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The Jungle Tales of Tarzan:
A Morphological Study
Vladimir Propp’s Structural Theory
David Arthur Adams
[First published in the Fantastic Worlds of ERB #47, Spring-Summer
Jungle Tales of Tarzan
A Chart of the Jungle Tales of Tarzan
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote two stories intended specifically
for children. They are: The Tarzan Twins (1926) and
Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion
(1928). These have been considered to be among ERB’s lesser writings
until they were realized to be little masterworks in the genre of fairy
tales when I applied Propp’s system of structural analysis to them.
The great, Russian folklorist, Vladimir Propp
(1895-1970) published his first book, Morphology of the Folktale
in 1928. Though well-received, the book remained in relative
obscurity until it was translated into English in 1958. It is not
my intent to argue the validity of Propp’s theories since this article
is meant for a popular audience more interested in the works of Edgar Rice
Burroughs rather than arcane studies on the folktale.
The interesting thing about Propp’s work
is the fact that he developed a method to study the folktale according
to the functions of its dramatis personae. He claims that these “functions”
or acts of a character are limited in number and follow a more or less
identical sequence. The word “morphology” simply means the
study of forms -- the study of component parts in their relationships to
each other and to the whole -- in other words, the study of the story’s
Since Edgar Rice Burroughs is recognized as being
a great story teller, I wondered if Propp’s functions could be applied
to his two Tarzan Twins stories. After finding them to be exemplary
examples of the wondertale , or fairy tale, I turned my attention to his
earlier stories, the Jungle Tales of Tarzan of 1916-1917.
My findings are outlined in the following article.
Burroughs wrote his Jungle Tales in two batches:
(1-8) in 1916, and (9-12) in 1917. These short stories are a rarity
with Burroughs the novelist. The stories are related to each other,
yet each one is complete in itself. Unlike the Tarzan Twins stories,
these tales were not intended specifically for children, however, they
do follow the sequence of Propp’s functions remarkably well.
A brief summary of the structure of each tale is
listed below. It will be useful to notice the range of Propp’s functions
in each tale before delving into the analysis itself.
Propp employs 31 functions or actions to be found
in each story. A folktale in its complete form will use all of these
functions. None of the Jungle Tales follow Propp’s functions as well
as the Tarzan Twins stories, which are both complete examples of folktales
since they employ all 31 functions.
Only three of the Jungle Tales (numbers 1-3-10)
start with Propp’s beginning functions, however, these all end early since
the stories are linked and completed in other tales.
Showing the Propp Functions Employed
2 6-31 (missing functions 11-14)
The Functions of Dramatis Personae
Most of the tales begin with function VIIIa.
One member of a family either lacks something or desires to have something.
This is the place in the folktale that Propp notes as being exceptionally
important, since by means of an act of villainy or the desire to eliminate
something lacking, the actual movement of the tale is created.
It is remarkable that all of these tales
follow the Propp functions in order. Burroughs did not always include
the final function XXXI. The hero is married and ascends the throne
because they were intended to be open-ended enough for the sequence to
continue. We might also assume that in creating this series of linking
short stories, Burroughs did not feel the need to go through Propp’s introductory
steps with each tale.
Although the Jungle Tales of Tarzan do not follow
Propp’s functions completely, this study reveals that they are closely
related to the folktale structure, and demonstrate ERB’s innate ability
as a natural story teller.
Propp’s focus is upon the specific actions of characters.
A further thematic analysis can reveal the relationship between these stories
in other ways.
A. Taug & Teeka are central in tales,
B. The natives of Mbonga’s village are central
in tales 2,4,5,6,7,9,11.
(the Tibo/Bukawai tales are 5,6,7)
Thus, ERB roughly alternates his tales between stories
describing Tarzan’s relationships with the ape tribe and Tarzan’s relationships
with the natives.
in Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale
Jungle Tales of Tarzan
David Arthur Adams
[The items in Roman numerals are Propp’s “functions”.
The small case explanations which sometimes immediately follow the functions
are also Propp’s own words. These explanations have been greatly
reduced for this brief paper.]
Chapter 1 - Tarzan’s First Love
Chapter 3 - The Fight for the Balu
Chapter 10 - The Battle for Teeka
I. One of the members
of a family absents himself from home.
1- Tarzan finds Teeka, a young
female ape, to be a vision of loveliness. He is an orphan child who
was raised by apes. He envies Teeka’s handsome coat of hair, her
great teeth, her beetling brows and broad flat nose, and her mouth!
3- Teeka had become the mother of a balu, a baby.
Tarzan was more interested in the fact than Taug, the father. Teeka
was no longer interested in playing childish games, and Tarzan felt abandoned.
10 - The ape tribe is far scattered in search of
food. The males have foraged far afield.
II. An interdiction
is addressed to the hero.
1- Tarzan is annoyed when another
ape, Taug, caresses Teeka. He claims her, but Taug replies, “Teeka
3- Tarzan tries to touch Teeka’s balu, she bites
him. She says, “Go away, or I will kill you.”
10 - Tarzan had warned them to always keep a sentry
posted in chapter 8.
III. The interdiction
is violated, and a villain enters the tale
1- Tarzan fights Taug for Teeka, and
she is delighted.
3 -Tarzan persists despite Teeka’s warning saying, “Let
me see it.”
10 - The apes have relaxed their vigilance or deserted
IV. The villain
makes an attempt at reconnaissance.
1- Sheeta, the leopard, sees that Teeka
is vulnerable as the two heroes fight over her.
3- Taug had heard the warnings and threats of his mate
and comes to her succor.
Chapter 8 - The Lion
8 - Numa, the lion, waits beside a pool to make a kill.
[This tale begins without an interdiction.]
10 - A huge bull ape, Toog, has lost the kingship
of his tribe, and he is wandering, maddened by solitude and defeat.
V. The villain receives
information about his victim. (Definition: delivery)
1- She is separated from the battle.
3 - Tarzan and Taug had once measured strength, and Tarzan
had been victorious. Taug would remember this, but he might readily
face another defeat for his first-born.
Tarzan ropes Taug and pulls him into a tree hanging
head downward thirty feet above the ground. Teeka sees an implacable
foe in Tarzan, always heretofore her best friend.
8 - He carefully observes Pacco, the zebra coming down
for a drink.
10 - Toog comes upon Teeka and her balu alone in
the jungle. He sees no sign of any other apes.
Chapter 2 - The Capture of Tarzan
VI. The villain
attempts to deceive his victim in order to take possession of him or of
1- Sheeta slinks through the
jungle to reach Teeka.
2 - The natives dig a pit in the jungle trail.
3 - The other bull apes begin to abuse poor Taug,
and Tarzan fights one until it falls to his death.
8 - Numa remains very silent.
10- Toog desires Teeka and thinks he can easily kill
VII. The victim
submits to deception and thereby unwittingly helps his enemy.
1- Teeka is too busy enjoying
the fight over her to notice the leopard.
2 - Tarzan watches them, but does not guess the
purpose of the pit. When the natives leave, he inspects the trap,
but he cannot solve the mystery.
3- As Tarzan frees Taug from the rope, Teeka
is so interested in the scene that she places her balu on the ground.
8 - The zebra senses no danger, so he finally leads
his family to the pool.
10 - The posting of sentries has lulled the apes into
a sense of peaceful security.
VIII. The villain
causes harm or injury to a member of a family.
This function is exceptionally
important, since by means of it the actual movement of the tale is created.
Absentation, the violation of interdiction, delivery, the success of a
deceit, all prepare the way for this function, create its possibility of
occurrence, or simply facilitate its happening. Therefore, the first
seven functions may be regarded as the preparatory part of the tale, whereas
the complication is begun by an act of villainy. The forms of villainy
are exceedingly varied.
1- Tarzan notices the danger to Teeka and ropes
the great cat, preventing the kill, but he is chased up a tree. For
the time being, Teeka chooses to sit beside Tarzan.
2 - Tarzan decides to return to the ape tribe.
Along the way he meets his friend, Tantor, the elephant. He spends
some time with him, then goes off in search of food. While he is
away, the purpose of the pit occurs to him. It is to capture his
3 - Sheeta, the leopard, sees the helpless balu
and begins worming his way stealthily forward, his belly close to the ground.
8 - Numa attacks the zebra, but a snapping twig
robs him of his meal.
10- Toog approaches Teeka; she bares her fans and
sends Gazan, her balu, into a tall tree. Teeka runs away, so Toog
pursues Gazan and shakes him out of the high branches. Gazan falls
to the ground at Teeka’s feet still and motionless. Toog carries
Teeka off into the jungle.
Chapter 4 - The God of Tarzan
Chapter 5 - Tarzan and the Black Boy
Chapter 6 - The Witch-Doctor Seeks Vengeance
Chapter 7 - The End of Bukawai
Chapter 9 - The Nightmare
Chapter 11 - A Jungle Joke
Chapter 12 - Tarzan Rescues the Moon
These tales begins with Propp’s function VIIIa, which
is typical of ERB’s type of questing story.
See More Jungle Tales Art in the ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Encyclopedia
VIIIa. One member
of a family either lacks something or desires to have something.
1- Tarzan goes off to hunt, and
while he is gone Teeka grooms Taug. Upon his return he sees that
he has lost her and goes sadly into the jungle.
2- Tarzan immediately flies through the trees to
warn Tantor of the trap. On the way, Tarzan is charged by Buto, the
rhinocerous, delaying his rescue, but he escapes by his agility and speed.
3 - Tarzan sees the leopard and runs toward the
balu. Teeka thinks he is after her baby, but she also spies the leopard.
4 - Tarzan had taught himself how to read, however,
he longs for futher knowledge.
5 - Tarzan is repairing his rope that Sheeta has
mangled. He is dreaming of capturing Numa, the lion, with his new
rope. The apes are happily feeding around him.
Tarzan is allowed to play with Gazan ever since he rescued
him in chapter three. Gazan steals his rope and carries it to Teeka.
Tarzan chases him to retrieve the rope and tussles with him, but Teeka
is not worried at this harmless play. Tarzan thinks that in time
Gazan will be able to use a rope as he does.
Tarzan feels quite alone in the world and longs desperately
for one who should turn first to him for succor and protection. Tarzan
ropes Horta, the boar, kills him with his knife and eats his hot and dripping
6 - Lord Greystoke (William Cecil Clayton) is shooting
pheasants at Chamston-Hedding. His hunting and life-style are contrasted
with Tarzan’s, who happens to be hunting in Africa at the same time.
Tarzan meets a lion at a stream without an incident. (It has been
a month since the last story in chapter 5.)
Tarzan is looking for some relief from the monotony
of his existence in such excitement as he might derive from baiting the
blacks. This is to be a questing tale.
7. Tarzan, the orphan child used to taunt
his foster father, Tublat, with his rope, which was only enjoyable to the
boy. He was always inventing new ways to play.
8 - A hungry Numa leaves the river to hunt
elsewhere. He comes upon the tribe of Kerchak.
9 - Tarzan is hungry, for he has been unable to
make a kill all day.
10 - Gazan revives without his mother, and a hyena
begins stalking him.
11 - While giving himself a haircut with a sharpened
shell, Tarzan thinks about the adventures already told in this book.
He swings through the trees in a leisurely way toward his cabin when he
comes upon a group of Mbonga’s warriors. They are building a trap
for Numa, the lion, a baited cage.
12 - It is a moonlit night. Tarzan is not
hungry. He feels the joy of living, and has an intense desire to
IX. Misfortune or
lack is made known; the hero is approached with a request or command; he
is allowed to go or he is dispatched.
This function brings the hero
into the tale.
1- Tarzan watches Mbonga’s warriors build a cage
on the jungle trail. Taug gets trapped in the cage. When Tarzan discovers
Taug’s plight, he is pleased because now he can have Teeka for his own.
2- The warriors frighten Tantor to cause him to
run toward the pit with Tarzan close behind. He has heard the shouts
and has interpreted them correctly.
3 - Tarzan and Sheeta stand on either side of the
balu baring their fangs and snarling at each other over the little creature.
4 - He is especially puzzled over the meaning of
the word, ‘God.”
5 - Tarzan observes that all the creatures of the
jungle have their own kind, except himself. He feels sad and lonely.
6 - Tarzan goes to the native village and hears
a great wailing. He is annoyed at the sound and thinks he might be
fun to drop into the village and kill the howling one. (He has already
had his revenge for the death of Kala. He now derived excitement
and pleasure from baiting the blacks.)
Tarzan recognizes the wailer as Momaya, the mother
of Tibo. She throws herself at Tarzan’s feet, babbling in a tongue
Tarzan did not understand.
7. One day Tarzan’s rope was caugt in a branch
8 - Tarzan and the apes see the lion coming
and they all scatter except Tarzan. He tries to rally the bulls to
fight, but the lion carries off Mamka, a mother ape.
9 - He watches the blacks in the village of Mbonga
having a feast of elephant meat. He does not know that it is tainted.
10 - Tarzan is passing time at his parent’s cabin among
their bones. He is playing with a bag of coins when one rolls under
the bed containing his mother’s bones. Tarzan finds a box of cartridges
and puts a handful of them into his pocket pouch he had taken from
a black warrior he had slain. He returns to the scattered tribe,
searching for Teeka and Gazan.
Meanwhile, Taug had found the hyena with the apparently
lifeless body of Gazan. He kills the hyena and feels sorrow as any
other father might feel sorrow at the loss of a little child. Tarzan
arrives upon this scene and finds that Gazan is not dead and appraises
that a stranger bull has hurt Gazan and carried off Teeka.
11- Tarzan knows from past experiences that the blacks
would torture the captured lion. He has feelings of revulsion at
12 - While exploring at night, Tarzan comes upon a party
of half a dozen black warriors around a fire - - evidently a hunting party
from the village of Mbonga caught out in the jungle after dark. There is
a thorn boma around the camp. Maneating lions circle the boma, so
the natives throw firebrands at them. Finally a lion leaps over the
boma, and the man on guard leaps over the other side, running for a tree.
The lion picks up a screaming Negro, leaps out to Sabor, his mate,
and the lions feed on him.
X. The seeker agrees
to or decides upon counteraction.
A volitional decision, of course, precedes the
1- Tarzan tells Teeka that the
Gomangani have Taug. When she puts her arm around him, he notices
that they are different beings. He beats his chest and gives the
cry of the victorious bull ape, then goes to rescue Taug.
2 - Tarzan calls Tantor to stop, but he does not
3 - Tarzan attacks the leopard, followed by Taug
and the rest of the bull apes. They tear Sheeta to pieces.
After the battle, Teeka lets Tarzan hold her balu. Both Teeka and
Taug clean Tarzan’s wounds. [THE END]
4 - Tarzan questions Mumga, a very old, she ape,
5 - Tarzan goes questing for adventure toward the
village of Mbonga. It was his son, Kulonga, who had slain Kala.
6 - Tarzan grows impatient and leaves the village.
7 - When he could not shake it loose, Tarzan climbed
the rope to remove it from the branch.
8 - Tarzan rallies the apes and they follow the
lion, trying to drive him away from his kill with sticks and branches and
finally with stones. (Tarzan does not want Numa to start feeding
upon apes.) When these efforts fail, Tarzan persuades his friend,
Taug, to act as a decoy while he retrieved the body. Numa momentarily
falls for the trick, but still has time to chase Tarzan. Gunto pulls
Tarzan still carrying Mamka’s dead body to safety at the last moment.
9 - Since there are so many warriors around
the cooking pot, he knows he will have to wait until the blacks gorge themselves
to stupor, then sneak into the village for scraps.
10 - Tarzan decides to follow the bull ape. The
other bulls want to go alone, but he tells them to remain and guard the
tribe. In the past no one ever had thought to go forth in search
of the shes that were occasionally stolen from the tribe.
11- Tarzan has freed lions from traps before, and
he decides immediately he will do the same today.
12 - Tarzan grew bored with the entertainment.
XI. The hero leaves
Unlike the first absence element, this one is
marked with a search for a goal.
1- He finds the tired warriors
asleep on the jungle trail.
4 - Mumga does not have an answer, so the
5 - He finds a woman with her child farther down
stream on the river that winds close beside the village. Tarzan thinks
that the ten-year-old boy might make a fine balu for himself.
6 - Tarzan comes upon some tracks on a game trail.
He recognizes Tibo’s footprints, who was led away by an old man with two
hyenas. He realizes that Momaya thinks that he has taken Tibo again.
He decides to investigate.
7 - When he was part way up, a frolicsome
playmate ran off with the end of the rope, which showed him the possibilities
of swinging in wide arcs. At first, Tarzan told his friend to stop,
but when he discovered the pleasure of swinging on the rope, he did it
8. Tarzan tells the apes that they should
post sentries to watch for future attacks. Then he goes off to Mbonga’s
village and sees Rabba Kega, the witch-doctor, dressed in the hide and
head of Gorgo, the buffalo.
9 - One old man stays awake gorging himself on
the meat. Tarzan is disgusted and compares him with Dango, the hyena.
He can wait no longer, so he enters the village.
10 - Tarzan decides to take Taug with him on his quest
for Teeka, leaving Gazan in care of Mumga. He warns her that if the
balu dies in his absence he will kill her too.
11 - Tarzan has a new-born thought. First
he removes the bait, a kid, from the trap careful not the disturb the fiber
cord that closed the door. He kills the animal by cutting its
throat with his knife. He spreads a trail of blood by dragging it
down the trail to the drinking hole. There he eviscerates the carcass,
burying the parts he did not eat; then he buried the rest of the kid.
12 - He yawned and returned to the apes to sleep.
XII. The hero is
tested, interrogated, attacked, etc.,
which prepares the way for his receiving either a
magical agent or helper
1- Tarzan strangles one of the
guards to death. He frees Taug and tells him to go back to Teeka.
“Tarzan is a man. He will go alone.” [THE END]
2 - None
4 - Another ape, Numgo, tells Tarzan
that the power that made the lightning and the rain and the thunder came
from Goro, the moon. This provides him with a basis for further investigation
along a new line.
5 - Tarzan ropes the black boy and escapes into
the trees with him before the mother can interfere. The boy is biting
and scratching Tarzan.
6 - [This episode is in the nature of an interrogation
which took place two days ago.]
Bukawai had come to the native village for his
payment for returning Tibo. Since he had not been responsible for
the return, (see chapter 5) Momaya refused to pay, so Bukawai kidnapped
7- One day Tarzan swung so long that
the rope frayed, and he fell to the ground. Tublat was glad, for
this would be the end of Tarzan and most of his troubles. However,
Tarzan was only knocked unconscious - - saved by falling into the
8 - Seeing a lion skin with the head still on stretched
against a hut gives him an idea for some fun.
9 - Tarzan strangles the old man to death.
10 - They follow by scent, but a rain storm washes the
11 - Then Tarzan, swinging through the trees, follows
the blacks and notices his old enemy, Rabba Kega, the witch doctor has
fallen behind the others. A poisonous insect, the virus of whose
sting spells death, crawls over Tarzan’s face.
12 - Tarzan lies in his tree wondering about the moon
and stars. He wants to know why things happen. He wants to
know the secrets of life and death.
XIII. The hero reacts
to the actions of the future donor.
He performs a service of some kind, such as
4 - Tarzan decides to investigate the moon.
5 - Tarzan explains his good intentions to the
boy in ape language, but it only frightens him because it sounds like the
barking and growling of a beast. Tarzan decides to take Tibo, the
Go-bu-balu or black-he-baby, to the tribe of Kerchak where he can learn
to speak properly.
6 - Tibo is taken to Bukawai’s cave as a prisoner,
and the witch doctor has to defend him against the attack of his hyenas.
7 - Kala ran to Tarzan, but he only had a
cut upon the back of his head. In a few minutes he was as active
8 - Tarzan slips into the village by night . .
9 - Then he takes some of the meat, then
shoves the dead man into the cooking pot. There is no mercy shown.
Tarzan is about to enter into a dark adventure.
10 - Tarzan’s keen nose finally discovers a faint
trace of the scent spoor of Toog on the bottom of a broad leaf he had brushed
with a hairy shoulder.
11 - Tarzan does not even blink when the insect’s antennae
brush the lashes of his lower eye lid.
12 - His questions posed to the apes have brought no
answers. Nor can he find answers from the inanimate things
of nature, flowers and vines. He often talked to them, as he talked
to Goro, the moon, and Kudu, the sun, always disappointed they do not reply.
XIV. The hero acquires
the use of a magical agent.
This may be a capacity, such as the power of
transformation into animals, etc., or an agent is eaten or drunk.
4 - Tarzan climbs the tallest tree in the jungle
and calls to the moon, asking if it is God. He uses the word Bulamutumumo
5 - Tarzan has the boy for his balu, but the child
is terrified. Tarzan promises to take care of him, feed and protect
him like his mother.
6 - The hyenas are held behind a rude lattice while
Bukawai returns to the village for his payment, which is now higher than
before. Tibo sees a second opening in the walls of the cave which
suggests a means of escape to him, but he is too frightened to investigate.
The hyenas have almost broken the lattice down, and in a moment Tibo will
7 - This day he learned something, and that
he did not lose his life in the learning of it, was a matter of great surprise
to Tarzan, and the fly in the ointment, to Tublat.
8 - and steals the lion skin.
9 - Tarzan returns to the jungle and eats the tainted
elephant meat. He did not like it, but he was very hungry.
He wants to vomit, but he holds the impulse down.
10 - They follow the signs and scents for two days with
all their high-strung and delicately attuned perceptive faculties.
[The magic agent of this story was acquired at the cabin.]
11 - The insect flies down to Rabba Kega. He strikes
at it and is bitten.
12 - Tarzan suddenly thinks of an explanation of the
stars and moon. He awakens Taug and tells him that the stars are
the eyes of the jungle beasts: of Numa and Sabor, of Sheeta and Dango.
He imagines they are waiting around the moon to leap in upon him for their
kill. He sees a meteor fall and imagines it is a firebrand thrown
by the moon to frighten away the stars. Taug thinks Tarzan is strange,
but he recalls all the times he has shown his friendship to him.
XV. The hero is
transferred, delivered, or led to the whereabouts of an object of search.
Generally the object of search
is located in “another” or “different” kingdom. This kingdom may
lie far away horizontally, or else very high up or deep down vertically.
He may fly through the air or find a stairway or underground passageway.
2- Tarzan drops directly in front of the charging
elephant and commands him to stop. He kicks aside some branches and
shows Tantor the pit.
4 - Since the moon does not answer him, Tarzan
decides to search for God at the village of Mbonga. He sees the witch
doctor perform strange ceremonies and decides that he must be God.
5 - Tarzan carries Tibo through the trees to the
6 - Bukawai returns to Momaya and demands payment
again. She refuses, saying that he has taken the child himself.
Bukawai tells her than Tarzan (the white jungle god) has taken Tibo.
She tells him that she cannot afford the new higher price. Bukawai
agrees to make a deal, so three warriors sit down to bargain with him.
7 - Another day Tarzan is caught in a thunderstorm.
(He compares the storm with hunting lions.)
The tree that shelters him from the storm is struck by
lightning, and he is rendered unconscious. Bukawai, the evil witch
doctor, is led to the ape-man by his two hyenas.
8 - Tarzan returns to the apes in the morning,
planning to give them a scare since he thinks that by now they have
forgotten to post a sentry. He brings Manu, the monkey, with him
to watch the fun.
9 - Tarzan falls asleep and enters a dream.
10 - Toog returns to his tribe with Teeka. They
are both bloody and battered from the difficult journey. Toog shows
his new she to two bulls. She snarls at them, but they envy Toog
because she is beautiful. A monkey warns the apes that Tarzan and
Toog are coming, so they hide in wait for them along the trail. When
the heroes arrived, they are warned of the ambush by Teeka. The apes
did not foresee that she might betray them.
11 - Before Rabba Kega can rejoin his fellows, Tarzan
drops from the tree above upon his shoulders. Tarzan’s fingers around
his throat prevents him from crying out.
12 - In the morning, Taug tells Gunto about Tarzan’s
strange thoughts. Gunto recalls Tarzan’s other strange behaviors
and remarks that “Tarzan is not an ape. He will bring Numa to eat
us, as he is bringing him to eat Goro. We should kill him.”
Taug is appalled at the suggestion, but others joined the plotters.
Tarzan is several miles away lolling upon the broad head of Tantor, the
elephant. He tells Tantor his philosophy of a good life.
XVI. The hero and
the villain join in direct combat.
In humorous tales the fight itself
sometimes does not occur. The hero and the villain may engage in
a competition . The hero wins with the help of cleverness.
2 - Tantor, realizing the danger, turns away and
runs into the jungle to safety. Tarzan has foiled the plans of the
4 - Tarzan drops from the trees directly in front
of the witch doctor and asks him, “Are you God.” The witch doctor
tries several spells on Tarzan to make him go way, including saying “Boo!”
5 - Tibo is more terrified than ever, but the exchange
of remarks between Tarzan and the apes is a comic competition: abridged
Tarzan: This is Tarzan’s Go-bu-balu.
Do not harm him, or Tarzan will kill you.
Ape: It is a Gomangani. Let me kill
Tarzan: Go away or Tarzan will kill you.
Teeka: It is a Gomangani. It will kill
my balu. Take it away, Tarzan.
Tarzan: It could not harm Pamba, the rat.
Let Gazan play with it.
6 - Rabba Kega, the local witch doctor engages
in a magic contest with Bukawai. Bukawai says that he sees Tibo in
great danger, while Rabba Kega says he is already dead at the bottom of
7 - Bukawai finds Tarzan helpless, so he binds
him and carries him back to his cave.
8 - Tarzan enters the ape’s camp dressed
in the lion skin, but Gunto is on guard and spies him.
9 - He has a nightmare about a lion who climbs
his tree and follows him into the upper terraces.
10 - Toog strikes Teeka down, and the 3 apes attack Tarzan
and Taug. Tarzan kills one with his knife and hurries to Taug’s aid, who
is fighting the other two. Tarzan loses his knife in his impact
with Toog and Teeka picks it up along with his pouch with the cartridges.
Before the heroes can kill their adversaries, Toog’s whole tribe arrives.
11 - Tarzan binds Rabba Kega with the rope that
held the kid, and makes him walk back down the trail.
12 - A black warrior unwittingly enters the territory
of the apes. They want to kill him, but Tarzan recognizes him as
the man who faced the lion with a firebrand the previous night. Tarzan
admires courage, so he tells the apes to let him go in peace. The
apes are very angry, and want to kill both the warrior and Tarzan.
Gozan says that Tarzan is “no ape at all; but a Gomangani (a black man)
with his skin off.” Taug joins Tarzan, and the apes circle, growling
to work themselves into the proper pitch for battle. The black man,
Bulabantu, guesses that Tarzan is defending him.
XVII. The hero is
2- Tarzan stamps on the trap,
and the earth suddenly give way. He falls into the pit, strikes his
head and is knocked unconscious.Fortunately he did not land on any of the
sharpened stakes, but he is marked by a swollen spot at the base of the
4 - Tarzan is bitten and scratched in the encounter,
but it is not a great issue in this story.
5 - Tarzan has to carry the nearly helpless boy
everywhere or the apes will kill him. He is a great burden to Tarzan.
6 - Bukawai is tricked out of his “trance” by Rabba
7 - Bukawai ties Tarzan to a stunted tree in his
cave with his own grass rope and leaves him to his two hyenas.
8 - The apes think the roaring Tarzan is a real
lion, so they pelt him with rocks and tree limbs.
9 - Still in his dream, Tarzan is saved from the
lion by a “great bird” (one he had seen in a book in the little cabin).
The claws dig into his back with numbing pain, and he is carried to a great
10 - The combatants are marked with blood streaming down
their sides; their faces were crimsoned with it.
11 - Tarzan takes him to the cage trap, gags him, and
leaves him there as bait for the lion. A cold sweat breaks from every
pore of his body.
12 - Tarzan realizes that he is a MAN.
XVIII. The villain
2- The natives bind him, and
carry him back to the village. The hero is momentarily defeated instead
of the villain.
4 - Finally, the witch doctor draws a line on the
ground and tells Tarzan that he cannot step over it. Tarzan comes
toward the witch doctor, and he runs away in terror. Tarzan pulls
off his buffalo head disguise and finds that he is only a cringing
5 - The boy never laughs and is growing thin since
he refuses to eat. He sobs softly to himself and will not be comforted
6 - Mbonga, the chief, does not know who
7 - Tarzan remembers his fall because of
the frayed rope and works them free, then throws one of the snarling hyenas
into Bukawai’s face.
8 - Tarzan tries to flee but Taug strikes
him unconscious with a large stone.
9 - He stabs the bird with his knife, and
Tarzan falls down toward the distant jungle.
10. Teeka throws the cartridges at the apes, and
they strike a rock. The explosion of the shells frightens off their
adversaries and the entire tribe.
11 - Rabba Kega knows he will die a horrible death when
a lion comes.
12 - Before the fight can begin, Tantor comes to the
rescue, and the apes scatter into the trees.
XIX. The initial
misfortune or lack is liquidated.
2- The natives prick him with
spears, but Tarzan shows no evidence of suffering, so they half believe
that he is a supernatural being immune to pain.
4 -Tarzan twists the witch doctor’s neck until
he passes out, then gives the victorious cry of the bull ape.
5 - Tibo grows to trust Tarzan, but he lacks “the
divine spark” that the white, English boy, Tarzan had as a child.
6 - The large payment is not made to Bukawai.
7 - Tarzan kicks the hyenas away, then ties
Bukawai to the same tree, leaving him for the time they will return.
And they did. [THE END]
8 - The apes batter Tarzan, but before they kill
him, Manu attacks the apes, telling them not to strike again.
9 - Tarzan wakes up in his tree where he fell asleep
with a lion roaring below him.
10 - The battle is quickly over.
11- Tarzan has enacted revenge upon his enemy.
12 - Tarzan did not have to fight a battle this day.
He tells the black man to “Go!” in his ape language, and he loses no time
XX. The hero returns. Sometimes return
has the nature of fleeing.
2- The hero has returned to the
native village, the place he had appeared at night to kill the natives,
but now the tables have turned and he is the tortured one.
4 - Tarzan takes the zebra tail from the unconscious
man and retraces his footsteps across the village.
5 - Momaya, Tibo’s mother goes to the tribal witch-doctor
for help in getting her son back, then finally to Bukawai, the unclean,
who practiced black magic in a cave a short distance from the village.
Bukawai lives with two hyenas thought to be devils masquerading.
His face is slowly being eaten away by a loathsome disease.
Momaya is warned by a warrior, then threatened
by Mbonga, the chief, not to go to see Bukawai, but she slips away by night.
6 - Tarzan comes to Bukawai’s cave in time to save
Tibo from the hyenas.
8 - Manu pulls the lion head from Tarzan’s
head and reveals the trick. Some of the older apes want to finish
off Tarzan, but they are stopped by Taug and Teeka. Tarzan awakens
knowing his teaching of placing guards has been useful, and that he had
good friends among the apes - - and with Manu. His face is red because
the joker did not have the last laugh. [THE END] [This short tale
does not employ all of the functions, only IV through XX.]
9 - This was Tarzan’s first dream. He is
awake back in his real jungle, but he is very puzzled and very nauseated.
10 - The dead father of Tarzan had reached out of the
past across a span of twenty years and saved his son’s life. [THE
11 - Tarzan returns to his cache of the kid and
satisfies his hunger.
12 - Tarzan and Tantor go to his cabin, his “lair by
the big water.”
XXI. The hero is
2- Tantor gives a shrill cry
to Tarzan, one he understands. Tarzan replies with his own terrifying
4 - Mbonga thinks this would be a good opportunity
to get rid of his old enemy, Tarzan, so he stalks him with a spear.
5 - Momaya has become the hero of this tale, while
Tarzan is the villain. Momaya is chased into a tree by a hunting
lion. She even climbs “apelike, to the branches above” as Tarzan
6 - Tarzan enters the passageway where Tibo is
held captive. The hyenas turn upon the ape-man.
9 - Tarzan enters a second dream. This time
Histah, the snake, comes to him with the head of the old man Tarzan had
shoved into the cooking pot. Histah tries to seize him in his jaws.
11 - In the morning the warriors discover Rabba Kega’s
mutilated corpse and a great, black-maned lion in the trap.
12 - Before he leaves, he calls to the apes, telling
them they are all foolish except Taug and Teeka and that he is done with
the tribe of Kerchak. He tells them that only Taug and Teeka may
come and see him; the rest must keep away.
XXII. Rescue of
the hero from pursuit.
From this point onward, the development
of the narrative proceeds differently, and the tale gives new functions.
2- The cannibals prepare for their evening feast.
Tarzan works hi s bonds loose all afternoon, and when they finally tie
him to the stake, he breaks loose with a single, powerful wrench.
4 - Tarzan smells Mbonga coming, so he dodges the
spear cast. Tarzan, growling like Numa, the lion, chases a terrified
Mbonga. Just Tarzan is about to cut his throat, he has pity on the
frightened, old man and lets him live. Tarzan wonders at the strange
power which had stayed his hand.
5 - Momaya is saved by her quickness.
6 - Tarzan does not even deign to draw his hunting
knife but throws one of the hyenas across the cavern after its fellow,
which is already slinking away.
9 - Tarzan strikes at him and the apparition disappears.
He awakens, and a caterpillar is crawling on his naked thigh.
11 - Tarzan grins. He is a successful practical
joker again. He had lost some of his self-pride following the painful
mauling he received by the apes when he was clothed in the skin of Numa.
The warriors give credit to “the white devil-god” for this strange turn
of events, and no one is sorry for the death of Rabba Kega.
12 - Before night fall Taug kills Gunto, picking a quarrel
with him over his attack upon Tarzan.
XXIII. The hero,
unrecognized, arrives home or in another country.
Sometimes the initial villainy
is repeated, sometimes in the same forms as in the beginning.
2- Tarzan escapes from his bonds in the native village.
4 - Tarzan returns home somewhat changed.
Tarzan could not understand, for he could conceive of nothing, or no one,
with the authority to dictate to him what he should do, or what he should
refrain from doing.
5 - Tarzan has to hunt with his Go-bu-balu farther
from the apes because they are a constant menace to his life. The
boy is growing thinner and weaker daily and he misses his mother.
6 - Tarzan returns Tibo to Momaya while the natives
are still discussing the problem with the two witch doctors.
9 - He has one nightmare after another and
wakes in the morning very ill. He crawls into a thicket to die alone
and unseen. He sleeps until afternoon and wakes weak but no longer
sick. Tarzan then goes to the cabin by the sea.
11 - The warriors take the caged lion back to the village
while Tarzan follows.
12 - Tarzan remain in his cabin away from the apes over
a month. The only apes to miss him are Taug and Teeka. The
others never give him a thought.
XXIV. A false hero
presents unfounded claims.
A special case . . .
2- The natives plans for a feast are suddenly ended.
4 - Tarzan meditates upon the causes and nature
5 - Upon observing a Sabor, a female lion, with
a dead cub, Tarzan realizes that Momaya must be suffering at the loss of
her child, and he winces at the suffering he has caused. He begins
to see the true relationship between mother and child through “association
of ideas” - Sabor and her cub; Momaya and Tibo; Teeka and Gazan.
6 - Bukawai is in the process of rebutting Rabba
Kega’s claim that Tibo is already dead.
9 - While looking through the picture book in the
cabin he sees a Bolgani, a gorilla. He falls asleep and awakens to
see a Bolgani standing in the doorway.
11 - The women immediately begin to torment the lion
with sticks and stones.
12 - Taug sees an eclipse of the moon and thinks it is
being eaten by a lion the way Tarzan suggested.
XXV. A difficult
task is proposed to the hero.
These ordeals are so varied that
each would need a special designation.
2- Only one with the almost superhuman strength
of a Tarzan could have broken the bonds.
4 - Histah, the snake, a gigantic python, has taken
Teeka’s baby, Gazan.
5 - A terrified Momaya goes to the cave of Bukawai
even after running away when she first approached the forbidden place.
Momaya bargains with Bukawai for a spell, but she must return empty-handed
because the witch doctor want the price paid before he will deliver.
6 - Both of the witch doctors are greatly embarrassed
at the return of Tibo, especially by Tarzan himself.
9 - He thinks he is dreaming again, but he is not.
The gorilla carries Tarzan away over his shoulder, and when he tries to
escape to close the cabin door, which the ape has left open, the gorilla
sinks his great fangs into his shoulder.
11 - Tarzan’s sympathy goes out to the lion. The
cage is dragged between two huts to save the lion from his death by torture
until nightfall. Tarzan decides to wait until dark to rescue the
12 - Taug goes to Tarzan and brings him back to the tribe
to save Goro, the moon.
XXVI. The task is
2- Tarzan fights a battle with
half a hundred natives.
4 - Tarzan sees Teeka attacking the monster even
though she is deathly afraid of snakes. Tarzan slays Histah and saves
both Teeka and Gazan.
5 - Tarzan is off hunting without Tibo. The
boy sees his mother coming through the jungle and runs to her. They
embrace with tears of joy.
6 - There is no further need for argument with
the boy plainly before them.
9 - Tarzan kills the gorilla with his knife.
11 - Tarzan return to the apes and retrieves his
old lion skin. He waits until the dance before the torture ceremony
is over. When the natives come to roll the lion’s cage into the center
of the circle, he steps out dressed in the lion skin. There is instant
panic among the blacks. Tarzan roars, and they all run into their huts.
12 - Tarzan climbs into a high tree and shoots arrows
into the sky toward the moon. The eclipse runs its course, and the
moon begins to appear again. Taug cries that Numa is killed and Goro
is emerging from the lion’s belly.
XXVII. The hero
This may be a special mark or
a simple recognition of accomplishments.
2- Tarzan holds them off for a half an hour when
one one them finally works his way to a point where he can spear him.
4 - After the battle the apes silently turn away
to resume feeding, as does Teeka as though nothing unusual had happened.
This is very striking since some form of praise or recognition occurs at
this point in tales dealing with humans.
5 - Tarzan saves Momaya and Tibo from a lion, and
thus he becomes the hero of the story again.
6 - Tarzan vanishes, “as he had a way of doing,”
before the natives can say a word to him.
9 - He places a foot on the carcass voices the
kill cry of the bull ape.
11- Tarzan drops the lion skin and reveals himself
to the natives.
12 - Tarzan returns to the tribe of Kerchak. He
has taken a long stride toward kingship, for now the apes look up to him
as a superior being.
XXVIII. The false
hero or villain is exposed.
2- Just as the final villainy
is about to happen a thunderous crashing comes from the jungle just beyond
4 - Tarzan does not give the victory cry over the
5 - Tibo pleads with Tarzan in the ape language
not to take him away again. Tarzan is still a villain to Tibo.
6 - Bukawai runs from the village as fast as his
old legs would carry him.
9 - Tarzan has made the right choice, yet he smells
the gorilla’s blood to make certain.
11 - The natives are astonished. Tarzan walks away,
and finally they get up enough courage to follow him.
12 - Only Tarzan himself is skeptical about the rescue
of Goro. [ THE END]
XXIX. The hero is
given a new appearance.
a change of dress.
2- Tantor bursts through the barrier as though it
were built of straw.
4 - Tarzan ponders all these events and decides
that God must be the one who sent Teeka to slay the snake, and it was God
who stayed his hand of death over the old man. Tarzan’s God is the
source of good and the beautiful.
5 - Tibo calls Tarzan the “God of the Jungle!”
and he promises him food so that he may never hunger if he will only let
him return to his village with his mother. Tarzan relents, even promising
to follow them so that no harm befalls them. Momaya feels exalted
for “never before has she walked with God.”
6 - Tarzan’s ability to vanish in the midst of
the village is a true form of jungle magic.
9 - Tarzan does not know what is real and what
is not, but he knows he will never again eat the flesh of Tantor, the elephant.
11 - Tarzan releases the real lion from the cage,
but the natives think it is still Tarzan in the lion skin.
XXX. The villain
In parallel with this
we sometimes have a magnanimous pardon. Usually only the villain
of the second move and the false hero are punished, while the first villain
is punished only in those cases in which a battle and pursuit are absent
from the story.
2- Tantor hurls the warriors right and left, then
removes Tarzan from the village riding on his broad head.
4 - Tarzan has found God, yet he wonders, posing
a judgmental theological question, “Who made Histah, the snake?”
[THE END] This story does not have a final step since the theme of
Tarzan’s search for God will be taken up in tale #12. The themes
in Jungle Tales have to do with Tarzan’s search for personal identity
during his youth, and a strong element in this search is his discovery
of the contrasts between true and false power in the world.
5 - Tarzan is left alone in the world . . . “for
Tarzan there can be none-- neither a she nor a balu. Tarzan of the
Apes is a man, and it must be that man walks alone.” [THE END]
The story is left open. Bukawai has seen all that happened and he
feels cheated out of his price for a spell: three fat goats, a new sleeping
mat, and a bit of copper wire.
6 - Momaya hits Rabba Kega across the head with
a broken limb screaming, “magic, indeed! Momaya will show you some
magic of her own.” She then chases him around the village still
beating him across the shoulders to the amusement of everyone.
9 - The gorilla is dead.
11 - The lion kills and mauls dozens of the men.
They all run from the village, leaving the lion standing over his kills.
Numa takes one of the bodies and strides slowly through the open gates.
The natives shudder, and Tarzan smiles.
XXXI. The hero is
married and ascends the throne.
2- Tantor cements even more closely
the friendship that had existed between them since Tarzan was a boy.
6 - Tarzan’s ‘reward’ comes from the author
who comments that he sleeps better than Lord Greystoke in England, “who
had eaten too much lobster and drank too much wine at dinner that night.”
[ THE END] [This is another open ended story, for Tarzan “added that
day two active foes, both of whom remained awake long into the night planning
means of revenge.” It is a strange tale since the order of
events are all in place, yet the designation of “hero” does not fit the
constantly changing characters. However, this is typical of the comic
hero tale, which tends to play loose with the classic forms and with Propp’s
functions as well.]
9 - Tarzan is not rewarded directly, but he has
learned a valuable lesson. [THE END]
11 - The natives fear Tarzan even more for this transformation.
Thus waxed the fame and power of the ape-man. [THE END]
Jungle Tales of Tarzan
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Chat #31: Jungle Tales: A Novelistic Reading I
Chat #32: Jungle Tales: A Novelistic Reading II
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