The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 187

A few nursing babes
clung close to the shaggy necks of their savage mothers.

Tarzan recognized many members of the tribe. It was the same into
which he had come as a tiny babe. Many of the adults had been little
apes during his boyhood. He had frolicked and played about this very
jungle with them during their brief childhood. He wondered if they
would remember him--the memory of some apes is not overlong, and two
years may be an eternity to them.

From the talk which he overheard he learned that they had come to
choose a new king--their late chief had fallen a hundred feet beneath a
broken limb to an untimely end.

Tarzan walked to the end of an overhanging limb in plain view of them.
The quick eyes of a female caught sight of him first. With a barking
guttural she called the attention of the others. Several huge bulls
stood erect to get a better view of the intruder. With bared fangs and
bristling necks they advanced slowly toward him, with deep-throated,
ominous growls.

"Karnath, I am Tarzan of the Apes," said the ape-man in the vernacular
of the tribe. "You remember me. Together we teased Numa when we were
still little apes, throwing sticks and nuts at him from the safety of
high branches."

The brute he had addressed stopped with a look of half-comprehending,
dull wonderment upon his savage face.

"And Magor," continued Tarzan, addressing another, "do you not recall
your former king--he who slew the mighty Kerchak? Look at me! Am I
not the same Tarzan--mighty hunter--invincible fighter--that you all
knew for many seasons?"

The apes all crowded forward now, but more in curiosity than
threatening. They muttered among themselves for a few moments.

"What do you want among us now?" asked Karnath.

"Only peace," answered the ape-man.

Again the apes conferred. At length Karnath spoke again.

"Come in peace, then, Tarzan of the Apes," he said.

And so Tarzan of the Apes dropped lightly to the turf into the midst of
the fierce and hideous horde--he had completed the cycle of evolution,
and had returned to be once again a brute among brutes.

There were no greetings such as would have taken place among men after
a separation of two years. The majority of the apes went on about the
little activities that the advent of the ape-man had interrupted,
paying no further attention to him than as though he had not been gone
from the tribe at all.

One or two young bulls who had not been

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