The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

the west, the village of The Sheik lay directly in their path,
barring them effectually. To the east the trail was unknown to them,
and to the south there was no trail. So the two Swedes approached the
village of Kovudoo with friendly words upon their tongues and deep
craft in their hearts.

Their plans were well made. There was no mention of the white
prisoner--they chose to pretend that they were not aware that Kovudoo
had a white prisoner. They exchanged gifts with the old chief,
haggling with his plenipotentiaries over the value of what they were to
receive for what they gave, as is customary and proper when one has no
ulterior motives. Unwarranted generosity would have aroused suspicion.

During the palaver which followed they retailed the gossip of the
villages through which they had passed, receiving in exchange such news
as Kovudoo possessed. The palaver was long and tiresome, as these
native ceremonies always are to Europeans. Kovudoo made no mention of
his prisoner and from his generous offers of guides and presents seemed
anxious to assure himself of the speedy departure of his guests. It
was Malbihn who, quite casually, near the close of their talk,
mentioned the fact that The Sheik was dead. Kovudoo evinced interest
and surprise.

"You did not know it?" asked Malbihn. "That is strange. It was during
the last moon. He fell from his horse when the beast stepped in a
hole. The horse fell upon him. When his men came up The Sheik was
quite dead."

Kovudoo scratched his head. He was much disappointed. No Sheik meant
no ransom for the white girl. Now she was worthless, unless he
utilized her for a feast or--a mate. The latter thought aroused him.
He spat at a small beetle crawling through the dust before him. He
eyed Malbihn appraisingly. These white men were peculiar. They
traveled far from their own villages without women. Yet he knew they
cared for women. But how much did they care for them?--that was the
question that disturbed Kovudoo.

"I know where there is a white girl," he said, unexpectedly. "If you
wish to buy her she may be had cheap."

Malbihn shrugged. "We have troubles enough, Kovudoo," he said,
"without burdening ourselves with an old she-hyena, and as for paying
for one--" Malbihn snapped his fingers in derision.

"She is young," said Kovudoo, "and good looking."

The Swedes laughed. "There are no good looking white women in

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Page 10
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