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Volume 5635


By John "Bridge" Martin
With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and Edgar Rice Burroughs

ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
‘Twas the night before Feast Day, and all through the village,
We’d just gotten back from an overnight pillage.

Each captive we brought back was tied to a stake,
Ready for women to boil or bake.

And more poisoned arrows to shoot from our bows,
Dried by the fenceline in neat little rows

Next morning we’d dine on our victims, with zest,
But now it was time for some well-deserved rest.

So I entered my hut with my woman in tow,
And curled up by our fire’s dwindling glow

When what to my terrified ears did there come,
But a scream in the night though I knew not where from.

It sounded quite awful and chilled my old bones
It sounded like wailing and screeching and moans.

I sprang to my feet, afraid for my life,
Then ran for the door, tripping over my wife.

I fell to the ground, but was not badly hurt;
I jumped to my feet, as I spit out some dirt.

As I went from my hut and was looking around
I saw all the tribesmen had woke from the sound.

And then in a twinkling, from out of a tree,
A lasso dropped down and just barely missed me.

Instead it encircled the throat of old Joos.
He screamed as he clutched it and tried to get loose.

And then the rope tightened on him who'd been bound
And lifted him upward from off of the ground

Like leaves in a windstorm, he flew to the tree
And vanished so quickly our eyes couldn’t see.

And then it grew quiet – too quiet you know.
We looked at each other -- but what did we know?

And then there came hurtling from one of the limbs
The body of Joos, (What was left of him).

It hit with a smack, then bounced once or twice;
We said, “This ain’t good, and it sure isn’t nice."

“To arms!” cried Mbonga; We all got our spears,
“Now go out and get ‘im!” We went, ‘spite our fears.

We tore to the entrance, threw open the gate
To track down the killer, our bloodlust to sate.

We searched in the jungle, for hours on end
But just couldn’t find him to torture and rend.

So we, at the dawning, turned homeward our feet.
Our stomachs were growling; we needed to eat.

But what to our mystified eyes should appear
But stakes without victims, and no native beer.

The rascal had come back and helped them escape.
E’en though we’d tied them with wads of duct tape.

And then to add insult to all of our woes
He'd poured out our beer, took our arrows and bows.

But we heard from the jungle his departing taunt:
"Some day I’ll come back, your village to haunt.

"So if you don't want that, from evil desist!
"Or you'll be on Tarzan's enemies list."

John "Bridge" Martin
EDGARDEMAIN: Celebrating the literary legerdemain of Edgar Rice Burroughs

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