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Volume 5117

Christmas with Tarzan® and Jane
By John "Bridge" Martin

ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.

The Vault of Tarzan®
  "Tarzan, Korak's flying Hazel and me to Kenya in his new plane. We're going to do some Christmas shopping. Do you think we could get some gold out of the vault?"

  It had been a hard day for Tarzan. After breakfast, the usual six fried eggs, 12 slices of bacon, mound of hash browns and four slices of whole wheat toast (Tarzan believed in eating healthy) that Jane had prepared for him, Tarzan had gone off to the jungle where he had killed a lion which was attacking a white hunter, brought some ivory poachers to justice, quelled a native uprising, rescued a fair maiden from a fate worse than death with some Arab slave traders, discovered a new lost city and stopped some illegal logging of the rain forest, Tarzan was tuckered. He was reclining in his Lazy Boy listening to a music CD of John Carter and reading the weekly newspaper, The Waziri War Whoop. He didn't feel like moving. But when Jane called, Tarzan graciously moved for her sake.

  He put down the newspaper, stood up, and slid his feet out of his slippers.

  He walked to the bookshelf by the fireplace and pulled out his limited edition copy of Minidoka, a book which no one else would even think of touching. When he did so, a wall panel to the side slid back noiselessly.

  Tarzan sniffed the air and, seemingly satisfied, stepped inside. Once all the way in, the door glided shut, but by that time, Tarzan had lighted a torch.

  Tarzan made his way down the passageway, quietly counting the framed J. Allen St. Johns on the wall, the ones that were supposedly lost. He kept them in the dark chamber so the light would not cause the paintings to fade and also so they would not be yellowed by the smoke he blew through his nostrils after deeply inhaling the satisfying fumes from a freshly fired Camel.

  At last he came to the crocodile pond and easily crossed by stepping on the backs of the beasts. He had seen James Bond do that in a movie. It was not as if Tarzan needed James Bond to teach him tricks; Tarzan was quite resourceful on his own. But it had never occurred to the ape-man to do that particular thing because he had never been in a position where he needed to cross a river that was that chock full of crocodiles. Once he had seen Bond do it, though, Tarzan had captured extra crocodiles for his subterranean pond just so he could keep in practice crossing it that way, in case occasion to do it ever came up in any of his jungle adventures.

  What Tarzan really liked was the trip back. Since Tarzan seldom needed to visit his vault, the crocodiles would forget about him in between trips and would be surprised when he suddenly danced on their backs. But when he was going to be coming back down to the pool just a short time later, the crocs were usually ready, anticipating his return, and it was more of a challenge to get across in that situation. Tarzan loved a good challenge and so far he had scars from only a couple of bite marks in all the years he had done it.

  Tarzan's next obstacle was the grotesque, hideous disgusting thing that haunted the hall between him and the door to the actual vault. Tarzan smelled the fetid breath long before he saw the actual pug-ugly and frightful freak which constituted the last barrier to the gold ingots. Using the torch, Tarzan poked it toward the misshapen mutant repeatedly and flashed his hunting knife in a menacing manner. The troll-like trogdolyte slowly moved back into the recess it normally inhabited, growling and moaning in protest.

  Opening the vault, Tarzan looked with contentment upon the huge amount of gold that had been stored within. He selected two gold ingots and stuck them in the pockets of his leopard hide smoking jacket. Then, he smiled, and grabbed one more. It was Christmas after all. Why not give Jane a little extra?

Tarzan® and the Twelve
  "and a patridge in a pear tree...."

  Jane's lilting voice had finally completed the last, agonizing verse of the repetitious Christmas song. As Jane waltzed into the living room at Greystoke Manor, Tarzan made a conscious effort to unclench his teeth. He tried to effect a somewhat jocular tone as he said:

  "Jane, if I hear you singing The Twelve Days of Christmas one more time I'll go crazy."

  "But Tarzan, it's such a delightful song," Jane replied.

   "It's a stupid song," said Tarzan. "What would anyone even do with a partridge in a pear tree, let alone 10 lords a leaping. I see enough of that when the adjournment gavel comes down at Parliament. Now, five golden rings, that has some promise. They could be melted down into ingots and stored in our vaults."

  "Really, Tarzan," said Jane. "You need to show some Christmas spirit. What about six geese a laying? You do enjoy several big fried eggs at breakfast, along with a rasher of raw Horta bacon."

  "Breakfast?" said Tarzan. "That's why God made chickens.  Goose eggs have never done anything for me except leave me with a spell of amnesia. And who needs twelve drummers slapping their snares when we've got the Waziri living next door with that incessant thumping on their bongos every night!"

  "Well," said Jane, "if you don't like the song why don't you try writing some new lyrics for me to sing?"

  "Now that's an idea," said Tarzan. He sat down at the piano and began plinking away at the familiar melody, stopping every few bars to write lines on a piece of paper.  Just as Tarzan had a knack for learning new languages, he had also developed a flair for learning musical instruments. He taught himself the piano after first learning the guitar, taking a few lessons from Korak, who had been taught to play by his barracks buddies in the Army. Once Tarzan had gotten the hang of the instrument, he had quit the lessons and gone ahead and become fully proficient on his own, just like many of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fans.

  At last he finished and spun around on the piano stool, smiling at Jane. "Okay, listen to this," he said. Jane sat down with a look of eagerness on her face.

  Tarzan began singing: "On the first day of Christmas, my dear Jane gave to me (Tarzan looked lovingly at Jane and she tilted her head and smiled back.) "...a slain bara in a tall tree."

  "Oh Tarzan," Jane frowned. "Be serious!"

  "All right, all right," said Tarzan. "Here's the real song. On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a snobbish butler with a goatee..."

  "Tarzan! That's enough!" Jane said. "Anyway, we already have a maid."

  "Okay. Okay. All kidding aside. Here's the song."

  Jane folded her arms. "It better be," she warned.

  Tarzan grinned and sang, "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a monkey and a calliope."

  "Oh, why did I even suggest this," said Jane. "This is so stupid."

  "Thanks for agreeing with me, my dear," said Tarzan, crumpling up the paper with the notes he had made. "I told you it was a stupid song."

Tarzan® the Pre-Emptive
  Jane Clayton was busy hanging the stockings by the chimney with care. There was hers, Flora's, Korak's, Meriem's...and then she reached the bottom of the box. But there was no stocking for Tarzan.

  "Tarzan," she said, "you're going to miss out again this year. Why won't you wear stockings?"

  "You know I've never liked stockings," Tarzan said. "My feet need to breathe; my feet need to be able to feel; my feet need to be free. I can't see the point of enslaving my feet inside a confining piece of cloth that will make them sweat, stink and ultimately, reshape my foot into a useless appendage."

  "But Tarzan," said Jane, "this means Santa won't be putting anything in your stocking when he comes on Christmas Eve!"

  "Santa Shmanta," said Tarzan. "I already found your hidden sack of candy, ate some, and buried the rest in the backyard for later."

One Night in the Jungle

  Jane had arranged some chestnuts, roasting on an open fire.

  "That's a nice blaze," said Tarzan. "The fire is so delightful. You would even say it glows."

  Jane herself glowed at the compliment, then looked toward the open window and asked Tarzan: "Do you hear what I hear?"

  Tarzan had a keen sense of hearing but he kidded Jane: "Hear what?" he said.

  "Oh surely Tarzan you can hear the sleighbells ring, are you listening?"

  "Yes, I hear that," said the apeman. "It sounds like a song, a song high above the trees. Do you want me to investigate?"

  "Please," said Jane.

  "You can count on me," replied Tarzan.

  Brightly shone the moon that night. It shone through a light rain, but heedless of the wind and weather, the ape-man placed his ear to the ground. There was a distinct "thumpety thump thump" sound which Tarzan identified as a small herd of Bara the deer and some other large object.

  Then, from up on the housetop, Tarzan heard a whistle, the snapping of tanned leather and the sound of jingle bells as something soared over his head.

  However, misfortune seemed his lot because, at that moment, the ape-man was peppered from above with a deluge of spilled candy canes which, in the misty rain, had become moist and were sticking to his body, naked but for a loin cloth. "Ugh," he snarled, ripping the offending sugar-laden cylinders from his skin, "these have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile."

  As he stomped the last of the confectionaries into the ground so they were indistinguishable from the jungle dust, Jane hurried from the bungalow. "We've had a visitor. Come look under the tree." She saw the ape-man's face and stopped short: "Is something the matter?"

  "Not any more Jane," said Tarzan, swallowing a stray chunk of candy which had become lodged in his gums. "From now on, our troubles will be out of sight."

The Christmas Gift
  Having not grown up with the thrill of visits from St. Nicholas, Tarzan was rather indifferent about Christmas per se, but he did, over the years, gain a fondness for the holiday as a time of seeing friends and relatives and enjoying the convivial gatherings and fine food. He also entered into the spirit of gift giving and receiving.

  This year, there was a special package for him from Jane, and he had no doubt about what it contained. It was in a box about eight feet long and 4" by 4" in height and width. Of course, it could have been something like a fishing pole but Tarzan was convinced it was something which he could use to catch, not only fish, but other game as well.

  When Christmas Eve came (the Greystokes always opened their presents the night before), Tarzan at last was handed the rather heavy package and he attempted to feign surprise when he opened it and found it was exactly what he suspected -- a new spear. But he was surprised at the craftsmanship. It was one of the heavy war spears handmade by Muviro, with an extra long and extra sharp blade. It had perfect balance and an intricate design of hunting scenes along its length. On the end it was labeled "Special Edition, 1 of 1," and was signed by Muviro.

  "Thank you, Jane," Tarzan said, giving her a hug and a kiss as Muviro beamed proudly. "I can't wait to test it out," said the apeman. And, so saying, he whirled and flung the spear across the room toward Korak. It stuck fast in the wooden back of the chair, about one-half inch from Korak's left ear, the end making a humming sound as it vibrated from the force of his throw.

  "Good one, Father," laughed Korak. "But is that all the closer you can come?"

  With that, the son of Tarzan yanked the spear from its position, spun it around, and sent it whining across the room toward Tarzan, to brush the hair on the back of the apeman's head as it zoomed past and lodged itself in the wall.

  "Not bad, son," grinned Tarzan, "but wait'll you see this..." Tarzan turned to reach for the spear but Jane, sitting closer to the wall, beat him to it. She wrenched the spear from the wall and grinned broadly, looking from Tarzan to Korak.

  "My turn," she said. "After all, I've been called Diana of the Jungle. Let's see what I can do with this thing."

  She cocked her arm to throw the spear, then stopped short. The seats of both Tarzan and Korak were empty!

  Outside, Korak tore the ribbon off a fresh pack of Pall Malls and offered one to Tarzan. "Thanks son," said the apeman. "There's nothing quite like a good smoke to settle our nerves."

The Treasure of Opar
 Christmas had been wonderful, and New Years was approaching. In between the two holidays, the ape-man had been active with the business of running the jungle. 

  Now, he readjusted the pearl onion in the glass and took another sip of his martini, then shifted to a slightly more comfortable position in his hammock. In the distance, he could hear the faint chant of the Waziri as they marched into earshot, returning from the mission on which he had sent them.

  Long ago, he had trained the loyal tribesmen in the ins and outs of Opar, so that they were able to safely access the lost city without him and retrieve his regular supply of gold, leaving him free to pursue more pressing matters. He glanced over at Jane as she came with a tray of fresh fruit and she gave him an impish smile.

  As the Waziri chant became clearer, Tarzan frowned. It was the Waziri all right. He recognized their voices. But their chant was oddly different. Jane, too, had wrinkled up her pretty face as she looked in the direction of the sound. Then, recognition dawned.

  "Tarzan," she said. "They're singing Christmas carols: Silent Night, Here Comes Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman. What can it mean?"

  Tarzan sat up and swung his feet to the floor. He could actually care less about what songs they were singing, as long as they had the gold. They marched into view and the apeman breathed easier as he saw the bright glint from each native's shoulders.

  "O Tarzan," shouted Muviro. "We come with riches for you. Opar was all out of gold, but we found their treasure trove of silver and, for some crazy reason, it made us all want to sing."

  Now Murviro and the other Waziri were standing within a few feet of the apeman.

  "Ah, my Waziri," he said. "that's not silver...that's tinsel! You’ve found the secret vault where the Oparians store their Christmas decorations."


Tarzan of the Apes heard the low growl and, because it was accompanied by a ticklish vibration in his abdominal cavity, knew it was the rumble of his stomach and not that of one of the many jungle denizens.

It was time to eat and, as if commanded by some beneficent deity, the scent of Bara the Deer was almost immediately wafted to his finely tuned nostrils.

But was it Bara after all? The scent was familiar yet, at the same time, somewhat different. It seemed to include the smell of tanned leather, metal, and perhaps even the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, like those Jane had made for the Waziri Tribe kids the other day.

His nostrils also told him there were several of them, so his chances of success in bringing one down were increased.

He at last sighted his quarry and, swift as Ara the Lightning, loosed a bolt from his bow, sending it unerringly toward its target.

But before the arrow could strike, Bara and all of the other deer magically leaped into the air, towing a huge contraption.

"Curses," muttered Tarzan, in mild jungle Billingsgate, "they were just a little too lively and quick."

By John "Bridge" Martin

ERBzine 5117
Xmas with Tarzan® & Jane
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Tarzan® & Santa Claus
ERBzine 5119
Tarzan® Poems and Songs
ERBzine 5120
Tarzan's Christmas Carol


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