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Chapter 2 Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Deep into the jungle the ape-man led them, while overhead Manu the monkey chattered and scolded, reproaching Tarzan for bringing Numa the lion to disturb his peace; but neither Tarzan nor Jad-bal-ja paid any attention to the little monkey, and now the two boys noticed that Tarzan had grown suddenly silent. He answered their questions shortly or not at all and there was a serious expression upon his face. Often he watched Jad-bal-ja attentively and often he paused to sniff the air or to listen.

Presently he turned to the boys.

"Something is wrong in the jungle," he said. "Jad-bal-ja has sensed it. I do not yet know what it is. Have you noticed that he has become nervous? He has sensed something that even I cannot as yet sense. I think it lies up wind from us and that would be natural since the scent of Jad-bal-ja, the flesh eater, is keen indeed. Remain here with Jad-bal-ja while I go and investigate. It may be nothing. A storm is coming—that I have sensed for the past hour—and it may be only the coming storm that has affected the nerves of the Golden Lion. In the jungle, however, he who would live must know—he may not guess."

The two boys watched the giant ape-man swing away through the lower branches of the jungle trees and a moment later they were alone with the great cat that paced nervously to and fro, occasionally eyeing them through those cruel, round, yellow eyes that looked anything but friendly and reassuring to the twins.

"Gee," said Doc, "I wish Tarzan had taken him along with him."

"He left him here to guard us, you poor ninny," snapped Dick, his tone of voice plainly evidencing his own nervousness.

"All right, but I can't help but remember what he said about him."

"What did he say about him, except that he wouldn't hurt anyone unless Tarzan told him to?" demanded Dick.

"Yes, smarty, but he also said, 'When Tarzan is with him,' but that isn't what I remember most," retorted Doc.

"Well, then, what is it you remember so fine?"

"Tarzan said: 'After all a lion is always a lion!'"

"You would remember something like that!" growled Dick.

"I believe," said Doc, "that I'll just climb this tree for the fun of it."


"Fraidy-cat nothing! I'm not afraid. I just want to practice climbing. You can't ever tell when it will come in handy, especially in the jungle."

"Suppose he doesn't want us to climb?" Dick nodded in the direction of Jad-bal-ja.

"Why shouldn't he want us to climb?" demanded Doc.

"Well, if he's thinking of being a lion, and is hungry, I guess that would be a pretty good reason for him not to want us to climb."

"Who said I could think of things? I never would have thought of anything like that. It took you to do it."

"Oh, any time you weren't thinking of the same thing yourself," scoffed Dick.

"Well, I wasn't thinking it out loud, anyway," retorted Doc.

Dick said no more.

Jad-bal-ja was moving about restlessly. It was quite obvious that he was nervous. His great head erect, his ears up-pricked, he looked off into the jungle in the direction that Tarzan had gone; then he turned and strode a small circle, whining.

Then suddenly the lion's yellow-green eyes fell upon the two boys and he opened his mouth, exposing huge fangs, and voiced a low roar.

"W-what do you suppose he did that for?" whispered Doc.

"Maybe he's just trying to talk to us," suggested Dick.

"I wish I knew whether it was a threat or a promise," said Doc, beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable and painfully uncertain of the future.

"Maybe we had better climb the tree after all," whispered Dick. "Perhaps we could see Tarzan if we climbed high enough."

"You go first," said Doc.

"No," expostulated Dick. "You go first—it was your idea."

"But if he saw me escaping he might go for you," suggested Doc.

"I'll tell you what we'll do," said Dick. "Here are two trees just about the same size. You stroll sort of nonchalant-like over to one of them and I'll say 'climb,' and then we'll both climb as fast as we can. What do you say, shall we do it?"

"I say hop to it and the sooner the quicker," was Doc's answer.

"There! He's looking the other way now. Now's the time!"

The two boys, glancing fearfully over their shoulders, walked slowly toward their respective trees. If they were nervous, who may blame them? A forest lion at large in his grim jungle is a terrifying creature; so terrifying, in fact, that some persons, meeting one in the jungle, have been known to kneel in a paralysis of fear, waiting for the great beast to come and devour them, offering no defense and no resistance.

Jad-bal-ja, hearing the boy's footfalls, turned his fierce eyes upon them. Doc gasped. Dick tried to swallow, but failed. His throat was suddenly dry and parched. They were but a few steps from the trees they had selected and they did not stop. Their greatest difficulty was to restrain a desire to run.

Jad-bal-ja eyed them questioningly, then he started slowly toward them. Now the boys were at the foot of their respective trees.

"Climb!" gasped Dick, and in the instant both were scrambling up the boles of the trees as fast as they could go.

Jad-bal-ja halted in his tracks and watched them. Upon his wrinkled face was an expression that might have been pained surprise, and when the boys reached the safety of branches that swung high above the ground and looked down they saw the lion squatting upon his haunches staring steadily upward at them.

"There!" cried Dick. "I knew he wouldn't hurt us. He never tried to stop us at all. Golly, but you're sure a fraidy-cat. I'd hate to have Tarzan come back and find us up here."

"All right, if you're so brave, go on down. I don't care who finds me here. I'd rather be up here all in one piece than scattered around down there on the ground," was Doc's reply.

"Aw, shucks, he wouldn't hurt a flea," insisted Dick. "Look at him."

"Maybe he wouldn't, but I am not so unappetizing as a flea."

"You haven't the nerve of one anyway," Dick scoffed tauntingly.

"All right, instead of talking so much, why don't you go on down and play with him?"

"I guess I will."

Doc laughed raucously.

"All right, watch me!" cried Dick, making ostentatious preparations to descend.

Doc watched him intently. Dick slid from the branch upon which he had been sitting, grasped the bole of the tree with both arms and prepared to slide down to the ground.

"Aw, don't, Dick," cried Doc. "Please don't. Better not take any chances."

"All right," said Dick, "if you don't want me to, I won't," and he climbed back onto his branch again, to perch there safely.

"Gee, but it's getting dark," exclaimed Doc. "Do you suppose it's as late as that?"

"It must be the storm that Tarzan said was coming. Yes, look up there!"

Through a break in the dense foliage overhead, black, angry clouds could be seen billowing low above the forest. The gloom of the jungle deepened. The air became very quiet—breathless—as though the heart of Nature had momentarily ceased to beat. Presently the tree tops bent as though pressed down by a mighty palm. Then they whipped back. The wind shrieked, the trees waved wildly against the racing clouds, the lightning flashed—jagged, blinding lightning—and then the thunder crashed and roared and with it came the rain, not in drops, but in great sheets and gusts, borne on the frothing teeth of the hurricane.

The two boys were separated by a distance of scarce twenty feet, yet they could neither see nor hear one another, though each shouted at the top of his lungs in an effort to assure himself that the other was still safe and sound.

Branches, torn from great trees, hurtled through the air. Patriarchs of the jungle crashed to the earth, carrying lesser trees with them and adding to the horrid pandemonium that reigned supreme.

Dick and Doc clung with difficulty to their perilous perches, each sure that the other was dead and that he would soon join him. It seemed beyond the remotest possibility that any living thing could escape the fury of that titanic Saturnalia.

For an hour the storm raged, and then gradually it abated, but the rain still beat down, the wind still whined and moaned through the stricken jungle and the intense darkness persisted in only a slightly lessened degree.

Shivering with cold, the boys sat with bowed heads, the rain beating upon their naked backs, and waited. What they waited for they scarcely knew or dared to think.

Each boy thought that he was alone. Each was sure that Tarzan had been killed or injured in the terrific storm. Each wondered how he was to find his way alone back to the bungalow.

Dick raised his head and looked hopelessly about. Through the gloom and the rain he looked sorrowfully in the direction of the branch upon which Doc had been sitting when the storm broke. Dimly he discerned a figure hunched up miserably in an endeavor to avoid buffeting from the storm.

"Doc!" he cried.

The figure was electrified to life. It straightened and wheeled about.


"Gee!" exclaimed Dick. "I thought you were surely gone."

"And I thought you were gone. I yelled my head off at you for an hour."

"I never heard you. Didn't you hear me?" Dick said in amazement.

"No. I guess nobody could hear anything in that awful racket. Say, did you ever hear anything like it?" demanded Doc.

"I should say not, and I don't want to ever again, either."

"What had we better do?" asked Doc. "Do you suppose Tarzan could find us now?"

"He could if—"

"If what?"

"If he is alive."

"Gee, you don't suppose—?" Doc hesitated.

"I don't see how we ever lived through it," said Dick. "Why, the whole forest was tumbling down all around us."

"I'm cold," said Doc.

"I'm nearly frozen," said Dick.

The two boys shivered, their teeth chattering.

"We can't stay here, Dick. We'd die of exposure."

"What'll we do?"

"We've got to keep moving. We've got to keep our blood circulating."

"Do you suppose we could find the way back to the bungalow?" demanded Dick.

"I didn't pay much attention to directions when we came in here," admitted Doc. "I just depended on Tarzan; but we've got to do something. We can't sit here until we die of pneumonia. Let's beat it."

Simultaneously the two boys looked searchingly at the ground beneath them. Then they looked back questioningly at one another.

"Do you see him?" asked Dick.

"No," replied Doc. "Do you suppose he's gone? If not, where is he?"

"He might be hiding in the brush."

"Oh, well," said Doc, "you're not afraid so we might as well go on down."

"I think I'll practice swinging through the trees," said Dick.

Doc grinned. Cold and miserable as he was, he could not help it.

"All right," he agreed, "I'll practice with you. Which way do we go?"

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