Chapter Nine - Peril on
As Tarzan and Jane led the broken safari up the side of the escarpment,
the great apes were called upon to do more than merely guard the members
of Major Fry's expedition.
Many had suffered wounds at the hands of the Gabonis, and those wounded
ones, Tarzan ordered, should be carried up the steep incline.
At first the natives were startled and afraid to receive the assistance
of Tarzan's followers, but they came, in time, to realize these were their
The upward journey was not without tragedy. A great ape, with a poisoned
arrow in his shoulder, toiled on, carrying a wounded safari boy.
Major Fry and Eric had been watching this display of courage and endurance.
Now, as the great ape reached for a jagged rock, the deadly poison fulfilled
its mission; the ape fumbled, losing ground.
"Look out!" Eric cried to the ape, much as he would to one of the safari.
"Look out, there!" Eric screamed a warning.
But, with a groan, the ape plunged down, bearing his human burden with
him to a crushing death below.
Eric paused a moment in horror. Then there came again, but farther away
this time, the beating drums of the Gabonis.
"Move on!" Major Fry told him curtly.
They resumed the torturous journey upward, the apes, like a swarm of
bees, guiding the safari up the precipitous incline.
Tarzan, with Rita over his shoulder, and Jane at his side, now approached
an overhanging boulder over which he must climb to reach the top of the
On top of the plateau, silhouetted against the sky, stood a lion, rigid
with the scent of the oncoming safari. Tarzan, directly underneath the
boulder, carefully and slowly groping his way upward, was completely unconscious
of this fresh peril.
Suspiciously the lion sniffed the air. And, at this moment, Tarzan and
Jane came over the edge, to discover the terror that awaited them.
"Tarzan!" Jane cried in horrified fear.
Pausing on the ledge, Tarzan made a lightning decision. Quickly he rolled
Rita over his shoulder and onto the ground before him, shouting to the
apes to lift her to safety below the plateau.
"Oh, Tarzan!" Jane cried out.
"Come!" he commanded, dragging her with one hand as he reached for his
dagger with another. Nimbly they leaped into the branches of a tree.
Now another lion appeared below them. Tarzan, raising his knife, lustily
shouted his battle cry, and followed this immediately with the call he
used in distress.
The lions, puzzled and bewildered, backed away for the moment.
Below the ledge, Major Fry and Eric now held the unconscious Rita. As
yet they had no realization of the terror which Tarzan and Jane faced on
top of their plateau.
"Back!" Tarzan told Jane. "Go up!"
Reluctantly she obeyed, climbing farther in the tree. Tarzan repeated
his distress call, and with good cause.
From the rocks and shrubbery there emerged more lions, a snarling, menacing
pack, hungry and ready to attack.
Tarzan crouched in the tree, his knife ready, awaiting an answer to
his call, and hoping to keep the attention of the lions.
Now the lions were growing bolder, Jane gazed down in terror, imploring
Tarzan to climb up in the tree. But Tarzan had promised to befriend the
safari and lead them safely to the escarpment, and so, he kept his place,
boldly slashing at the foremost beast.
Timbee, the mighty ape, had been close behind Tarzan. Now, by some miracle
he appeared at Tarzan's side.
Against the snarling, savage lions, Timbee could not hope to battle
equally. But he held the side of his leader, ready and willing to give
his life in the defense of Tarzan.
Again, loudly and lustily, Tarzan gave his distress call.
In answer came a welcome sound.
"Tarzan!" Jane cried in great and happy relief. "The elephants are coming."
The trumpeting grew nearer. Then the elephants came crashing through
the nearby foliage, and stampeded into the lions. There ensued a terrific
clamor, as the lions twisted around to fight the new adversaries.
Fiercely the lions leaped upon the elephants, only to be dashed to the
ground and trampled. Soon the triumphant elephants had them scampering
off to safety.
"My friend!" Tarzan mounted Tantor, the great leader of the herd,
who stood happily complacent over the victory.
Major Fry and Eric now drew near, assisting Rita. Immediately Jane rushed
to the wounded girl. Rita slowly opened her eyes.
"You'll be all right," Jane told her. "Just be quiet. Soon we'll reach
Rita raised herself and cried out suddenly.
"Jane, isn't that an elephant?"
Jane looked over to where Tarzan was asking a favor of his friend, Tantor.
"Yes," Jane explained. "That's Tantor. He saved our lives. And I believe
he will again."
Tarzan had asked that Tantor and his herd carry the safari to the escarpment,
for it was impossible for them to venture on foot. Tantor had consented.
Now Tarzan mounted Tantor and called to Jane.
"Come," he commanded. "Jane, we go!"
With Eric's help, Rita arose and Tarzan smiled down as she cautiously
approached Tantor, placing her hand on his trunk. There was an unwilling
admiration in the eyes of Major Fry. A man who can command a herd of elephants!
"We go," Tarzan said again.
Eric and Major Fry assisted Rita up. The entire safari followed suit.
Tarzan gave an order to Tantor, pointing the direction.
"Go home," he said magnificently. And the herd of elephants moved
towards the jungle, each carrying a rider.