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
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 deliverers.
The upward journey was not without tragedy. A great ape,
with a poisoned arrow in his shoulder, toiled on, carrying a wounded safari
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 escarpment.
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
"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
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
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 the escarpment."
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
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.