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Volume 0818
Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. ENCYCLOPEDIA

 A Collector's 
Hypertexted and Annotated Storehouse 
of Encyclopedic Resources
presents
 The ERBzine Comics Summaries Project


ERB SUNDAY SUMMARIES
Hal Foster
HAROLD FOSTER'S  SUNDAY TARZAN STRIP
The Vikings
June 2, 1935 - December 29, 1935


THE HAL FOSTER YEARS
September 27, 1931 to May 2, 1937

CONTENTS

ERB Comics Summary
Project Introduction
Foster Sept 1931
Hawk of the Desert
Foster Dec. 1931
Hulvia, The Beautiful
Foster April 1932
Lenida, The Lion Tamer
Foster June 1932
Return of Korak
Foster August 1932
Elephants' Graveyard
Foster Sept. 1932
Primeval Swamp
Foster Nov. 1932
Egyptian Saga I: Monkey Man
Foster March 1933
Egyptians Saga II: Wrath of Gods
Foster May 1933
Egyptians Saga III: Sun God
Foster Sept 1933
Egyptians Saga IV
Foster Dec.1933
Egyptians Saga V: Child/Fire
Foster Feb 1934
Egypt Saga VI: Pharaoh Command
Foster June 17 1933
The Mysterious Maiden
Foster: 34.09.09-34.12.02
Mysterious Maiden II  0816
Foster 34.12.09-35.05.26
God-King of the Waioris 0817
Foster 35.06.02 -35.12.29 
The Vikings
 

Blood Warrior ~ 1935.06.02

When the fierce fighting man rushed upon them, Tarzan and Bohgdu leaped instinctively to the trees. Tarzan commanded the ape to run to Sybil's aid in case the warrior should be the vanguard of a hostile horde. Then the ape-man leaped full upon his mysterious foe, who cried out in some strange language. Immediately they were locked in titanic combat, for Tarzan had never met a stronger, bolder opponent. They fell to the ground and rose again; their muscles writhed and tightened; they swayed and struggled in savage conflict. But at last the jungle lord, strongest and nimblest of men, wrested the sword from the hands of his antagonist. The stranger, however, did not flee. Instead, he drew himself erect, waiting to be slain by his conqueror. Tarzan admired this brave fighter who preferred death to flight; and he flung down the sword in token of peace. Then the warrior did a strange thing. With his small dagger he pricked his palm until it bled. He signaled Tarzan to do likewise. Then they clasped hands and their blood mingled warmly. Thus did Tarzan of the apes become a "blood-brother" of the mysterious warrior, each recognizing the noble qualities of the other. Then the warrior pointed westward, indicating that there roamed enemies who could test their combined strength!


Crash of Exile ~ 35.06.09

With the warrior Tarzan explored the tiny tract and found it a chasm encircled by precipitous mountains. When they returned to the beach, Sybil surveyed the stranger with admiring surprise.

"A Viking out of a story book! Am I dreaming!"

Tarzan smiled. "I judge we are now on the mainland of Africa, a land that hides many mysteries."

While the jungle lord built shelters, Bohgdu was set to scan the sea. But days went by and no ship passed this isolated spot. Tarzan noted how Sybil gazed at the handsome warrior with adoring eyes and soon the three castaways learned to converse. Thori the Viking told them how his father Thoral had been king in the distant mountains. But Ivar the Red slew him and seized the throne. Then, "Var's henchmen brought me here and lowered me into this fatal chasm of exile. Knowing that he was a prince, Sybil looked upon the Viking with new interest. But he gave her no encouragement. Soon the meager fruits and edible herbs of the chasm would be exhausted. To remain would be to perish. Tarzan advised that they all take to the raft and explore the coast for some port whence Sybil might sail homeward.

Thorik answered: "I shall remain, for I have vowed to avenge my father's death and hazard my life in reclaiming the throne from his slayer!"

Then Sybil turned to Tarzan and said: "Let us throw in our fortune with his!"


The Viking Foe ~ 35.06.16

Tarzan agreed heartily when Sybil suggested that they aid Thorik in regaining his lost throne. He liked this noble warrior and he was eager to it his strength and wits against Thorik's enemies. At once the jungle lord fashioned weapons for defense or attack, as fortune should dictate.

"But how shall we escape this abysmal prison?" Sybil asked.

For an answer, Tarzan smiled and set to work lacing vines and bark into long stout ropes. Then he and Bohgdu picked their way cautiously up the jagged face of the cliff, while Sybil and Thorik watched anxiously. When they reached a ledge, they lowered a rope and hoisted Sybil and Thorik up to them. Now ape and ape-man ascended to another ledge, where an unscalable cliff loomed above them! But Tarzan flung a rope end around a fallen tree that overhung the precipice, and drew himself upward. Suddenly Thorik voiced a startled cry of warning, for a viking foe appeared abruptly at the edge of the cliff.

"Death to you all!" the stranger shouted as he stepped out cautiously on the horizontal log and slowly raised his sword to slash the rope that was Tarzan's only link to life!

Battle of the Broadswords ~ 35.06.23
As the Viking slowly balanced himself on his narrow perch, preparing to cut the rope, Tarzan acted with lightning swiftness. The ape-man twined a leg in the rope and swung backward head down. As he swung, Tarzan speedily stripped his bow from his shoulder and set an arrow to the string. The surprised Viking stepped back -- but too late. The shaft found its mark! The stranger flung up his arms, cried out and toppled into the chasm. But danger was not past, for now Tarzan heard cries from above. He scrambled up the rope to the summit of the cliff. There two comrades of the fallen Viking charged down upon him. Again an arrow whirred, but it splintered against the shield of the first warrior, while the second bore down on Tarzan at close quarters. The ape-man dodged, leaned over , and swept up the sword of the Viking he had slain. Quickly he brought the broadsword into play. But it was to him an unfamiliar weapon, nor was he protected by shield. And slowly the two fierce vikings forced him back to the very brink of the fatal chasm.


Tarzan's Peril ~ 35.06.30

Driven to the brink of the cliff, Tarzan waged a losing battle against the two Vikings, while the faithful Bohgdu clambered up the rope to his master's aid. Heedlessly the ape rushed bare-handed into the battle against the steel-armed warriors.

But Tarzan called out to him: "Go back! They kill! Bring Thorik!"

Hastily the powerful ape lowered the rope and hauled the valiant Thorik to the field of battle.

"Death to Thorik! No quarter!" the warriors shouted when they saw him.

"I want no quarter from traitors!" Thorik answered as he plunged furiously into the fray. The clang of steel and hoarse battle cries reached Sybil, huddled against the cliff; and she was filled with dismay. But Thorik's strong arm turned the tide of battle and soon his foes lay dead at the feet of their conquerors. "These men," said Thorik, "were henchmen of Erik the Red. Apparently they were stationed here to block my escape. He continued grimly: "My enemies are many -- and powerful. I should not blame you if you left me to my fate!"

The ape-man smiled. "Tarzan never abandons his friends. Your fate shall be mine. Lead on, warrior!"


Tarzan's Audacity ~ 35.07.07

Their enemies slain, Tarzan and Thorik hauled Sybil up the cliff and began their perilous trek toward the land of the Vikings. Their goal was many marches toward the distant mountains, but their path lay through dark dense forests. Tarzan's jungle skill and swift arrows provided them with food and protected them from marauding beasts.

One day the jungle lord said to Bohgdu: "You go south to your own ape-people, we go among cruel men. They may kill us all!"

The faithful Bohgdu answered: "Tarzan is king of the apes. I follow Tarzan my king." The ape-man smiled.

Meanwhile, the love-stricken Sybil sought Thorik's favor, but he gave her no more attention than courtesy required. At last the travelers attained a high peak and looked down upon a vast valley, where a town nestled on the shore of an inland sea. Tarzan's keen eyes caught the excited movements of many men, seemingly preparing for an expedition. These warriors, he judged, were true Vikings, descended from an ancient, shipwrecked band of sea-roving Norsemen.

"There," Thorik nodded, "Erik sites on the throne that is mine and plans ruthless war on our peaceful neighbors."

"I shall make camp for you here," said Tarzan, "and then go down into the valley to reconnoiter."

Even the brave Thorik was aghast at Tarzan's audacity. "You will be captured and killed!" he warned.


The Tragic Maid ~ 35.07.14

In vain did Thorik seek to dissuade Tarzan from his hazardous journey to the Viking town.

"If we would lay plans to regain your throne," the ape-man answered calmly," we must know what is astir there." Then he went down into the valley and when night fell he ventured into the stronghold of Thorik's enemies. Sounds of the merrymaking drew him toward the feasting hall, were a guard leaped suddenly from the shadows. But Tarzan's fatal fingers flew out and throttled the outcry in his enemy's throat. Then he was free to look upon the boisterous scene within, where Red Erik occupied a lordly throne, ensconced among his warriors. Beside the brutal usurper sat a beautiful fair-haired girl. Weighed down with a heavy sadness, while . . . a bard sand of Erik's strong and bloody deeds -- how he slew king Thorgest and sent Thorik, his son, into fatal exile.

"And tomorrow," a drunken warrior laughed, "our new king shall wed the fair Sigreda, who was Thorik's betrothed.

The heart of Tarzan was filled with pity and anger as he pondered the forced marriage of Thorik's beloved.

Then Sigreda arose majestically. "My dear Thorik is dead," she cried. "Rather than wed his slayer, I too shall die!"

Swiftly she plucked a dagger from Erik's belt. The shining steel fluttered like a bird -- then flew straight for Sigreda's aching heart!


Amidst the Vikings ~ 35.07.21

Grimly, Tarzan watched Sigreda drive the dagger toward her heart.

But Erik's hand shot out and grasped her wrist. "Death shall not rob me of you!" he cried. "By yon sacred tree of the gods, I swear you shall be my bride!"

Then he summoned two henchmen to watch over her while he and his captains continued their boisterous feast. For the sake of Thorik, whose betrothed she was, Tarzan vowed to save this maiden from her fate. Briskly he scaled the wall and reached the point where the tree grew strangely out of the roof. Fully aware of the hazards, he descended the tree into the great hall and dropped down near the throne. Snarling like a beast  to affright his foes, the ape-man seized Sigreda and sprang quickly back to the tree. And with his precious burden the bronzed giant mounted again to the roof. So swift and bold was his action that the Vikings were left astonished and confused.

"It was the mischievous god Lok!" a warrior cried.

"It was a monster!" another insisted.

"Fools!" roared Erik. "It was a man! Sound the alarm. Pursue him! NO man can escape the wrath of Erik the Red."

The alarm brought soldiers streaming from every house. And Tarzan, coursing the streets saw that his flight was blocked!"


A Futile Stratagem ~ 35.07.28

As the Viking horde blocked Tarzan's flight, fierce cries rang out: "Capture the savage! He has stolen Sigreda!"

Like a hunted beast, the ape-man retreated and swerved into a narrow side-street. But here, too, an enemy throng was racing toward him. In desperation, he darted into an unlighted dwelling. Hidden there, the fugitives heard King Erik command: "Let each man search a house. The savage is helpless against your swords."

In dark concealment, Sigreda sighed: "Now there is no hope. You shall be killed -- and I shall be Red Erik's bride!"

Soon the door flew ajar. A warrior entered. Tarzan the man-beast sprang upon him. The warrior died silently! Swiftly the ape-man girded on the trappings of his vanquished foe and stalked to the doorway.

Into the street he called out boldly: I require another soldier to aid me in the search."

That soldier died too -- like the first. And Tarzan commanded the girl: "Put on his armor!"

Thus disguised as viking warriors, the fugitives emerged into the street and hastened on their way. But in the swarm and crush, the spear of an awkward warrior struck off Sigreda's helmet, and her hair streamed down.

"Look!" a startled soldier cried.

"And that," cried another, "is the savage we seek!"


Sigreda's Anguish ~ 35.08.04

"Surrender!" the soldiers shouted when they had penetrated the disguise of Tarzan and Sigreda.

"Never!" the Viking maiden answered. Raising her sword to fight, as Tarzan, too, prepared for battle.

Then King Erik shouted: "No harm must come to Sigreda, and I myself shall spill the blood of the savage!"

Fighting furiously, the girl wounded a soldier before she was seized from behind and disarmed. And now Red Erik, with proud confidence, charged down on the ape-man to engage him in single combat. But the jungle lord's blow sent Erik's sword flying amongst a group of Viking warriors. profiting by the confusion, Tarzan seized the girl and broke through the circle nor could any Viking overtake him. Sigreda felt strangely thrilled in the strong arms of the stranger, and she was regretful when at last he set her down.

"Whither do we go?" she asked.

"To Thorik, your beloved," Tarzan replied; and a new joy swept her heart.

When they approached the camp, Sigreda said: "Let me go first, I wish to surprise  him."

But as she beheld her betrothed, she uttered a startled, heartbroken cry and beckoned to Tarzan. And the troubled jungle lord gazed upon the cause of her new woe -- Thorik in Sybil's fond embrace!


Perilous Love ~ 35.08.11

Perceiving Thorik, her betrothed, in Sybil's arms, Sigreda rushed toward them in flaming anger. Thorik ran joyously to greet her, but Sigreda spurned him.

"Away! You have betrayed the love I bore you!"

"No! the warrior cried in dismay. "I love only you. This other one is naught to me."

"He pledged me his love," Sybil lied boldly. Hoping thus to magnify the quarrel between Thorik and the Viking maid.

"You may have him," Sigreda raged. "The coward! He dallies here with you, shameless siren, while Erik rules his kingdom"

Tarzan looked on helplessly, utterly lost in this swirling, whirling pool of confused human passions.

"I hate you, Prince Thorik," Sigreda cried; "And someday I shall be revenged." She turned and fled.

"Pursue her!" Thorik begged Tarzan. "For my sake and hers, see that no harm comes to her."

When the ape-man overtook her, she turned on him like a tigress. "Do not follow me! I go where I please!"

"I must guard you from danger," he announced. Then Sigreda turned again to flee, but Tarzan seized her.

"You shall do as I say!" he said gruffly and once more the maiden thrilled to the touch of this masterful man. Then she looked up, and Tarzan was alarmed by the fire of fondness that burned in her brightening eyes!


A Rash Decision ~ 35.08.18

Alarmed by Sigreda's show of affection, Tarzan hastened to divert her. "You must be hungry," he said. She nodded indifferently; then the jungle lord set forth in search of game and came upon the trail of a mountain antelope. He was happy to quit the ferment of human society, and match speed and wits with this wild creature. Finally he trapped his quarry in the pocket of a ravine and sprang upon it.

Meanwhile, in Tarzan's absence, Sigreda's grief overwhelmed her to the point of utter despair. When he returned, the maiden was gone! And on a tree he found a message scratched on a great leaf. Unable to decipher the Viking script, the ape-man hurried to Thorik, who grasped the message and read:

"I cannot bear the shame of Thorik's deceit I go among the cannibals!" Thorik paled as he continued. "If there is anyone who loves me enough to save me, I shall be happy. Otherwise death will end my suffering!"

"Where is the land of the cannibals?" Tarzan demanded.

"Beyond the inland sea," Thorik replied, "You cannot go there!"

"Why?"

"They devour all who cross their boundaries," said the Viking. "No one can save Sigreda now."

"I shall try!" Tarzan answered grimly.


Condemned 35.08.25

At Tarzan's firm demand, Thorik explained the way to the land of cannibals, whither Sigreda had fled.

"I shall go with you," Thorik pleaded, but Tarzan shook his head. "I travel more quickly alone."

Swiftly he took up the trail and came to the inland sea, where he saw Sigreda, far ahead, in a small boat. Without waiting to seek out another boat, Tarzan plunged into the water and followed her. The distraught maiden landed on the shores of Thalgaard, where her father Ruvald ruled as king. Stealthily she traversed the town, slipped past the frontier guard, and vanished into the dark jungle! In the haste of pursuit, Tarzan ignored his customary caution and ran afoul of a Thalgaard patrol! He fought with the fury of a beast, but at last he was overwhelmed and brought before the king. There he told his strange story saying; "Sire, I seek only to save your daughter from a dreadful fate."

King Ruvald laughed, for he believed no word the bronzed giant spoke. Then his brow knitted gravely. "You are one of the cannibals," the king cried. "You have come to spy upon us. At dawn you shall die!"

Tarzan knew then that the king had pronounced doom not only upon him, but upon Sigreda, his own daughter.



Red Erik's Raid ~ 35.09.01

Condemned to death, Tarzan was led in chains toward the prison stockade. Casting his eye seaward, he stopped suddenly and asked his guard: "Is Erik the Red your friend or foe?"

"Our bitterest enemy," the captain replied.

"Then," advised Tarzan, "you must prepare for war!"

His keen eyes had descried vile Erik's bristling fleet slipping down from the far horizon! When the flotilla plowed into view of all, the soldiers cried the alarm, and King Ruvald hastened to them.

"To arms!" he shouted. "We shall defend Thalgaard with the last drop of our blood!"

Then Tarzan spoke up: "The best defense is to attack at sea while they are weary from their journey."

The king gazed at him with approving surprise as the bronzed giant continued: "I shall fight by your side."

"It is well," Ruvald answered. "If we gain the victory, you shall go free. If we are defeated you die!"

Soon Tarzan was zealously aiding the preparations, and the Vikings marveled at his strength. At last the Thalgaard armada put out to sea, and drew near to the enemy fleet. Seeing the superiority of Erik's forces, Tarzan knew that only a miracle could save Ruvald from defeat!


Sea Battle! ~ 35.09.08

As Erik's fleet maneuvered to encircle King Ruvald's Armada. The archers and spearmen swung into action. A rain of missiles filled the air, and Tarzan's arm flew like a shuttle as he fixed arrows to his bow. But the speeding shafts did not halt the relentless progress of the stout-armored foe.

Now Tarzan called to Ruvald who shouted to his oarsmen and the ship darted toward Erik's vessel. A quick turn -- and the prow of the Thalgaard ship plowed through the enemy craft. Many of the Vikings were hurled into the sea and dragged beneath the water by the weight of their armor. Erik clung to a fragment of wreckage until he was hauled aboard another of his vessels. And now seeking to duplicate Tarzan's strategy, Erik ordered his craft to cut through his rival's flagship. As the ape-man turned to advise Ruvald the Thalgaard monarch fell wounded and speechless to the deck.

Knowing that every moment was precious, Tarzan took up the sword of the fallen king, and assumed command. At his order, the ship veered and drew alongside the enemy craft. "Lash the ships together!" Tarzan cried. When his order had been obeyed, his voice rang out once more: "Aboard the enemy! Fight to the death!"



Fire! ~ 35.09.15

When the ships had been lashed together, Tarzan led his Viking fighting men aboard the enemy vessel. With the ape-man in the vanguard growling like a beast, the battle was joined with savage fury. Steadily Tarzan's valiant cohorts drove back the foe toward the prow of the ship. Then Erik summoned another ship, leaped aboard wit the remnant of his company, and ordered it drawn away.

But now a fearsome shower of firebrands began to rain upon the vessel which Tarzan and his men had captured. Quickly it took fire and threatened the flagship of the Thalgaard fleet even as it was cut adrift.

"Bring your craft to the stern," he shouted to them, "and drive my ship forward."

Thus propelled, Tarzan guided the burning vessel into the midst of the enemy fleet. Two of Erik's ships burst into leaping roaring flames. But now, as the fire swept back toward him, the ape-man was forced to jump for his life.

Erik saw him and cried! "Archers to the fore! Let loose your arrows upon the savage."


Mutiny ~ 35.09.22

As Tarzan plunged from the burning ship, Erik's archers released a flight of arrows. But Tarzan dived deeply, swam under Erik's ship, and hailed one of  his own vessels. Before is mystified foes could fathom his disappearance, his warriors hauled him aboard. The men of Thalgaard hailed him as a hero, and they were proud to serve under his command. Now the ape-man surveyed the battle scene, and his heart was heavy, because he foresaw defeat. Four of Erik's ships had been destroyed, but the enemy fire-brands had ravaged three Thalgaard vessels. Tarzan quickly evolved a plan which required a swift retreat, and he shouted his orders. His warriors were astonished and resentful.

"No!" they cried. "The men of Thalgaard are pledged never to retreat!"

Now Tarzan brandished the sword he had taken from their wounded king, the sword which symbolized military command. Knowing well the sacredness of Viking oaths, he cried: "You are sworn also to obey him who holds this sword!"

"True," roared an ambitious captain of the warriors. "But you, traitor, shall not hold it long!" With these resolute words, the mutinous captain charged upon Tarzan!


Flight ~ 35.09.29

When the mutinous captain swung his first blow, Tarzan's mighty arm sent his sword clattering to the deck. The ape-man called then to the dumb-founded throng: "If there be another who questions me, let him speak!"

But now the awestruck soldiers bowed to his supremacy, and the oarsmen obeyed his command to retreat. Tarzan's Vikings fought valiantly through Erik's fleet and fled homeward in seeming disgrace. Scornful Erik followed slowly to save his warriors' strength for the final assault on the Thalgaard town. When the fugitive flotilla came to the bridge, Tarzan ordered deep notches hewn in the stanchions. These timbers were secured by long stout ropes to the ships which now lay in wait. As the foe reached the underpass, Tarzan's ships leaped forward, ropes jerked taut, and the great bridge thundered down. Red Erik's fleet was destroyed, and the realm of Thalgaard was saved from his ravaging hand. Later, in the triumphal procession beside the litter of the wounded king, marched Tarzan, who had been his prisoner.

Weakly, King Ruvald spoke to him: "By heroic victory, you have won the reward of freedom. May you spend it wisely."

Tarzan answered: "Perhaps, Sire, I shall spend it to buy death, for I go now to seek your daughter, Sigreda among the cannibals!"


The Lion People ~ 35.10.06

When Tarzan announced his plan to save Sigreda from the cannibals, Ruvald offered him a company of soldiers.

The ape-man shook his head, "The jungle devours those who do not know its ways. I go alone!" Then he hastened away and crossed the Thalgaard frontier into the country of the merciless savages. Despite the peril of his mission, Tarzan breathed with joy the free air of the jungle, his natural home. Presently, Usha, the wind, brought to him the scent of black men. These, he judged, were his cannibal enemies. Deep in the forest he found the monstrous creatures, bearing a captive lion which they treated with strange reverence. Tarzan followed curiously after them, catching random words in a dialect he understood.

At the gate of their palisaded village, the chief came forth in barbaric splendor and addressed the snarling beast. "Mengo bids welcome to Simba. Tonight Simba will share our feast!" The chief bowed before the lion, then called through the gates: "Fetch the prisoners!"

Encircled by a warrior guard, four white captives filed through the passage. Among them was Sigreda!

Mengo pointed to the lion and said to the prisoners: "By the law of the Lion People, Simba will be your executioner!"



The Cannibals' Trap ~ 35.10.13

From the chieftain's speech, Tarzan judged that the lion was to kill the victims for the cannibal feast! "That lion shall kill no one," he murmured. He drew his bow. An arrow whirred -- and pierced the venerated beast. Then the ape-man's voice boomed from the forest "Free the white prisoners, or you Chief, shall suffer the same fate!"

Crafty Mengo leaped behind Sigreda for protection, and called, "Who are you who slays Simba, Lord of the Lion People?"

And the voice answered: "I am Tarzan, Lord of Jungle Beasts -- and a jungle man who defies me, dies!"

At the mention of his dreaded name, Mengo and his retinue fled through the gateway, dragging their prisoners. But Sigreda smiled radiantly as she thought "Tarzan has come to save me, because he loves me."

Presently Mengo told the elders, "Tonight, surely, the ape-man will seek to spy upon us from our council tree. Wise Mengo will trap him."

From the boughs of the tree, the savages removed sections of bark, cut deep into the wood, and replaced the bark. "When he leaps into the branches," Mengo chuckled, "they will break and the man-beast will drop into our hands!"

As twilight fell, Tarzan swung toward the village, resolved to find some means of setting Sigreda free. And his goal was the great council tree, which the cunning cannibal chief had devised as a trap.



TARZAN'S MISFORTUNE! ~ 35.10.20

Scaling the palisade, Tarzan dropped down into the village of the lion people, who held Sigreda captive. Cautiously he slipped past the sentries, unaware that they had been ordered to let him pass freely. Weaving among the huts he attained the center of the village and swung into a clump of trees. His goal was the isolated tree beneath which the cannibals held council, for he wished to learn their plans. He leaped toward it, but when his fingers closed on a bough, a harrowing ripping of wood foretold his fate. Under Tarzan's weight the branch snapped where the crafty Mengo had cut it half way through! The ape-man fell into a bristling circle of expectant warriors. He fought with the fury of a trapped beast, and four cannibals fell by his hand before the throng subdued him.

"This," roared Mengo, "is the last of Tarzan! Soon he shall face Lord Simba in the mystic Kraal. Then -- the feast!"

Tarzan smiled. He feared no lion. Mengo divined his thought, for he had heard of the ape-man's jungle triumphs. "We shall honor Tarzan," Mengo added, "by setting many lions upon him. One must kill him!" As if to confirm the chieftain's fatal judgment, a great beast roared savagely in the jungle!



Talons of Death ~ 35-10-27

 Painfully bound, Tarzan was thrust into a hut to await his doom at the hands of the Lion People. And Mengo delighted in boasting to Sigreda that he had captured the ape-man who had come to save her.

Next morning Tarzan heard the hunting parties setting out to trap the lions which were to kill him. Toward evening they returned, and savage roars announced their success. Soon the night trembled wit the thunder of cannibal drums, booming a dismal prelude to the fearful rites to come. Then the captives were driven forth toward the mystic kraal -- where the talons of death awaited them.

Brave Sigreda smiled at Tarzan. "I know you love me, because you tried to save me. Now I can die happy." Loath to rob the Viking maid of her last comfort, Tarzan did not dissent.

Now the captives were led up a stairway to a platform above an arena where a dozen lions clamored against their cages. And upon the platform crowded the cannibals, their eyes large with eager expectation of the bloody spectacle. Then Mengo, the chief, addressed the prisoners, "You will draw lots to decide the order of your dying!"

"No!" cried Sigreda. "I will go first!"



Pit of Doom ~ 35.11.03

When Sigreda demanded to go first to face a lion in the sacred kraal, the cannibal chief shook his head. "No!" he scowled. "The victims of our sacred rites must be chosen by lot. That is the law of the Lion People."

Forthwith the lots were cast. The first fell upon the Viking Rabold, the second upon Tarzan, and the third Sigreda. Pompously Mengo gave the signal, and a great savage lion was released from its cage to roam the fatal arena. He was armed with only a short sword which the cannibals had given him to add excitement to the unequal combat. Bravely Rabold awaited his executioner, and the great beast, rumbling in its throat, charged upon him The Viking side-stepped and swung his sword, but the lion was only infuriated by the wound. The carnivore whirled and charged again, its deadly fangs and cruel talons bared for the kill. The cannibals howled with frenzied delight, and . . .  the other lions roared viciously in their cages.

"A moment more -- then finish!" Mengo chuckled. "Prepare you now, Tarzan! Five lions await to taste your blood!"


Sigreda's Love ~ 35. 11.10

The lion rose on his hind legs and fell fiercely upon his victim; and thus died Rabold the Viking. But before the beast could devour his prey, a sudden flight of arrows rained from the platform and ended his life. Tarzan turned to the cannibal chief, surprised that the venerated Lord Simba should be slain, Mengo explained: "We favor Simba by killing him at the height of his triumph. His happy work is done. He has given us a victim for our feast."

Now Mengo ordered that TArzan be unbound for entrance into the fatal arena, from which no man ever returned alive. Sharp spears were pressed against his flesh. One false move, and the lances would penetrate his body! Tears streamed now from Sigreda's eyes as she whispered: "Farewell, beloved. We shall be united in death!"

Mengo returned Tarzan's hunting knife; but of what avail was that small blade in the coming combat! Now the cannibal chief signaled triumphantly and five raging lions leaped from their cages. "Haste!" Mengo roared. "Thrust Tarzan into the pit, or the lions will rush here to attack us."

As the spearmen drove the ape-man into the arena, a cry arose behind him. It was Sigreda screaming! "Rather than witness his death, I shall die." and the distraught maiden ran past Tarzan to face the raging lions!"


Trapped By Lions! ~ 35.11.17

When, to spare herself the sight of Tarzan's death, Sigreda ran to face the raging lions, the ape-man raced after her. He expected to save neither her nor himself from that savage pack, but his fighting spirit impelled him to battle. One lion swifter that the rest was almost upon the Viking maid, Tarzan swept her aside and faced the charging beast. Then the jungle lord stepped lightly away and leaped suddenly upon the carnivore's back as it rushed past. The surprised beast reared upright. Tarzan's left hand gripped its mane while his right drove his knife into the lion's throat. As the brute fell, Tarzan leaped clear, hastened to Sigreda and lifted her in his arms while the other beasts raced at her. Whirling now, he ran toward the far end of the arena, handicapped by his human burden. The cannibals howled with glee at the thrilling spectacle, knowing that there was no escape from the pit of death. But the ape-man's keen eyes alighted upon the open cages, from which the lions had been released to kill him. With a supreme burst of energy he dashed to a cage and thrust Sigreda inside. Then as a sharp claw scraped his back, the ape-man darted into another cage and closed the door. Now the fugitives were captives of the lions! Eventually, Tarzan knew he must fight the whole pack to conquer -- or to die!


Caged Fury ~ 35.11.24

Roaring with rage, the captor lions clawed viciously at the cages in which Tarzan and Sigreda had sought refuge. From the cannibals rose great howls of fiendish mirth at the plight of the captives. And Mengo commanded his warriors: "Go to the rear of the cages and drive Tarzan into the arena!"

But the ape-man needed no prodding, for his heart raged now with the fury of battle. He opened the cage door. With a hungry snarl, one of the lions plunged in, and Tarzan jerked the door shut. Then the furious battle was joined between beast and man-beast in the close quarters of the cage. The swirl of talons mingled with the flash of Tarzan's knife; for the ape-man was no less agile than his brute foe. Finally, embracing the beast, the jungle lord drove the blade into its throat. As the carnivore died, Sigreda thrilled at the heroic victory of the man she loved. Now Tarzan leaped out of the cage to enter another, to pursue the same strategy of killing one lion at a time. He eluded the swift beasts and darted toward an open door, but he came to a sudden stop. The cages bristled now with spears thrust from behind by the warriors! Tarzan was trapped between two arms of death!


Love's Tentacles ~ 35.12.01

With the spears of the warriors blocking his retreat into the cages Tarzan turned to face the charging lions. If he fought one of the beasts he knew the others would set upon him and tear him asunder. Sigreda saw his hopeless plight and determined once more to carry through her resolve to die by his side. To detract the lions from the girl, Tarzan ran toward the far end of the arena, with the beasts in close pursuit. Then he hit upon a shrewd stratagem, and ran up the ramp toward the horde of astonished spectators. The weapons of Mengo's bodyguard were raised against him, but Tarzan leaped suddenly from the incline. The lions continued onward, for now they spied the savages and plunged into the close-packed throng. With frantic screams the cannibals fled, but not before Mengo and several others had felt those fatal claws.

Tarzan rushed then to Sigreda and bore her from the deserted arena in the wake of the scurrying blacks. Swiftly through the dark jungle they traveled until next day, when they neared the Kingdom of Thalgaard, the Viking maiden's home. Mistaking silence for shyness, Sigreda believed Tarzan had saved her because he loved her, and her own love grew apace. Now she threw her arms around him and whispered softly. "Today, my beloved, we shall be wed."


Tightening Bonds ~ 35.12.08

As Tarzan was about to tell Sigreda he had rescued her for Thorik's sake, not because he loved her . . . a Thalgaard frontier patrol espied them and ran toward them, crying: "Hail Sigreda our queen!" Tarzan knew then that the king, her father, had died of wounds suffered in the battle against Erik the Red. Bravely Sigreda suppressed her sobs, for tears were ill becoming to the ruler of a hardy Viking people. Near the town, she seized a warrior's sword and touched it to the ape-man's shoulder, saying: "Henceforth, thou art Prince Tarzan!"

And to the people she said: "We shall be wed, and he shall rule by my side, sharing my wealth and sovereignty."

Then a greater cheer went up from the Viking horde: "Hail Prince Tarzan! Hail the bride and bridegroom!" And in the throng was Thorik, who rushed angrily toward Tarzan, shouting for all to hear: "You vowed to watch over her for my sake; and now you have stolen her love -- to gain power and riches."

Tarzan was perplexed. To say now that he had not sought her hand would bring shame to the admirable Sigreda. He glanced hastily about him planning to flee forever forever from this land of fiery hearts. But Thorik fixed him with a cold stare and said: "The blot on Sigreda's honor can be cleansed only by your blood!"


A Cruel Dilemma ~ 35.12.15

When the angry Thorik drew his sword against Tarzan, Queen Sigreda laid her hand upon his wrist and said: "For the love I bore you once, Prince Thorik, and for the love I bear Prince Tarzan now, neither shall shed the blood of the other!"

Then the queen commanded that preparations be made at once for her wedding to the jungle lord. And she gave Tarzan into the hands of a company of nobles, to be decked in princely raiment for the ceremony. Eager to escape the gaping curiosity of the multitude, Tarzan went with them, for he had made his plan to flee. Alone in his princely apartment, he climbed out of a window, to race forestward where he had left Bohgdu the ape and the girl Sybil.

As his feet touched the ground the guttural growl of a beast resounded through he courtyard, He turned to see his faithful Bohgdu in a tiny cell, surrounded by a strong guard of Viking warriors.

"What means this?" Tarzan demanded. "The people were afraid," the captain replied. "The best can be released only by royal order."

"Free me master," the great ape moaned plaintively. "We go back jungle, master."

But now a guard of honor was crossing the courtyard to escort Tarzan, the bridegroom, to the wedding! Tarzan could not permit the wedding; nor could he run away from poor Bohgdu, yet one of these it seemed, he must do!


A Woman Spurned ~ 35.12.22

When the guard approached to escort him to his wedding with Queen Sigreda Tarzan longed to flee, but his ears rang with the plaintive cries of the imprisoned ape Bohgdu: "Master, Master, set me free!"

As the honor guard halted before him, Tarzan demanded: "Take me at once to your queen!"

The radiant Sigreda was waiting before the altar of the Viking god Odin, surrounded by nobles and ladies and honored warriors of the realm. A murmur of disapproval arose from the spectators when they saw Tarzan unprepared for the momentous ceremony. "I must see you alone," Tarzan whispered to the shocked Sigreda, who conducted him then to an anteroom.

"I do not love you," Tarzan announced. "I saved you form the cannibals for the sake of Thorik, who does love you."

Sigreda gasped, then fell into a fit of anguished weeping, as might any woman of high or low degree when her love is spurned. "But you shall have power and riches," she pleaded. "You shall lead our brave warriors to new conquests, and rule a vast Viking empire."

Tarzan shook his head. I desire only to roam the jungle, which is my home. Release Bohgdu, and we shall go."

Now the vengeful, impetuous blood of her forebears stirred in Sigreda's veins, and flaming anger dried her tears. "You have made a fool of me!" cried the proud queen; "and now you shall pay a dreadful penalty!"


Challenge ~ 35.12.29

When the queen, aflame with angry humiliation, threatened Tarzan with dreadful punishment for spurning her. . .  the ape-man smiled ironically. "Is it thus you show the love you profess for me? Very well. I await your penalty."

Sigreda admired his stalwart bravery and love once more warmed her heart. How could she think of harming him? "No, no!" she sobbed. "I wish only your happiness. Go, Tarzan, back to your jungle; and may good fortune attend you ever." Hastily she wrote a command for Bohgdu's release. Then, with aching heart, she bade the jungle lord a fervent farewell.

Departing, Tarzan told her. "Thorik loves you truly. I hope you will restore him to your favor."

In the courtyard, he encountered Thorik and related what had happened. "Forgive me," the Viking begged, "for ever doubting your friendship."

Tarzan saw Sybil, too, chatting coquettishly with a warrior. "We go," the ape-man said. Sybil smiled. "I am happy here."

By the queen's order, Bohgdu was freed. "We go to my tribe," said the ape as they plunged into the jungle.

Many days they traveled westward until they came to Bohgdu's forest home, where Tarzan was unknown. Though long absent, Bohgdu was received with strange hostility. "This Tarzan," he said, "Tarzan man, but Tarzan friend."

"All men enemies! growled Kon-gah, giant king of the tribe. "Kon-gah kill Tarzan!"


Continued in Guns of Mystery ~ January 5, 1936
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