The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 172

Thuran acted like one.

Nearly two months of this existence had passed when the first great
calamity befell them. It was prefaced by an adventure which came near
terminating abruptly the sufferings of two of them--terminating them in
the grim and horrible manner of the jungle, forever.

Thuran, down with an attack of jungle fever, lay in the shelter among
the branches of their tree of refuge. Clayton had been into the jungle
a few hundred yards in search of food. As he returned Jane Porter
walked to meet him. Behind the man, cunning and crafty, crept an old
and mangy lion. For three days his ancient thews and sinews had proved
insufficient for the task of providing his cavernous belly with meat.
For months he had eaten less and less frequently, and farther and
farther had he roamed from his accustomed haunts in search of easier
prey. At last he had found nature's weakest and most defenseless
creature--in a moment more Numa would dine.

Clayton, all unconscious of the lurking death behind him, strode out
into the open toward Jane. He had reached her side, a hundred feet
from the tangled edge of jungle when past his shoulder the girl saw the
tawny head and the wicked yellow eyes as the grasses parted, and the
huge beast, nose to ground, stepped softly into view.

So frozen with horror was she that she could utter no sound, but the
fixed and terrified gaze of her fear-widened eyes spoke as plainly to
Clayton as words. A quick glance behind him revealed the hopelessness
of their situation. The lion was scarce thirty paces from them, and
they were equally as far from the shelter. The man was armed with a
stout stick--as efficacious against a hungry lion, he realized, as a
toy pop-gun charged with a tethered cork.

Numa, ravenous with hunger, had long since learned the futility of
roaring and moaning as he searched for prey, but now that it was as
surely his as though already he had felt the soft flesh beneath his
still mighty paw, he opened his huge jaws, and gave vent to his
long-pent rage in a series of deafening roars that made the air tremble.

"Run, Jane!" cried Clayton. "Quick! Run for the shelter!" But her
paralyzed muscles refused to respond, and she stood mute and rigid,
staring with ghastly countenance at the living death creeping toward

Thuran, at the sound of that awful roar, had come to the opening of the
shelter, and as he saw the

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