The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 36

little heart. Only when The Sheik was near was she quiet
and subdued. Him she feared with a fear that was at times almost
hysterical terror. She feared the gloomy jungle too--the cruel jungle
that surrounded the little village with chattering monkeys and
screaming birds by day and the roaring and coughing and moaning of the
carnivora by night. Yes, she feared the jungle; but so much more did
she fear The Sheik that many times it was in her childish head to run
away, out into the terrible jungle forever rather than longer to face
the ever present terror of her father.

As she sat there this day before The Sheik's goatskin tent, fashioning
a skirt of grasses for Geeka, The Sheik appeared suddenly approaching.
Instantly the look of happiness faded from the child's face. She
shrunk aside in an attempt to scramble from the path of the
leathern-faced old Arab; but she was not quick enough. With a brutal
kick the man sent her sprawling upon her face, where she lay quite
still, tearless but trembling. Then, with an oath at her, the man
passed into the tent. The old, black hag shook with appreciative
laughter, disclosing an occasional and lonesome yellow fang.

When she was sure The Sheik had gone, the little girl crawled to the
shady side of the tent, where she lay quite still, hugging Geeka close
to her breast, her little form racked at long intervals with choking
sobs. She dared not cry aloud, since that would have brought The Sheik
upon her again. The anguish in her little heart was not alone the
anguish of physical pain; but that infinitely more pathetic anguish--of
love denied a childish heart that yearns for love.

Little Meriem could scarce recall any other existence than that of the
stern cruelty of The Sheik and Mabunu. Dimly, in the back of her
childish memory there lurked a blurred recollection of a gentle mother;
but Meriem was not sure but that even this was but a dream picture
induced by her own desire for the caresses she never received, but
which she lavished upon the much loved Geeka. Never was such a spoiled
child as Geeka. Its little mother, far from fashioning her own conduct
after the example set her by her father and nurse, went to the extreme
of indulgence. Geeka was kissed a thousand times a day. There was
play in which Geeka was naughty; but the little mother never punished.
Instead, she caressed and fondled; her attitude

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