The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 37

influenced solely by
her own pathetic desire for love.

Now, as she pressed Geeka close to her, her sobs lessened gradually,
until she was able to control her voice, and pour out her misery into
the ivory ear of her only confidante.

"Geeka loves Meriem," she whispered. "Why does The Sheik, my father,
not love me, too? Am I so naughty? I try to be good; but I never know
why he strikes me, so I cannot tell what I have done which displeases
him. Just now he kicked me and hurt me so, Geeka; but I was only
sitting before the tent making a skirt for you. That must be wicked,
or he would not have kicked me for it. But why is it wicked, Geeka?
Oh dear! I do not know, I do not know. I wish, Geeka, that I were
dead. Yesterday the hunters brought in the body of El Adrea. El Adrea
was quite dead. No more will he slink silently upon his unsuspecting
prey. No more will his great head and his maned shoulders strike
terror to the hearts of the grass eaters at the drinking ford by night.
No more will his thundering roar shake the ground. El Adrea is dead.
They beat his body terribly when it was brought into the village; but
El Adrea did not mind. He did not feel the blows, for he was dead.
When I am dead, Geeka, neither shall I feel the blows of Mabunu, or the
kicks of The Sheik, my father. Then shall I be happy. Oh, Geeka, how
I wish that I were dead!"

If Geeka contemplated a remonstrance it was cut short by sounds of
altercation beyond the village gates. Meriem listened. With the
curiosity of childhood she would have liked to have run down there and
learn what it was that caused the men to talk so loudly. Others of the
village were already trooping in the direction of the noise. But
Meriem did not dare. The Sheik would be there, doubtless, and if he
saw her it would be but another opportunity to abuse her, so Meriem lay
still and listened.

Presently she heard the crowd moving up the street toward The Sheik's
tent. Cautiously she stuck her little head around the edge of the
tent. She could not resist the temptation, for the sameness of the
village life was monotonous, and she craved diversion. What she saw
was two strangers--white

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