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Chapter 1 Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion by Edgar Rice Burroughs

"Golly, but he's a whopper, isn't he?" exclaimed Dick.

"Gee, isn't he a beaut?" cried Doc. "I'll bet he could kill an elephant, almost."

"What's his name?" asked Dick.

"This is Jad-bal-ja," replied Tarzan of the Apes.

"The Golden Lion!" shouted Doc. "Not really—is he?"

"Yes, the Golden Lion," Tarzan assured them.

The three stood before a stout cage that stood in the rear of Tarzan's bungalow on his African estate the day following the arrival there of the Tarzan Twins after their rescue from the fierce Bagalla cannibals, who had captured Dick and Doc after they had wandered away from the derailed train that had been carrying them on a visit to Tarzan of the Apes, who was distantly related to Dick's father.

It had been this relationship, coupled with a remarkable resemblance between the two boys, that had won for them the name of Tarzan Twins from their fellows at the English school they attended. Perhaps their resemblance to one another was not so strange after all, if we consider the fact that the boys' mothers were twin sisters.

And not only that.

One of them had married an American and remained in her native country—this was Doc's mother—and the other had married an Englishman and sailed away across the Atlantic to live in England, where Dick was born on the very same day that Doc was born in America.

And now, after passing through such adventures as come to very few boys in this world, Dick and Doc were safe under the protection of the famous ape-man and while they were looking forward to many interesting experiences, they were sure that from now on they would be perfectly safe and that never again would they be in such distressing danger as that from which they had just escaped.

Nor were they sorry, for while they were normal boys and, like all normal boys, loved adventure, they had discovered that there was a limit beyond which adventure was no longer enjoyable, and that limit lay well upon the safe side of cannibal flesh pots.

It was well for Dick and Doc, as it is, perhaps, for all of us, that they could not look into the future.

"Gee, you're not going to let him out, are you?" demanded Doc, as Tarzan of the Apes slipped the bolt that secured the door of Jad-bal-ja's cage.

"Why, yes," replied the ape-man. "He is seldom confined when I am at home, other than at night. It would scarcely be necessary even then were it not for the fact that some of my people, filled with an instinctive fear of lions, would not dare venture from their huts at night were Jad-bal-ja abroad. And then, too," he added, "there is something that they will always remember, that I am prone to forget—that, after all, a lion is always a lion. To me Jad-bal-ja is friend and companion, so much so that sometimes I forget that he is not a man, or that I am not a lion."

"He looks fierce," said Doc.

"Won't he bite us?" asked Dick.

"When I am with him he will harm no one unless I tell him to," replied Tarzan, as he swung the cage door wide.

Dick and Doc stood as rigid as pewter soldiers as the great, tawny beast stepped majestically from his cage. The round yellow eyes, the terrifying eyes, surveyed them, and Tarzan spoke in a language that the boys did not understand as Jad-bal-ja advanced and sniffed their clothing and their hands.

"I am telling him that you are my friends," explained Tarzan of the Apes, "and that he must never harm you in the least."

"I hope he understands you," said Doc, and Tarzan smiled.

"We will take a walk," he said, "and presently the lion will become accustomed to you. Pay no attention to him. Do not touch him, unless he comes and rubs his head against you, which he will not. It is his way of showing affection for me and my family—a mark which he has not bestowed upon others."

"Don't worry," said Dick. "I'll not touch him if I can help it!"

"What does 'Jad-bal-ja' mean?" asked Doc, as the four passed through the gate and out onto the rolling veldt that stretched away to the hills on one side and to the forest and the jungle on the other.

"It is taken from the language of the tailed people of Pal-ul-don," explained Tarzan. "Jad means the; bal is their word for either gold or golden, and ja is lion. I found him, a tiny cub, beside his dead mother, after I had escaped from Pal-ul-don, and was returning home. Even then, he had an unusually golden hue and the language of Pal-ul-don, being fresh in my mind, I named him Jad-bal-ja, The Golden Lion."

As they walked the boys asked a thousand questions which Tarzan answered good-naturedly and to the best of his ability, which was excellent, inasmuch as the boys confined their questions rather closely to Tarzan's life in the jungle, which seemed to them quite the most interesting subject in the world.

"What do you boys want to do?" asked Tarzan. "We have the whole day before us."

"I should like to go into the jungle," said Dick, rather wistfully.

"Me too," said Doc.

"I should think that you boys had had enough of the jungle for a while," laughed the ape-man.

"There is a fascination about it that I cannot explain," replied Dick. "I am afraid of the jungle and yet I want to go back into it."

"I sure like to be in it with you," said Doc, looking adoringly at Tarzan. "How long would it take us to walk over there?"

"About two hours. Could you stand it and the return journey?"

"Could we? I'll say we could," cried Dick.

"How about you, Doc?" demanded Tarzan.


"All right," said the ape-man, "and if we don't want to come back tonight we don't have to. The jungle gives food and shelter to its people—and freedom. That is why I love it."

"Let's go," said the Tarzan Twins, speaking together almost in the same breath.

Tarzan nodded and led the way.

In high spirits they crossed the veldt, the great lion pacing at the side of its savage master, the two lads drinking in every word of jungle lore that fell from the lips of the ape-man.

Tarzan and the twins wore loin cloths and head bands and carried the simplest and most primitive of weapons—each had a bow and arrows, a spear and a knife. Tarzan, in addition, carried the grass rope that long habit had made almost a part of him.

As the cannibals had stolen the clothing that Dick and Doc had worn when they were captured and as their trunks were still at the rail head, there had really been nothing else for the boys to wear other than the primitive apparel in which they were garbed; but, if the truth were known, they were more than satisfied and would have scorned such symbols of effete civilization as pants and shirts.

Their life with the cannibals and their flight through the jungle had accustomed them to scant attire and had already somewhat hardened their youthful bodies against the rigors of the primeval world that beckoned to them from beyond the borders of the veldt.

With light hearts and eager faces they left the veldt behind and entered the gloomy corridors of the African jungle.

Safe in the companionship of the giant man and the great lion that accompanied them, they were troubled by no fears whatever.

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