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Chapter 11 Tarzan and the Castaways by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The men who watched the castaways of the Saigon were warriors. They wore waist girdles which passed between their legs; the ends, which hung down from the back, were elaborately embroidered with colored threads or feather mosaic work; over their shoulders was draped a square mantle, and they wore sandals made of hide. Their heads were adorned with feather headdresses, and one among them wore one of feather mosaic; his dress ornaments were of jade, and his belt and sandals were studded with jade and gold, as were his armlets and leglets; in his nose was a carved ornament, which passed through a hole in the septum; his lip and earplugs were likewise of jade. All the trappings of this man were more gorgeous than those of his companions, for Xatl Din was a noble.

The brown faces of all were tattooed, but the tattooing on Xatl Din was by far the most elaborate. They were armed with bows and arrows, and each carried two quivers; each also carried a spear, and a sling to hurl stones. In addition to these weapons, each of the warriors carried a long sword made of hard wood, into the sides of which were set at intervals blades of obsidian. For protection, they carried wooden shields covered with the skins of animals. They watched the strangers for some time and then melted away into the jungle behind them.

The ship's charts and instruments had been brought ashore, and that noon Captain Bolton had sought to establish their position; but when he had done so and had consulted the chart, he discovered that there was no land within hundreds of miles in any direction.

"There must have been something wrong with my calculations," he said to de Groote; so they checked and double-checked, but the result was always the same—they were somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific, hundreds of miles from land.

"It can't be possible," said Bolton, "that there is an undiscovered and uncharted island anywhere in the world."

"I should have said as much," agreed de Groote, "until now; your figures are absolutely correct, sir, and we are on an uncharted island."

"With about as much chance of ever being picked up," said Bolton, "as we would be if we were on the moon. If no ship has touched here since the days of da Gama, it is safe to assume that no ship will touch here during the rest of our lifetime."

"If no ship has touched here in four hundred years," said de Groote, "our chances are really excellent, for there has got to be a first time you know; and the law of chance, that this island will remain undiscovered, is just about run out."

"You mean the statutes of limitations will operate in our favor," laughed Bolton. "Well, I hope you're right."

Tarzan had worked with the others. Comfortable shelters had been erected for the Colonel and his wife and for the two girls.

Now Tarzan summoned the entire company. "I have called you together," he said, "to say that we will form two camps. I will not have Abdullah, Krause, Schmidt, Oubanovitch, or the Lascars in this camp. They have caused all the trouble. Because of them we are castaways on an uncharted island, where, according to Captain Bolton, we may have to spend the rest of our lives. If we permit them to remain in our camp, they will again make trouble; I know the kind of men they are." Then he turned to Krause. "You will take your party north, at least two long marches, and don't any of you come within ten miles of this camp. If you do, I kill. That is all. Go."

"We'll go, all right," said Oubanovitch, "but we'll take our share of the provisions, firearms, and ammunition."

"You will take your lives, and that is all," said Tarzan.

"You don't mean that you're going to send them away into this strange jungle without food or weapons," demanded the Colonel.

"That is exactly what I mean," said Tarzan, "and they are lucky that it is no worse."

"You can't do that to us," shouted Oubanovitch, "you can't keep a lot of dirty Capitalists in affluence and grind down the poor working man. I know your type, a fawning sycophant, hoping to curry favor with the rich and powerful."

"My word!" exclaimed Algy, "the blighter's making a speech."

"Just like Hyde Park," said Patricia.

"That's right," screamed Oubanovitch; "the smart bourgeoisie ridiculing the honest laboring man."

"Get out," growled Tarzan.

Abdullah pulled at Oubanovitch's sleeve. "You'd better come," he whispered; "I know that fellow; he is a devil; he would rather kill us than not."

The others started moving away towards the north, and they dragged Oubanovitch along with them; but he turned and shouted back, "I'll go, but I'll be back, when the poor slaves that are working for you now realize that they should be the masters, not you."

"Well!" exclaimed Penelope Leigh, "I'm glad that they are gone; that is something, at least," and she cast a meaningful glance at Tarzan.

Coconut palms and bananas grew in profusion in the jungle around the camp, and there were breadfruit and edible tubers and a few papaya trees, while the lagoon abounded in fish; so there was little likelihood of their starving, but Tarzan craved flesh.

After the camp was completed, he set to work to make the weapons of the chase which he liked best to use. His bow, arrows, and quiver, he had to make himself; but among the ships stores, he found a suitable knife and a rope and from a gaff, he fashioned a spear. This last was a tacit acknowledgment of the presence of the great carnivores he had turned loose upon the island. And then, one morning, Tarzan disappeared from camp before the others had awakened. He followed the course of the little stream that ran down from the verdure-clad hills, but, to avoid the tangle of underbrush, he swung through the trees.

I said that he had left camp before the others were awake; and this was what Tarzan thought, but presently he sensed that he was being followed and looking back, saw the two orangutans swinging through the trees in his wake.

"Tarzan hunts," he said in the language of the great apes, when they had come up to him; "make no noise."

"Tarzan hunts, mangani make no noise," one of them assured him. And so the three of them swung silently through the trees of the silent forest.

On the lower slopes of the mountains, Tarzan came upon the elephants eating on tender shoots. He spoke to them, and they rumbled a greeting in their throats. They were not afraid, and they did not move away. Tarzan thought he would learn how friendly they might be, and so he dropped down close beside a great African bull and spoke to him in the language that he had used all his life when conversing with his beloved Tantor.

It is not really a language, and I do not know what name to call it by, but through it Tarzan could convey his feelings more than his wishes to the great beasts that had been his play-fellows since his childhood.

"Tantor," he said, and laid his hand upon the great beast's shoulder. The huge bull swayed to and fro and reached back and touched the ape-man with his trunk, an inquisitive, questioning touch; and, as Tarzan spoke soothingly, the touch became a caress. And then the ape-man moved around in front of the great beast and laid his hand upon his trunk and said, "Nala!" The trunk moved smoothly over his body, and Tarzan repeated, "Nala! Tantor, Nala!" and then the trunk wound around him and lifted him in air.

"B'yat, Tantor," commanded Tarzan, "tand b'yat!" and the bull lowered Tarzan to his head.

"Vando!" said Tarzan, and scratched the great beast behind his ears.

The other elephants went on with their feeding, paying no further attention to the ape-man, but the orangutans sat in a nearby tree and scolded, for they were afraid of Tantor.

Now, Tarzan thought that he would try an experiment, and he swung from the bull's back into a nearby tree and went off a little distance into the jungle; then he called back, "Yud, Tantor, yud b'yat."

Through the forest and the undergrowth came an answering rumble from the throat of the bull. Tarzan listened; he heard the cracking of twigs and the crashing of underbrush, and presently the great bulk of Tantor loomed above him.

"Vando, Tantor," he said, and swung away through the trees, much to the relief of the orangutans, who had looked with disfavor upon this whole procedure.

The mountain rose steeply before them now, and there were often places where only Tarzan or his simian friends might go. At last the three came to a ledge that ran towards the south. It led away from the stream, however, from which Tarzan had departed at the foot of a waterfall which tumbled over a cliff, the precipitous and slippery sides of which might have been negotiated by a fly or a lizard but by little else.

They followed the ledge around a shoulder of the mountain and came out upon a large level mesa dense with forest. It looked to Tarzan like a good hunting ground, and here he again took to the trees.

Presently, Usha, the wind, brought to his nostrils a familiar scent—the scent of Horta, the boar. Here was meat, and instantly Tarzan was the wild beast stalking its prey.

He had not gone far, however, before two other scents impinged upon his sensitive nostrils—the scent spoor of Numa, the lion, and mingled with it, that of man.

These two scent spoors could be mingled for but one of two reasons: either the man was hunting the lion, or the lion was hunting the man. And as Tarzan detected the scent of only a single man, he assumed that the lion was the hunter, and so he swung off through the trees, in the direction from which the scent came.

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