
months, they were unable to find any trace of the mighty land that had
for countless ages borne their ancient civilization--it had sunk into
the sea.

"From that day dated the downfall of my people. Disheartened and
unhappy, they soon became a prey to the black hordes of the north and
the black hordes of the south. One by one the cities were deserted or
overcome. The last remnant was finally forced to take shelter within
this mighty mountain fortress. Slowly we have dwindled in power, in
civilization, in intellect, in numbers, until now we are no more than a
small tribe of savage apes.

"In fact, the apes live with us, and have for many ages. We call them
the first men--we speak their language quite as much as we do our own;
only in the rituals of the temple do we make any attempt to retain our
mother tongue. In time it will be forgotten, and we will speak only
the language of the apes; in time we will no longer banish those

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