Mutual hatred during a war is a primitive phenomenon which is in accordance with some primordial instinct that will come to the fore as long as there will be wars. That this hatred is usually kept stirred up by the leading authorities of the parties and who will continue to keep it alive by all means, is of course just as self evident. Most wars are basically economic wars and are started by a small group with vested interests; this group's suggestive powers are strong enough to drag the masses behind them, or better, push them ahead in front of them.
We can assume that any war could be prevented if its driving force would be confronted by an equally strong energy with opposite aims. But since the goal of the first party is a very real one, namely the pursuit of materialistic interests, while the motivation of the latter party stems from idealism, we see that in most cases the inspiration of the apostles of peace will be overcome by the strong will of their opponents.
Thus it is interesting to observe how the mutual hatred amongst the nations during the last war has manifested itself and how it was constantly kept alive. To begin with we must state that this emotion was discharged by the Germans in a very simple and rather child-like manner. A fact that by no means redounds to their dishonour, but all the more brought harm to them. In such pious wishes as "May the Lord punish England!" and with joyful songs of hatred that had been intended to last for all eternity, but have already been forgotten by now, in all kinds of manifestations of a straight forward, teutonic anger we could see the excitation of the German nation. It is not difficult to understand that such a type of enthusiasm diminished its effectiveness finally under the pressure of circumstances.
But this was not at all the case with the opponent's party. The expressions of hatred by the french nation found constantly new stimulation in the notion of revenge which had become a traditional concept. These expressions of hatred became intensified by the ardor of the romanesque temper until they reached the point of sheer fanaticism. While this development could still be characterized as a natural one, we are presented with an entirely different picture by the English adversary. England the nation of businessmen regarded the whole affair from a pure commercial point of view; and since propaganda is well known to be an important part of any business, they consequently made propaganda for the firm England and Co. and against the competition, i.e. against Germany. This publicity campaign was carried out in a grand and cold-blooded style devoid of any scruples. The competitor was described in a most convincing manner as the "Hun," the beast, the liar, the coward, the scum of the earth. The English deployed here by such virtuosity and forcefulness, that eventually managed to bluff the whole world. It is certain, of course, that events took place on both sides which make us shudder with horror today; but nobody can assume nowadays under the cold light of rationality, that only angels were fighting on one side while on the other side were nothing but devils. But at the time, during the first world war, a large part of the world's population believed this to be a fact, simply because they were only fed the propaganda material of their own side, and never that of their foes. It has been discussed many a time since that the Northcliffe Press played a rather decisive role during the world war.
Now it would be most interesting to learn about h this type of campaign of lies, which led the world to the conviction that finally concentrated in a generalized hatred against Germany.
And hereby it is almost grotesque and at the same time most shameful to find a most characteristic example for those calumnies in a series of books that today belong to one of the most read publications in Germany.
We are speaking here of the Tarzan stories of Mister Rice Burroughs. The seventh volume "Tarzan the Untamed," which has not appeared in a German edition constitutes nothing but a filthy vilification of the German Nation.
It would be beyond the scope of this discussion here to speak at length about the level of the first volumes, that have been so widely circulated in Germany. Let it suffice to state that the seventh book is of the same quality as the preceding other volumes as far as contents are concerned; except for the fact that here it is clearly shown to the German reader what he could overlook in the first novels.
The same characteristics that until now were the delight of German reading public, are now deployed in the fight against the "Huns." Thus the basic traits of these books are revealed: their speculation with the primitive and base instincts of the readership. It is not propaganda for our return to nature that we can find in these Tarzan stories, but a plea for our return to the beast.
Sensationalistic rubbish is less dangerous as long as it openly documents what it really is. The danger with these Tarzan novels lies in their literary get up, where in a most skillful manner big words are veiling an inferior content and where cinema dramatics are presented as heroism, and brutality as nature. "Tarzan" is a typical literary bluff, a cheap penny-dreadful drenched with an aroma of nature. At this date the Tarzan-flood has assumed such proportions that I welcome the opportunity to open the German public's eyes with this study.
And now to "Tarzan the Untamed." "Untamed" means: untamed, wild, and brutal -- and brutality is indeed the basic note of this book. It must be pointed out that the author does not attempt to hide this trait -- on the contrary, he frequently emphasizes it with praise.
We can hardly blame Mister Burroughs for the mere fact that he was railing at the Germans. Better men than he fall victim to the blinding hatred among nations during wartime, on either side of the side. But it is not the fact that he was railing at the Germans, but the manner in which he did it, which constitutes the devastating feature of this type of literature.
The time has come now to examine closer the inflammatory writing of this volume against the Germans. But no critical retelling of the story can better illuminate the spirit of this book than letting Mr. Burroughs speak his own words. The title of the first chapter already is supposed to transpose the reader into a pleasant frenzy of expectation. For it is entitled.
CHAPTER ONE: Murder and Pillage
"Murder and Pillage" -- at once all reports about the horrible deeds of these "Huns" must be conjured up in the reader's mind -- for "Murder and Pillage" is the characteristic atmosphere for these damned barbarians. What delight to know that they will have to face Tarzan during the course of this book. For that surely must be the way things would develop. Provided, of course, that we are really dealing here with the Huns.
Well, nobody need remain in the dark about this for long. The first lines give us a clear picture of the situation:Hauptmann Fritz Schneider trudged wearily through the somber aisles of the dark forest. Sweat rolled down his bullet head and stood upon his heavy jowls and bull neck. His lieutenant marched beside him while Underlieutenant von Goss brought up the rear, following with a handful of askaris the tired and all but exhausted porters whom the black soldiers, following the example of their white officer, encouraged with the sharp points of bayonets and the metal-shod butts of rifles.For the bad example of the Huns were spoiling the good customs of the Askaris.There were no porters within reach of HauptmannThe author reveals himself here as a master of description. With a few words he brings to life the "Boche" (French word for Hun), his spitting image, cruel and cowardly.
Schneider so he vented his Prussian spleen upon the askaris nearest at hand, yet with greater circumspection since these men bore loaded rifles -- and the three white men were alone with them in the heart of Africa.
Ahead of the hauptmann marched half his company, behind him the other half -- thus were the dangers of the savage jungle minimized for the German captain.At the forefront of the column staggered two naked savages fastened to each other by a neck chain. These were the native guides impressed into the service of Kultur and upon their poor, bruised bodies Kultur's brand was revealed in divers cruel wounds and bruises. Thus even in darkest Africa was the light of German civilization commencing to reflect itself upon the undeserving natives just as at the same period, the fall of 1914, it was shedding its glorious effulgence upon benighted Belgium.Quite a contrast to the effulgence of the Belgian civilization whose infamous horror deeds are known to the whole world. The mere thought of these cruelties will let the good negroes of the Congo jump with joy even today. Also quite a contrast to the effulgence of the English civilization, that has equally made happy Indians, Boers, Egyptians, and Negroes. Whereby its light flashes occasionally break forth from the mouths of its cannons to which they (the natives) happen to be chained.It is true that the guides had led the party astray; but this is the way of most African guides. Nor did it matter that ignorance rather than evil intent had been the cause of their failure. It was enough for Hauptmann Fritz Schneider to know that he was lost in the African wilderness and that he had at hand human beings less powerful than he who could be made to suffer by torture. That he did not kill them outright was partially due to a faint hope that they might eventually prove the means of extricating him from his difficulties and partially that so long as they lived they might still be made to suffer.What a picturesque note in the description of this Boche! But you haven't seen anything yet! These are only the delicate pastel colors of the background, which will cause the true picture to stand out more vigorously. Master Burroughs certainly knows his craft.
What area do the "Huns" finally reach? Naturally somewhere in the vicinity of Tarzan's farm. The lieutenant states that they apparently are near Lord Greystoke's property.
And what would a German captain say in such a case? Here it is:"We have come upon the English schweinhund long before he can have learned that his country is at war with ours," replied Schneider. "Let him be the first to feel the iron hand of Germany."Kraut! Who is Kraut? Of course the German general. How else would he be called. Just imagine the roaring laughter of the reader, that was supposed to result from the witty allusion to the "Saurerkrauteaters."
"Let's hope that he will be at home," said the lieutenant, "so that we will be able to bring him with us, when we will report to Kraut---"
"Let us hope that he is at home," said the lieutenant, "that we may take him with us when we report to Kraut
But let's continue:"--at Nairobi. It will go well indeed with Herr Hauptmann Fritz Schneider if he brings in the famous Tarzan of the Apes as a prisoner of war."Since the Germans were generally referred to as "Bosches," therefore the colloquial speech of a German captain must be along these lines too -- seems to thing master Burroughs.
Schneider smiled and puffed out his chest. "You are right, my friend," he said, "it will go well with both of us; but I shall have to travel far to catch General Kraut before he reaches Mombasa. These English pigs with their contemptible army will make good time to the Indian Ocean."
The "Huns" enter Tarzan's farm. But what disappointment! He is not at home. Instead, Lady Jane, Tarzan's wife, welcomes the arrivals hospitably.
The Germans alone on Tarzan's unprotected farm -- that must end in horrible horror scenes the good reader had to assume. And feverishly he is reading on through the next few lines. But lo and behold! Suddenly something quite different is being discussed, namely Tarzan in person. The shrewd Tarzan-reader will at once suspect one of the famous pauses for effect, that will occur in the most exciting moment in order to increase to the highest point the reader's curiosity. And here it is -- the pause for effect. But we need not wait long. For here is Tarzan rushing toward the farm -- he comes nearer and nearer and the reader's excitement keeps growing, for he anticipates (just like Tarzan who has learned of the outbreak of the war) something frightful. And sure enough -- what does Tarzan find upon his return. How else would he find his home after the barbarians' invasion such as:Silent and deserted was the vine-covered cottage. Smoldering embers marked the site of his great barns. Gone were the thatched huts of his sturdy retainers, empty the fields, the pastures, and corrals. Here and there vultures rose and circled above the carcasses of men and beasts.
It was with a feeling as nearly akin to terror as he ever had experienced that the ape-man finally forced himself to enter his home. The first sight that met his eyes set the red haze of hate and bloodlust across his vision, for there, crucified against the wall of the living-room, was Wasimbu, giant son of the faithful Muviro and for over a year the personal bodyguard of Lady Jane.
The overturned and shattered furniture of the room, the brown pools of dried blood upon the floor, and prints of bloody hands on walls and woodwork evidenced something of the frightfulness of the battle that had been waged within the narrow confines of the apartment. Across the baby grand piano lay the corpse of another black warrior, while before the door of Lady Jane's boudoir were the dead bodies of three more of the faithful Greystoke servants.
The door of this room was closed. With drooping shoulders and dull eyes Tarzan stood gazing dumbly at the insensate panel which hid from him what horrid secret he dared not even guess. Slowly, with leaden feet, he moved toward the door. Gropingly his hand reached for the knob. Thus he stood for another long minute, and then with a sudden gesture he straightened his giant frame, threw back his mighty shoulders and, with fearless head held high, swung back the door and stepped across the threshold into the room which held for him the dearest memories and associations of his life. No change of expression crossed his grim and stern-set features as he strode across the room and stood beside the little couch and the inanimate form which lay face downward upon it; the still, silent thing that had pulsed with life and youth and love.One sob coursed through the hearts of all the female readers at this point, one wild curse escaped from the lips of every true man.No tear dimmed the eye of the ape-man; but the god who made him alone. . .. . . namely master Burroughsalone could know the thoughts that passed through that still half-savage brain. For a long time he stood there just looking down upon the dead body, charred beyond recognition, and then he stooped and lifted it in his arms. As he turned the body over and saw how horribly death had been meted he plumbed, in that instant, the uttermost depths of grief and horror and hatred. Nor did he require the evidence of the broken German rifle in the outer room, or the torn and blood-stained service cap upon the floor, to tell him who had been the perpetrators of this horrid and useless crime. For a moment he had hoped against hope that the blackened corpse was not that of his mate, but when his eyes discovered and recognized the rings upon her fingers the last faint ray of hope forsook him.He should not have done that, however. For whenever worst comes to worst master Burroughs is not far away, away, as we will eventually see.
The insignia of the dead Askari tells Tarzan which military troupe the the murderers belonged to. He is beside himself with grief. And here lies the zenith of the nadir (i.e. Burroughs' contemptible low-handed tactics reach a climax.) that this grief is depicted in a most vivid manner, namely that an emotion, which should let every true human being grow numb at the mere thought of it ever happening, is being constructed in a cunning way and is then used as a motivation for what will follow now:Gradually the labor of his great grief brought forth another emotion so real, so tangible, that it seemed a companion walking at his side. It was Hate -- and it brought to him a measure of solace and of comfort, for it was a sublime hate that ennobled him as it has ennobled countless thousands since -hatred for Germany and Germans. It centered about the slayer of his mate, of course; but it included. . .It centered about the slayer of his mate, of course, but it included: (naturally!). . .everything German, animate or inanimate. As the thought took firm hold upon him he paused and raising his face to Goro, the moon, cursed with upraised hand the authors of the hideous crime that had been perpetrated in that once peaceful bungalow behind him; and he cursed their progenitors, their progeny, and all their kind the while he took silent oath to war upon them relentlessly until death overtook him.Whereupon everybody in England and the United States of America rose like one man and joined the army.
Tarzan now starts to track down the Boches. He swiftly kills off a panther just in passing, although right now Tarzan is more interested in killing off the huns. But that panther had permitted himself a few impudent indiscretions toward Tarzan, the Lord of the Jungle.
And thus ends the first chapter and the second chapter starts. By now, though, the inveterate reader will have been missing one thing: Numa, the Lion -- the wicked lion who is romping through all the Tarzan books and through all the chapters of all the Tarzan books, with a frightful roaring, but who always manages to get killed off by noble Tarzan just in the nick of time. But here he is -- in the second chapter that therefore bears the title of:
CHAPTER TWO: The Lion's Cave
To begin with Tarzan is strolling toward German East Africa, toward the distant roar of the guns, that tells him of a battle between the English and the Boches. What must then the emotions of his heart be like?For an instant his bosom swelled with pride at the thought that he was English and then he shook his head again viciously. "No!" he muttered, "Tarzan of the Apes is not English, for the English are men and Tarzan is Tarmangani;" but he could not hide even from his sorrow or from his sullen hatred of mankind in general that his heart warmed at the thought it was Englishmen who fought the Germans. His regret was that the English were human and not great white apes as he again considered himself.And as for an instance master Burroughs is too. (A great white ape)
The weather is rather unpleasant and Tarzan takes refuge in a cave which turns out to be the entrance to a narrow gulch completely enclosed by steep rock walls. But while Tarzan is inspecting the rocky cleft -- what should there be moving inside the mouth of the tunnel?
A Boche? Oh no, indeed -- those we had already in the preceding chapter. It is ha, the one we had been longing for so long:A moment later the head of a huge lion framed in a great black mane appeared in the opening. The yellow-green eyes glared, round and unblinking, straight at the trespassing Tarmangani, a low growl rumbled from the deep chest, and lips curled back to expose the mighty fangs. "Brother of Dango!" shouted Tarzan, angered that Numa's return should have been so timed as to frustrate his plans for a comfortable night's repose.(And who would not be angered at that?)"I am Tarzan of the Apes, Lord of the Jungle. Tonight I lair here -- go!"But the lion, with the usual impudence of such beasties, does not go in spite of that. Even worse: he takes the liberty to make a go at Tarzan with a mighty leap, who now really ought to make away with Numa, if fortunately there were not a tree in the gulch. Thus Tarzan gets onto the tree and the lion is preserved for us - what for we will learn presently.But Numa did not go. Instead he rumbled forth a menacing roar and took a few steps in Tarzan's direction. The apeman picked up a rock and hurled it at the snarling face.Come on! Get going!One can never be sure of a lion.Except for Mister Burroughs.This one might turn tail and run at the first intimation of attack -- Tarzan had bluffed many in his time -- but not now. The missile struck Numa full upon the snout -- a tender part of a cat's anatomy -- and instead of causing him to flee it transformed him into an infuriated engine of wrath and destruction. Up went his tail, stiff and erect, and with a series of frightful roars he bore down upon the Tarmangani at the speed of an express train. Not an instant too soon. . .But neither too late!. . .did Tarzan reach the tree and swing himself into its branches and there he squatted, hurling insults at the king of beasts while Numa paced a circle beneath him, growling and roaring in rage.A sight for sore eyes!Well, Tarzan was perched on his tree, while the rain fell steadily and the lion padded round and round beneath, casting a baleful eye upward after every few steps.Whereupon Tarzan just cast back those baleful glances.
Just as he was considering whether he could not climb up the rocky wall,Numa turned suddenly and walked majestically toward the tunnel without even a backward glance. The instant that he disappeared, Tarzan dropped lightly to the ground upon the far side of the tree and was away at top speed for the cliff. The lion had no sooner entered the tunnel than he backed immediately out again. . .Well, a regular bluff. What a teaser!. . . and, pivoting like a flash, was of across the gulch in full charge after the flying ape-man; but Tarzan's lead was too great -- if he could find finger or foothold upon the sheer wall he would be safe; but should he slip from the wet rocks his doom was already sealed as he would fall directly into Numa's clutches where even the Great Tarmangani would be helpless.But don't you be afraid. Tarzan manages to climb up -- one, two, three -- and there he is over the top. The lion is standing down below, full of fury, but Tarzan quickly jumps down at the other side and blocks off the entrance to the cave with huge rocks. Numa has become a prisoner. Though the wicked lion is roaring mightily -- that does not bother Tarzan in the least!Such sounds affected Tarzan as the tooting of an automobile horn may affect you -- if you are in front of the automobile it warns you out of the way, if you are not in front of it you scarcely notice it. Figuratively Tarzan was not in front of the automobile -- Numa could not reach him and Tarzan knew it, so he continued deliberately to choke the entrance until there was no possibility of Numa's getting out again. When he was quite through he made a grimace at the hidden lion beyond the barrier and resumed his way toward the east. "A man-eater who will eat no more men," he soliloquized.Speaking figuratively.
Now Tarzan is getting near to the front lines.In the middle of the afternoon of the second day he came upon troops moving up toward the front. They appeared to be raiding parties, for they drove goats and cows along with them and there were native porters laden with grain and other foodstuffs. He saw that these natives were all secured by neck chains and he also saw that the troops were composed of native soldiers in German uniforms. The officers were white men. No one saw Tarzan, yet he was here and there about and among them for two hours. He inspected the insignia upon their uniforms and saw that they were not the same as that which he had taken from one of the dead soldiers at the bungalow and then he passed on ahead of them, unseen in the dense bush.Now however, the possibility might arise that one or the other of the readers might ask indignantly: "What is that supposed to mean?! Tarzan is coming upon Germans and does not kill them at once?!"
Therefore Mr. Burroughs explains quickly:He had come upon Germans and had not killed them; but it was because the killing of Germans at large was not yet the prime motive of his existence -- now it was to discover the individual who slew his mate. After he had accounted for him he would take up the little matter of slaying ALL Germans who crossed his path, and he meant that many should cross it, for he would hunt them precisely as professional hunters hunt the man-eaters.Fortunately Tarzan did not quite succeed in his plan, so that enough of these Germans have remained that about one half million copies of the German translation of just these same Tarzan books could be sold to them.
Tarzan reaches a German camp and overhears the conversation of some native soldiers. And now follows a vileness that can hardly be surpassed, and that most likely hs never been topped by the inflammatory, rabble-rousing literature of all nations. For this is what Tarzan is hearing:"The Waziri fought like devils; but we are greater fighters and we killed them all. When we were through the captain came and killed the woman. He stayed outside and yelled in a very loud voice until all the men were killed. Underlieutenant von Goss is braver -- he came in and stood beside the door shouting at us, also in a very loud voice, and bade us nail one of the Waziri who was wounded to the wall, and then he laughed loudly because the man suffered. We all laughed. It was very funny."But how Mr. Burroughs must have been laughing when he learned that the Tarzan books belong to the most widely read books in Germany. And, too, when he received his royalties.
The man who uttered this villainy moves away from the group. Tarzan follows him and forces him to tell the name of the German captain and then to show him the way to the command post. Finally both are standing in front of the headquarters.Tarzan realized that he could not proceed farther in company with the black. He turned and looked at the fellow for a moment as though pondering what disposition to make of him.Another sentinel is killed quickly in a less complicated manner and then Tarzan is standing at the open window of a room in which some German officers are talking together.
"You helped to crucify Wasimbu, the Waziri," he accused in a low yet none the less terrible tone.
The black trembled, his knees giving beneath him. "He ordered us to do it," he plead.
"Who ordered it done?" demanded Tarzan.
"Underlieutenant von Goss," replied the soldier. "He, too, is here."
"I shall find him," returned Tarzan, grimly. "You helped to crucify Wasimbu, the Waziri, and, while he suffered, you laughed."
The fellow reeled. It was as though in the accusation he read also his death sentence. With no other word Tarzan seized the man again by the neck. As before there was no outcry. The giant muscles tensed. The arms swung quickly upward and with them the body of the black soldier who had helped to crucify Wasimbu, the Waziri, described a circle in the air -- once, twice, three times, and then it was flung aside and the ape-man turned in the direction of General Kraut's headquarters.
A fat man with a florid complexion (who other than General "Kraut") is sitting at a table. A few officers are close by. A Miss Kircher is being announced and led into the room.Tarzan appraised the various people in the room. He wondered if one might not be Hauptmann Schneider, for two of them were captains. The girl he judged to be of the intelligence department -- a spy. Her beauty held no appeal for him -- without a glimmer of compunction he could have wrung that fair, young neck. She was German and that was enough; but he had other and more important wor before him. He wanted Hauptmann Schneider.He did not have to search a long time, for:Finally the general looked up from the paper.For that's the way the Huns will behave.
"Good," he said to the girl, and then to one of his aides, "Send for Major Schneider."
Major Schneider! Tarzan felt the short hairs at the back of his neck rise. Already they had promoted the beast who had murdered his mate -- doubtless they had promoted him for that very crime.
While the aide goes to bring Major Schneider, Tarzan is waiting for him impatiently. Finally he arrives: An officer of medium size with fierce, upstanding mustaches. The very image of the genuine Hun as he could be seen in all the inflammatory propaganda pictures.
The general introduces the new arrival to the young girl: Major Schneider.
That was enough:Tarzan waited to hear no more. Placing a palm upon the sill of the window he vaulted into the room into the midst of an astounded company of the Kaiser's officers. With a stride he was at the table and . . .(quickly now a small sample of the grim kind of humor that our good Tarzan is so fond of). . .with a sweep of his hand sent the lamp crashing into the fat belly of the general who, in his mad effort to escape cremation, fell over backward, chair and all, upon the floor. Two of the aides sprang for the ape-man who picked up the first and flung him in the face of the other. The girl had leaped from her chair and stood flattened against the wall. The other officers were calling aloud for the guard and for help.To shoot the guy (Tarzan) -- did not occur to any of them, of course.Tarzan's purpose centered upon but a single individual and him he never lost sight of. Freed from attack for an instant he seized Major Schneider, threw him over his shoulder and was out of the window so quickly that the astonished assemblage could scarce realize what had occurred.Hooray -- he's got him! Just imagine how the hearts of all good Germaneaters must have been jumping for joy at this moment! (Figuratively speaking.) He's got him, the wicked Hun!! For Mr. Burroughs knows how to achieve the proper effect.
And almost before the Boches realize what is going on, Tarzan is already beyond their reach. Tarzan forced his captive to walk before him. This is described in the following manner in the noble language of master Burroughs which at present is thrilling the German public or (according to several official judgments) ought to thrill them:The German had cursed and grumbled and threatened and asked questions; but his only reply was another prod from Tarzan's sharp war spear. The ape-man herded him along as he would have driven a hog with the difference that he would have had more respect and therefore more consideration for a hog.I don't believe that a German brain would ever be capable of constructing a similar scene. At most it could only praise this vile product as the book of books. (Like the Song of Songs of the Bible. W.A.)
Tarzan is pondering how he can avenge himself. The major tries in vain to obtain an explanation. --but always the result was the same -- continued silence and a vicious and painful prod from the spear point. Schneider was bleeding and sore. He was so exhausted that he staggered at every step, and often he fell only to be prodded to his feet again by that terrifying and remorseless spear.And this inhuman, bestial cruelty undoubtedly belongs to those sympathetic characteristics of Tarzan, that are supposed to "uplift the German youth."It was not until morning that Tarzan reached a decision and it came to him then like an inspiration from above. A slow smile touched his lips and he immediately sought a place to lie up and rest -- he wished his prisoner to be fit now for what lay in store for him.I wonder why that slow mile touched his lips? We will find out presently. First of all the major gets something to eat (for he was supposed to be fit) and then the journey recommences.. . . a journey that was so frightful to Schneider because of his ignorance of its destination that he at times groveled at Tarzan's feet begging for an explanation and for mercy; but on and on in silence the ape-man went, prodding the failing Hun whenever the latter faltered.For how else should a German major have behaved? And how Tarzan, on the other hand.
Now follows a scene that hardly could be imagined in a more disgusting way!It was noon of the third day before they reached their destination. After a steep climb and a short walk they halted at the edge of a precipitous cliff and Schneider looked down into a narrow gulch where a single tree grew beside a tiny rivulet and sparse grass broke from a rock-strewn soil.(Do you finally understand, dear reader, why Tarzan had not killed off the lion? In order to present you now with a far greater delight.)Schneider looked fearfully over the edge; but was about to essay the attempt when Tarzan halted him. "I am Lord Greystoke," he said. "It was my wife you murdered in the Waziri country. You will understand now why I came for you. Descend."(for after all he was a hun)
The German fell upon his knees. "I did not murder your wife," he cried. "Have mercy! I did not murder your wife. I do not know anything about --"
"Descend!" snapped Tarzan, raising the point of his spear. He knew that the man lied . . .. . . and was not surprised that he did. A man who would murder for no cause would lie for less. Schneider still hesitated and pled. The ape-man jabbed him with the spear and Schneider slid fearfully over the top and began the perilous descent. Tarzan accompanied and assisted him over the worst places until at last they were within a few feet of the bottom.For this slight smile Mr. Burroughs would deserve to be left alone for some time with a hungry lion -- speaking from a purely human point of view and leaving aside any national mention.
"Be quiet now," cautioned the ape-man. He pointed at the entrance to what appeared to be a cave at the far end of the gulch. "There is a hungry lion in there. If you can reach that tree before he discovers you, you will have several days longer in which to enjoy life and then -- when you are too weak to cling longer to the branches of the tree Numa, the maneater, will feed again for the last time." He pushed Schneider from his foothold to the ground below. "Now run," he said.
The German trembling in terror started for the tree. He had almost reached it when a horrid roar broke from the mouth of the cave and almost simultaneously a gaunt, hunger mad lion leaped into the daylight of the gulch. Schneider had but a few yards to cover; but the lion flew over the ground to circumvent him while Tarzan watched the race with a slight smile upon his lips.Schneider won by a slender margin, and as Tarzan scaled the cliff to the summit, he heard behind him mingled with the roaring of the baffled cat, the gibbering of a human voice that was at the same time more bestial than the beast's.Well, something like Mr. Burroughs' tirades.Upon the brink of the cliff the ape-man turned and looked back into the gulch. High in the tree the German clung frantically to a branch across which his body lay. Beneath him was Numa -- waiting.And what is the German translation of this victory cry?
The ape-man raised his face to Kudu, the sun, and from his mighty chest rose the savage victory cry of the bull ape.
Tarzan is the book of the year!
After this scene a drop of bitterness (the German word "Wermutstropfen" means both bitterness and vermouth, W.A.) (figuratively speaking) might have mingled with the joy of the German-eater: All over already?! All gone! Wouldn't it have been better to chase the wicked Hun all throughout the book rather than exterminate him already in the second chapter.
But be patient, my dear German hater! Do you really believe that the cunning Mr. Burroughs could bring the whole affair to such a simple end?! You bet your life he won't! No such thing! First of all, Major Schneider is not at all the . . . . and second is Tarzan's wife not at all . . . but patience! Everything in its own good time.
In any case the next chapter let's us anticipate the very best -- a veritable wholesale slaughter among the wicked Germans. For it is entitled:
CHAPTER THREE: In the German Lines
And thus it begins very promising with:Tarzan was not yet fully revenged. There were many millions of Germans yet alive -- enough to keep Tarzan pleasantly occupied the balance of his life, . . .He goes hunting, and sensitive and tender hearted as he happens to be after all he derives:Some pleasure he derived through conjuring mental pictures from time to time of the German he had left in the branches of the lone tree at the bottom of the highwalled gulch in which was penned the starving lion. He could imagine the man's mental anguish as he became weakened from hunger and maddened by thirst, knowing that sooner or later he must slip exhausted to the ground where waited the gaunt man-eater. Tarzan wondered if Schneider would have the courage to descend to the little rivulet for water should Numa leave the gulch and enter the cave, and then he pictured the mad race for the tree again when the lion charged out to seize his prey. . .Thinking of the heavy odds against which the English were fighting, makes Tarzan growl. . . a bit, perhaps, because he was finding it difficult to forget that he was an Englishman when he wanted only to be an ape. And at last the time came when he could not longer endure the thought of Germans killing Englishmen while he hunted in safety a bare march away.Tarzan therefore approaches the field of operations. But before that follows a brief, charming Tarzan -scene. He passes the lion gulch -- the lion has become like a skeleton in the meantime."Where is the German?" shouted Tarzan. "Was he good eating, or only a bag of bones when he slipped and fell from the tree?"One could not believe it, if it were not written there black on white.
Numa growled. "You look hungry, Numa," continued the ape-man. "You must have been very hungry to eat all the grass from your lair and even the bark from the tree as far up as you can reach. Would you like another German?" and smiling he turned away.
Once again a sudden most promising thought makes him stop. Most certainly he is planning again something against these huns! But for the time being this plan is still being shrouded in mysterious darkness. In any case Tarzan throws a piece of game meat to the famished lion:"Eat, Numa!" he cried. "It may be that I shall need you again."What can it be that he will need him for later on?! everyone is asking eagerly. I know it already -- and I'll tell you the secret at once. For it is so hair-raisingly funny, so exceedingly idiotic, that I can not keep the secret to myself. Well, then, -- to make a long story short -- the lion is supposed to gobble up all the German front line soldiers. The entire German front forces in East Africa of course, That is not meant to be a joke, but it is bloody serious, as we shall see presently.
To begin with Tarzan sets out for the battle area where he perceives a German sniper, who is firing into the English lines.The Hun, evidently satisfied with his observations, laid aside his binoculars and again took up his rifle, placed its butt in the hollow of his shoulder and took careful aim. At the same instant a brown body sprang outward from the cliff above him. There was no sound and it is doubtful that the German ever knew what manner of creature it was that alighted heavily upon his back, for at the instant of impact the sinewy fingers of the ape-man circled the hairy throat of the Boche.First of all the German troops are being slightly decimated with the help of the dead man's rifle.Now indeed would he hunt big game. A slow smile touched his lips as his finger closed gradually upon the trigger. The rifle spoke and a German machine gunner collapsed behind his weapon. In three minutes Tarzan picked off the crew of that gun. Then he spotted a German officer emerging from a dugout and the three men in the bay with him. Tarzan was careful to leave no one in the immediate vicinity to question how Germans could be shot in German trenches when they were entirely concealed from enemy view.But now quickly to the English headquarters. The good Englishmen are simply perplexed and helpless. For these damned Boches have numerical superiority. And besides -- those many hidden machine gun nests! But who should arrive there like a deus ex machina?
Again adjusting his sights he took a long-range shot at a distant machine-gun crew to his right. With calm deliberation he wiped them out to a man. Two guns were silenced. He saw men running through the trenches and he picked off several of them.
Tarzan saw a machine gun being trained upon him. Before it had gotten into action its crew lay dead about it; but there were other men to take their places, reluctantly perhaps; but driven on by their officers they were forced to it and at the same time two other machine guns were swung around toward the ape-man and put into operation. Realizing that the game was about up Tarzan with a farewell shot laid aside the rifle and melted into the hills behind him. For many minutes he could hear the sputter of machine gun fire concentrated upon the spot he had just quit
. . . and smiled as he contemplated the waste of German ammunition. "They have paid heavily for Wasimbu, the Waziri, whom they crucified, and for his slain fellows," he mused; "but for Jane they can never pay -- no, not if I killed them all."
Naturally: Tarzan!There was a slight rustling among the branches of the tree above them and simultaneously a lithe, brown body dropped in their midst. Hands moved quickly to the butts of pistols; but otherwise there was no movement among the officers.Quite different from the Boches who would have called for help in such circumstances and would have taken to their heels.
"Tarzan of the Apes" introduces Tarzan himself."Oh, Greystoke!" cried a major, and stepped forward with outstretched hand.That's what I call humour!
"Preswick," acknowledged Tarzan as he took the proffered hand.
"I didn't recognize you at first," apologized the major. "The last time I saw you you were in London in evening dress. Quite a difference -- 'pon my word, man, you'll have to admit it.
Tarzan offers his help to the Englishmen:Would you like to know where several machine gun emplacements are hidden?"We agree with him. But what can somebody like Tarzan not bring about after all. All the more when he has a famished lion hidden in reserve.
The colonel assured him that they would, and a moment later Tarzan had traced upon the map the location of three that had been bothering the English. "There is a weak spot here," he said, placing a finger upon the map. "It is held by blacks; but the machine guns out in front are manned by whites. If -- wait! I have a plan. You can fill that trench with your own men and enfilade the trenches to its right with their own machine guns."
Colonel Capell smiled and shook his head. "It sounds very easy," he said.
He promises to accomplish the feat on the second night -- and they are supposed to await him. And like a shadow he disappears into the darkness. He sets out on a search for something that however for the time being is still mysteriously concealed.Three hours before dawn his keen nostrils apprised him that somewhere in the vicinity he would find what he wanted. . .Well, what might that have been? We will learn this very soon, for now we are moving into the fourth chapter, that carries a racy title which in its crude lack of taste can only be surpassed by other parts of the same book:
CHAPTER FOUR: When the Lion Fed
With this is meant that the starved lion is supposed to be fed by the entire German front!
First of all the mystery that concealed Tarzan's plan is cleared up: he is searching for some boars. And he finds them, kills six of them, skins them and makes sacks from their hides. For which purpose, we are not yet being told. Instead a short sketch is presented of Tarzan's inner life of which an example follows:So all work found Tarzan serious, though he still retained what the other beasts lost as they grew older -- a sense of humor, which he gave play to when the mood suited him. It was a grim humor and sometimes ghastly; but it satisfied Tarzan.And equally does it satisfy the good, German-eating-minded reader. Once more a lion appears, but Tarzan has more important things on his mind than wasting his time fighting a lion. With his sacks he climbs up into the treetops and makes also a few thongs.
All this done he threw a large juicy fruit at Sabor, (a favourite joke of our good Tarzan) and goes to the lion gulch. At first the lion is not visible and Tarzan climbs up into the lonely tree. Then emits a growl and the hungry lion makes at once a dash for the tree and our "fat and sleek Tarzan." Tarzan lets him rage on for a little while and then he catches him. With the bags and the thongs, fashioned into a noose. About the same way one would catch a polecat. But that is something you have to read for yourself:Finally the ape-man rose and unslung his rope. He arranged the coils carefully in his left hand and the noose in his right, and then he took a position with each foot on one of two branches that lay in about the same horizontal plane and with his back pressed firmly against the stem of the tree. There he stood hurling insults at Numa until the beast was again goaded into leaping upward at him, and as Numa rose the noose dropped quickly over his head and about his neck. A quick movement of Tarzan's rope hand tightened the coil and when Numa slipped backward to the ground only his hind feet touched, for the ape-man held him swinging by the neck.Some bags are fitted over the lion's paws, then quickly a necklace around his neck -- then the lion is led away. Tarzan drives him forward the same way he had prodded ahead the German major -- with the exception that this time he feels more respect and consequently also more consideration.
Moving slowly outward upon the two branches Tarzan swung Numa out so that he could not reach the bole of the tree with his raking talons, then he made the rope fast after drawing the lion clear of the ground, dropped his five pigskin sacks to earth and leaped down himself. Numa was striking frantically at the grass rope with his fore claws. At any moment he might sever it and Tarzan must, therefore work rapidly. First he drew the larger bag over Numa's head and secured it about his neck with the draw string, then he managed, after considerable effort, during which he barely escaped being torn to ribbons by the mighty talons, to hog-tie Numa -- drawing his four legs together and securing them in that position with the strips trimmed from the pigskins.
By this time the lion's efforts had almost ceased -- it was evident that he was being rapidly strangled and as that did not at all suit the purpose of the Tarmangani the latter swung again into the tree, unfastened the rope from above and lowered the lion to the ground where he immediately followed it and loosed the noose about Numa's neck. Then he drew his hunting knife and cut two round holes in the front of the head bag opposite the lion's eyes for the double purpose of permitting him to see and giving him sufficient air to breathe.At last, however, by dint of the unrestricted use of his spear point, the ape-man succeeded in forcing the lion to move ahead of him and eventually guided him into the passageway. Once inside, the problem became simpler since Tarzan followed closely in the rear with his sharp spear point, an unremitting incentive to forward movement on the part of the lion. If Numa hesitated he was prodded. If he backed up the result was extremely painful and so, being a wise lion who was learning rapidly, he decided to keep on going and at the end of the tunnel, emerging into the outer world, he sensed freedom, raised his head and tail and started off at a run.Finally the lion is brought to heel. All the animals that encounter the strange pair, run off. Even a lioness that saunters along in company of four admirers, is put to flight together with her entourage. It must really have looked terrible, the sight of a lion with a muzzle, and if we were dealing here with a parody rather than with a serious attempt, this scene might have been called almost excellent. Let's hear then:
Tarzan, still on his hands and knees just inside the entrance, was taken unaware with the result that he was sprawled forward upon his face and dragged a hundred yards across the rocky ground before Numa was brought to a stand. It was a scratched and angry Tarzan who scrambled to his feet. At first he was tempted to chastise Numa; but, as the ape-man seldom permitted his temper to guide him in any direction not countenanced by reason, he quickly abandoned the idea.Numa attempted to follow them; Tarzan held him in leash and when he turned upon him in rage, beat him unmercifully across the head with his spear. Shaking his head and growling, the lion at last moved off again in the direction they had been traveling; but it was an hour before he ceased to sulk. He was very hungry -- half famished in fact -- and consequently of an ugly temper, yet so thoroughly subdued by Tarzan's heroic methods of lion taming that he was presently pacing along at the ape-man's side like some huge St. Bernard.Tarzan appears like a "phantom" amongst the English. And proceeds to behave like the head of the general staff.
It was dark when the two approached the British right, after a slight delay farther back because of a German patrol it had been necessary to elude. A short distance from the British line of out-guard sentinels Tarzan tied Numa to a tree and continued on alone."What do you intend doing and what do you want us to do?" asked Capell.He returns to the lion who welcomes him with a low whine "like the whine of a hungry dog begging for food."
Tarzan approached the table and placed a finger on the map. "Here is a listening post," he said; "they have a machine gun in it. A tunnel connects it with this trench at this point." His finger moved from place to place on the map as he talked. "Give me a bomb and when you hear it burst in this listening post let your men start across No Man's Land slowly. Presently they will hear a commotion in the enemy trench; but they need not hurry, and, whatever they do, have them come quietly. You might also warn them that I may be in the trench and that I do not care to be shot or bayoneted."
"And that is all?" queried Capell, after directing an officer to give Tarzan a hand grenade; "you will empty the trench alone?"
"Not exactly alone," replied Tarzan with a grim smile; "but I shall empty it, and, by the way, your men may come in through the tunnel from the listening post if you prefer. In about half an hour, Colonel," and he turned and left them."Soon you will kill -- and feed," he murmured in the vernacular of the great apes.(Which in addition to Tarzan is understood only by Mr. Burroughs.) They creep up to the German lines. And thus the German front was shattered to pieces:Cautiously the two beasts moved forward toward the listening post of the Germans. In one hand Tarzan carried the bomb the English had given him, in the other was the coiled rope attached to the lion. At last Tarzan could see the position a few yards ahead. His keen eyes picked out the head and shoulders of the sentinel on watch. The ape-man grasped the bomb firmly in his right hand. He measured the distance with his eye and gathered his feet beneath him, then in a single motion he rose and threw the missile, immediately flattening himself prone upon the ground.To none of them occurred the most obvious solution of sending a bullet into the lion's skull. But already the English have arrived and are amazed at the pandemonium the German trenches.
Five seconds later there was a terrific explosion in the center of the listening post. Numa gave a nervous start and attempted to break away; but Tarzan held him and, leaping to his feet, ran forward, dragging Numa after him. At the edge of the post he saw below him but slight evidence that the position had been occupied at all, for only a few shreds of torn flesh remained. About the only thing that had not been demolished was a machine gun which had been protected by sand bags.
There was not an instant to lose. Already a relief might be crawling through the communication tunnel, for it must have been evident to the sentinels in the Hun trenches that the listening post had been demolished. Numa hesitated to follow Tarzan into the excavation; but the ape-man, who was in no mood to temporize, jerked him roughly to the bottom. Before them lay the mouth of the tunnel that led back from No Man's Land to the German trenches. Tarzan pushed Numa forward until his head was almost in the aperture, then as though it were an afterthought, he turned quickly and, taking the machine gun from the parapet, placed it in the bottom of the hole close at hand, after which he turned again to Numa, and with his knife quickly cut the garters that held the bags upon his front paws. Before the lion could know that a part of his formidable armament was again released for action, Tarzan had cut the rope from his neck and the head bag from his face, and grabbing the lion from the rear had thrust him partially into the mouth of the tunnel.
Then Numa balked, only to feel the sharp prick of Tarzan's knife point in his hind quarters. Goading him on the ape-man finally succeeded in getting the lion sufficiently far into the tunnel so that there was no chance of his escaping other than by going forward or deliberately backing into the sharp blade at his rear. Then Tarzan cut the bags from the great hind feet, placed his shoulder and his knife point against Numa's seat, dug his toes into the loose earth that had been broken up by the explosion of the bomb, and shoved.
Inch by inch at first Numa advanced. He was growling now and presently he commenced to roar. Suddenly he leaped forward and Tarzan knew that he had caught the scent of meat ahead. Dragging the machine gun beside him the ape-man followed quickly after the lion whose roars he could plainly hear ahead mingled with the unmistakable screams of frightened men. Once again a grim smile touched the lips of this man-beast. "They murdered my Waziri," he muttered; "they crucified Wasimbu, son of Muviro."
When Tarzan reached the trench and emerged into it there was no one in sight in that particular bay, nor in the next, nor the next as he hurried forward in the direction of the German center; but in the fourth bay he saw a dozen men jammed in the angle of the traverse at the end while leaping upon them and rending with talons and fangs was Numa, a terrific incarnation of ferocity and ravenous hunger.
Whatever held the men at last gave way as they fought madly with one another in their efforts to escape this dread creature that from their infancy had filled them with terror, and again they were retreating. Some clambered over the parados and some even over the parapet preferring the dangers of No Man's Land to this other soul-searing menace.The foremost Rhodesians saw something else -- they saw a huge German officer emerge from a dugout just in rear of the ape-man. They saw him snatch up a discarded rifle with bayonet fixed and creep upon the apparently unconscious Tarzan.It would have been too simple for him to just to shoot Tarzan.The German leaped upon the parapet behind him -- the fat hands raised the rifle butt aloft for the cowardly downward thrust into the naked back and then, as moves Ara, the lightning, moved Tarzan of the Apes.And thus Tarzan behaved once more like the incomparable hero whose deeds should be gazed upon with ecstatic admiration while condemning any hateful (i.e. of course filled with envy and and totally unjustified) criticism. Underlieutenant von Goss -- another of those super-beasts -- is dead. And Tarzan gives voice to his victorious roar, as a mood-fitting finish to the fourth chapter.
It was no man who leaped forward upon that Boche officer, striking aside the sharp bayonet as one might strike aside a straw in a baby's hand -- it was a wild beast and the roar of a wild beast was upon those savage lips, for as that strange sense that Tarzan owned in common with the other jungle bred creatures of his wild domain warned him of the presence behind him and he had whirled to meet the attack, his eyes had seen the corps and regimental insignia upon the other's blouse -- it was the same as that worn by the murderers of his wife and his people, by the despoilers of his home and his happiness.
It was a wild beast whose teeth fastened upon the shoulder of the Hun -- it was a wild beast whose talons sought that fat neck. And then the boys of the Second Rhodesian Regiment saw that which will live forever in their memories. They saw the giant ape-man pick the heavy German from the ground and shake him as a terrier might shake a rat -- as Sabor, the lioness, sometimes shakes her prey. They saw the eyes of the Hun bulge in horror as he vainly struck with his futile hands against the massive chest and head of his assailant. They saw Tarzan suddenly spin the man about and placing a knee in the middle of his back and an arm about his neck bend his shoulders slowly backward. The German's knees gave and he sank upon them, but still that irresistible force bent him further and further. He screamed in agony for a moment -- then something snapped and Tarzan cast him aside, a limp and lifeless thing.
Whereupon the fifth chapter follows:
Continued in Part II: ERBzine 3297
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