There was one of the tribe of Tarzan who questioned his
authority, and that was Terkoz, the son of Tublat, but he
so feared the keen knife and the deadly arrows of his new
Lord that he confined the manifestation of his objections to
petty disobediences and irritating mannerisms; Tarzan knew,
however, that he but waited his opportunity to wrest the
kingship from him by some sudden stroke of treachery, and
so he was ever on his guard against surprise.
For months the life of the little band went on much as it
had before, except that Tarzan's greater intelligence and his
ability as a hunter were the means of providing for them
more bountifully than ever before. Most of them, therefore,
were more than content with the change in rulers.
Tarzan led them by night to the fields of the black men,
and there, warned by their chief's superior wisdom, they ate
only what they required, nor ever did they destroy what they
could not eat, as is the way of Manu, the monkey, and of
So, while the blacks were wroth at the continued pilfering
of their fields, they were not discouraged in their efforts to
cultivate the land, as would have been the case had Tarzan
permitted his people to lay waste the plantation wantonly.
During this period Tarzan paid many nocturnal visits to the
village, where he often renewed his supply of arrows. He
soon noticed the food always standing at the foot of the tree
which was his avenue into the palisade, and after a little, he
commenced to eat whatever the blacks put there.
When the awe-struck savages saw that the food disappeared
overnight they were filled with consternation and dread,
for it was one thing to put food out to propitiate a god
or a devil, but quite another thing to have the spirit really
come into the village and eat it. Such a thing was unheard of,
and it clouded their superstitious minds with all manner of
Nor was this all. The periodic disappearance of their
arrows, and the strange pranks perpetrated by unseen hands,
had wrought them to such a state that life had become a
veritable burden in their new home, and now it was that Mbonga
and his head men began to talk of abandoning the village and
seeking a site farther on in the jungle.
Presently the black warriors began to strike farther and
farther south into the heart of the forest when they went to
hunt, looking for a site for a new village.
More often was the tribe of Tarzan disturbed by these
wandering huntsmen. Now was the quiet, fierce solitude of
the primeval forest broken by new, strange cries. No longer
was there safety for bird or beast. man had come.
Other animals passed up and down the jungle by day and
by night--fierce, cruel beasts--but their weaker neighbors
only fled from their immediate vicinity to return again when
the danger was past.
With man it is different. When he comes many of the larger
animals instinctively leave the district entirely, seldom
if ever to return; and thus it has always been with the great
anthropoids. They flee man as man flees a pestilence.
For a short time the tribe of Tarzan lingered in the vicinity
of the beach because their new chief hated the thought of
leaving the treasured contents of the little cabin forever. But
when one day a member of the tribe discovered the blacks in
great numbers on the banks of a little stream that had been
their watering place for generations, and in the act of clearing
a space in the jungle and erecting many huts, the apes would
remain no longer; and so Tarzan led them inland for many
marches to a spot as yet undefiled by the foot of a human being.
Once every moon Tarzan would go swinging rapidly back
through the swaying branches to have a day with his books,
and to replenish his supply of arrows. This latter task was
becoming more and more difficult, for the blacks had taken to
hiding their supply away at night in granaries and living huts.
This necessitated watching by day on Tarzan's part to
discover where the arrows were being concealed.
Twice had he entered huts at night while the inmates lay
sleeping upon their mats, and stolen the arrows from the very
sides of the warriors. But this method he realized to be too
fraught with danger, and so he commenced picking up solitary
hunters with his long, deadly noose, stripping them of weapons
and ornaments and dropping their bodies from a high tree into
the village street during the still watches of the night.
These various escapades again so terrorized the blacks that,
had it not been for the monthly respite between Tarzan's
visits, in which they had opportunity to renew hope that each
fresh incursion would prove the last, they soon would have
abandoned their new village.
The blacks had not as yet come upon Tarzan's cabin on
the distant beach, but the ape-man lived in constant dread
that, while he was away with the tribe, they would discover
and despoil his treasure. So it came that he spent more and
more time in the vicinity of his father's last home, and less
and less with the tribe. Presently the members of his little
community began to suffer on account of his neglect, for
disputes and quarrels constantly arose which only the King
might settle peaceably.
At last some of the older apes spoke to Tarzan on the subject,
and for a month thereafter he remained constantly with
The duties of kingship among the anthropoids are not
many or arduous.
In the afternoon comes Thaka, possibly, to complain that
old Mungo has stolen his new wife. Then must Tarzan summon
all before him, and if he finds that the wife prefers her
new Lord he commands that matters remain as they are, or
possibly that Mungo give Thaka one of his daughters in exchange.
Whatever his decision, the apes accept it as final, and
return to their occupations satisfied.
Then comes Tana, shrieking and holding tight her side
from which blood is streaming. Gunto, her husband, has
cruelly bitten her! And Gunto, summoned, says that Tana is
lazy and will not bring him nuts and beetles, or scratch his
back for him.
So Tarzan scolds them both and threatens Gunto with a
taste of the death-bearing slivers if he abuses Tana further,
and Tana, for her part, is compelled to promise better
attention to her wifely duties.
And so it goes, little family differences for the most part,
which, if left unsettled would result finally in greater
factional strife, and the eventual dismemberment of the tribe.
But Tarzan tired of it, as he found that kingship meant the
curtailment of his liberty. He longed for the little cabin and
the sun-kissed sea--for the cool interior of the well-built
house, and for the never-ending wonders of the many books.
As he had grown older, he found that he had grown away
from his people. Their interests and his were far removed.
They had not kept pace with him, nor could they understand
aught of the many strange and wonderful dreams that passed
through the active brain of their human King. So limited was
their vocabulary that Tarzan could not even talk with them
of the many new truths, and the great fields of thought that
his reading had opened up before his longing eyes, or make
known ambitions which stirred his soul.
Among the tribe he no longer had friends as of old. A little
child may find companionship in many strange and simple
creatures, but to a grown man there must be some semblance
of equality in intellect as the basis for agreeable association.
Had Kala lived, Tarzan would have sacrificed all else to
remain near her, but now that she was dead, and the playful
friends of his childhood grown into fierce and surly brutes he
felt that he much preferred the peace and solitude of his
cabin to the irksome duties of leadership amongst a horde of
The hatred and jealousy of Terkoz, son of Tublat, did
much to counteract the effect of Tarzan's desire to renounce
his kingship among the apes, for, stubborn young Englishman
that he was, he could not bring himself to retreat in the face
of so malignant an enemy.
That Terkoz would be chosen leader in his stead he knew
full well, for time and again the ferocious brute had
established his claim to physical supremacy over the
few bull apes who had dared resent his savage bullying.
Tarzan would have liked to subdue the ugly beast without
recourse to knife or arrows. So much had his great strength
and agility increased in the period following his maturity that
he had come to believe that he might master the redoubtable
Terkoz in a hand to hand fight were it not for the terrible
advantage the anthropoid's huge fighting fangs gave him
over the poorly armed Tarzan.
The entire matter was taken out of Tarzan's hands one day
by force of circumstances, and his future left open to him, so
that he might go or stay without any stain upon his savage
It happened thus:
The tribe was feeding quietly, spread over a considerable
area, when a great screaming arose some distance east of
where Tarzan lay upon his belly beside a limpid brook,
attempting to catch an elusive fish in his quick, brown hands.
With one accord the tribe swung rapidly toward the frightened
cries, and there found Terkoz holding an old female by
the hair and beating her unmercifully with his great hands.
As Tarzan approached he raised his hand aloft for Terkoz
to desist, for the female was not his, but belonged to a poor
old ape whose fighting days were long over, and who, therefore,
could not protect his family.
Terkoz knew that it was against the laws of his kind to
strike this woman of another, but being a bully, he had taken
advantage of the weakness of the female's husband to chastise
her because she had refused to give up to him a tender
young rodent she had captured.
When Terkoz saw Tarzan approaching without his arrows,
he continued to belabor the poor woman in a studied effort to
affront his hated chieftain.
Tarzan did not repeat his warning signal, but instead
rushed bodily upon the waiting Terkoz.
Never had the ape-man fought so terrible a battle since
that long-gone day when Bolgani, the great King gorilla had
so horribly manhandled him ere the new-found knife had, by
accident, pricked the savage heart.
Tarzan's knife on the present occasion but barely offset the
gleaming fangs of Terkoz, and what little advantage the ape
had over the man in brute strength was almost balanced by
the latter's wonderful quickness and agility.
In the sum total of their points, however, the anthropoid
had a shade the better of the battle, and had there been no
other personal attribute to influence the final outcome,
Tarzan of the Apes, the young Lord Greystoke, would have died
as he had lived--an unknown savage beast in equatorial Africa.
But there was that which had raised him far above his fellows
of the jungle--that little spark which spells the whole
vast difference between man and brute--Reason. This it was
which saved him from death beneath the iron muscles and
tearing fangs of Terkoz.
Scarcely had they fought a dozen seconds ere they were
rolling upon the ground, striking, tearing and rending--two
great savage beasts battling to the death.
Terkoz had a dozen knife wounds on head and breast, and
Tarzan was torn and bleeding--his scalp in one place half
torn from his head so that a great piece hung down over one
eye, obstructing his vision.
But so far the young Englishman had been able to keep
those horrible fangs from his jugular and now, as they fought
less fiercely for a moment, to regain their breath, Tarzan
formed a cunning plan. He would work his way to the other's
back and, clinging there with tooth and nail, drive his knife
home until Terkoz was no more.
The maneuver was accomplished more easily than he had
hoped, for the stupid beast, not knowing what Tarzan was
attempting, made no particular effort to prevent the
accomplishment of the design.
But when, finally, he realized that his antagonist was
fastened to him where his teeth and fists alike were useless
against him, Terkoz hurled himself about upon the ground so
violently that Tarzan could but cling desperately to the
leaping, turning, twisting body, and ere he had struck a
blow the knife was hurled from his hand by a heavy impact
against the earth, and Tarzan found himself defenseless.
During the rollings and squirmings of the next few minutes,
Tarzan's hold was loosened a dozen times until finally
an accidental circumstance of those swift and everchanging
evolutions gave him a new hold with his right hand, which he
realized was absolutely unassailable.
His arm was passed beneath Terkoz's arm from behind
and his hand and forearm encircled the back of Terkoz's
neck. It was the half-Nelson of modern wrestling which the
untaught ape-man had stumbled upon, but superior reason
showed him in an instant the value of the thing he had
discovered. It was the difference to him between life and death.
And so he struggled to encompass a similar hold with the
left hand, and in a few moments Terkoz's bull neck was
creaking beneath a full-Nelson.
There was no more lunging about now. The two lay perfectly
still upon the ground, Tarzan upon Terkoz's back. Slowly the
bullet head of the ape was being forced lower and
lower upon his chest.
Tarzan knew what the result would be. In an instant the
neck would break. Then there came to Terkoz's rescue the
same thing that had put him in these sore straits--a man's
"If I kill him," thought Tarzan, "what advantage will it be
to me? Will it not rob the tribe of a great fighter? And if
Terkoz be dead, he will know nothing of my supremacy,
while alive he will ever be an example to the other apes."
"KA-GODA?" hissed Tarzan in Terkoz's ear, which, in ape
tongue, means, freely translated: "Do you surrender?"
For a moment there was no reply, and Tarzan added a few
more ounces of pressure, which elicited a horrified shriek
of pain from the great beast.
"KA-GODA?" repeated Tarzan.
"KA-GODA!" cried Terkoz.
"Listen," said Tarzan, easing up a trifle, but not releasing
his hold. "I am Tarzan, King of the Apes, mighty hunter,
mighty fighter. In all the jungle there is none so great.
"You have said: `KA-GODA' to me. All the tribe have heard.
Quarrel no more with your King or your people, for next
time I shall kill you. Do you understand?"
"HUH," assented Terkoz.
"And you are satisfied?"
"HUH," said the ape.
Tarzan let him up, and in a few minutes all were back at
their vocations, as though naught had occurred to mar the
tranquility of their primeval forest haunts.
But deep in the minds of the apes was rooted the conviction
that Tarzan was a mighty fighter and a strange creature.
Strange because he had had it in his power to kill his enemy,
but had allowed him to live--unharmed.
That afternoon as the tribe came together, as was their
wont before darkness settled on the jungle, Tarzan, his
wounds washed in the waters of the stream, called the old
males about him.
"You have seen again to-day that Tarzan of the Apes is
the greatest among you," he said.
"HUH," they replied with one voice, "Tarzan is great."
"Tarzan," he continued, "is not an ape. He is not like his
people. His ways are not their ways, and so Tarzan is going
back to the lair of his own kind by the waters of the great
lake which has no farther shore. You must choose another to
rule you, for Tarzan will not return."
And thus young Lord Greystoke took the first step toward
the goal which he had set--the finding of other white men
Tarzan of the Apes Chapter 11
... Tarzan of the Apes Chapter 13