The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 38

men. They were alone, but as they approached
she learned from the talk of the natives that surrounded them that they
possessed a considerable following that was camped outside the village.
They were coming to palaver with The Sheik.

The old Arab met them at the entrance to his tent. His eyes narrowed
wickedly when they had appraised the newcomers. They stopped before
him, exchanging greetings. They had come to trade for ivory they said.
The Sheik grunted. He had no ivory. Meriem gasped. She knew that in
a near-by hut the great tusks were piled almost to the roof. She poked
her little head further forward to get a better view of the strangers.
How white their skins! How yellow their great beards!

Suddenly one of them turned his eyes in her direction. She tried to
dodge back out of sight, for she feared all men; but he saw her.
Meriem noticed the look of almost shocked surprise that crossed his
face. The Sheik saw it too, and guessed the cause of it.

"I have no ivory," he repeated. "I do not wish to trade. Go away. Go
now."

He stepped from his tent and almost pushed the strangers about in the
direction of the gates. They demurred, and then The Sheik threatened.
It would have been suicide to have disobeyed, so the two men turned and
left the village, making their way immediately to their own camp.

The Sheik returned to his tent; but he did not enter it. Instead he
walked to the side where little Meriem lay close to the goat skin wall,
very frightened. The Sheik stooped and clutched her by the arm.
Viciously he jerked her to her feet, dragged her to the entrance of the
tent, and shoved her viciously within. Following her he again seized
her, beating her ruthlessly.

"Stay within!" he growled. "Never let the strangers see thy face.
Next time you show yourself to strangers I shall kill you!"

With a final vicious cuff he knocked the child into a far corner of the
tent, where she lay stifling her moans, while The Sheik paced to and
fro muttering to himself. At the entrance sat Mabunu, muttering and
chuckling.

In the camp of the strangers one was speaking rapidly to the other.

"There is no doubt of it, Malbihn," he was saying. "Not the slightest;
but why the old scoundrel hasn't claimed the reward long since is what
puzzles me."

"There are some things dearer to

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