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TARZAN OF THE APES and the Hidden Treasure

By EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS


TARZAN of the Apes swung lithely along through the tree branches, on his way down to the ocean shore for a dip in the surf. As he drew near the placid waters of the land-locked harbor, he saw that a great ship floated there, and that a small boat was making for die beach, heavily loaded with passengers, bundles, and boxes.

For a moment Tarzan stared in wonder at the strange scene; then, seeing one of the seamen point down the shore, a sudden realization of their purpose struck him.

They were heading for his cabin!

On a protected stretch of beach stood the little cabin in which Tarzan often spent quiet days away from the turmoil and constant struggle of jungle life. Now he swung down through the intertwined branches, heading straight for his refuge.

Once inside, Tarzan quickly gathered up his most precious possessions and carried them out onto the beach. Snatching up a thin strip of bark and a crude pencil, he printed lines of firm characters on the bark, and stuck the notice to the door of He Put a Notice on the Cabin Door the cabin with a sharp wood splinter. Then he pulled himself up into the trees.

The small boat was now scraping on the shore. Tarzan watched from the shelter of the thick jungle foliage as the rough-looking seamen handed out two elderly men and a handsome younger one. This little party advanced toward Tarzan's cabin, followed by the seamen carrying the boxes and bundles.

Tarzan was mystified by the whole procedure. He had no way of knowing that the two elderly business men had chartered the ship for a treasure hunt on which they were accompanied by the young son of one. He could not know that they had indeed found the treasure, and that on the homeward journey the greedy crew had mutinied and was marooning them here on a deserted shore to take the treasure for themselves.

Tarzan only knew that the party was now advancing toward his cabin. As they reached it they viewed with surprise the newly made sign. One of the scholars stepped forward to read it aloud while the rest, including the sailors who could not read, clustered eagerly around.

"This is the house of Tarzan the killer of beasts and many black men," he read wonderingly, while Tarzan, high in the trees above, pounded his chest with pride. "Do not harm the things which are Tarzan's. Tarzan watches. Tarzan of the Apes."

Mutters of superstitious fear spread among the sailors, and without delay they started back for the captured ship, leaving behind them a courageous but desolate group of castaways.

The thought uppermost in the minds of all was, "Who is Tarzan of the Apes?"

Tarzan was indeed watching them; he saw the two elderly men start off for a brief look around in the nearby jungle, leaving Jeffrey, the younger man, to guard the tiny cabin. Jeffrey stood watch on the lonely beach until the jungle night fell.

Still the two others had not returned, so Jeffrey decided that it was up to him to go out after them. Alone and armed only with a revolver, he turned and walked into the depths of the jungle.

In the branches above him Tarzan followed, for he liked the young man. It was Tarzan who caught the yellow glint of a sleek hide moving toward the youth.

The shrill cry of the challenging ape was Jeffrey's first warning of danger. His blood chilled at the eerie sound, and he spun around, then froze with terror at the sight.

In the dusk close behind him shimmered die tawny hide of a huge lion. As the helpless Jeffrey watched the lion's cautious approach, he heard a pinging sound in the branches above, and the beast screamed with pain as an arrow caught at his vital organs.

Then, to Jeffrey's amazement, a bronzed young giant dropped from the tree above, landing squarely onto the lion's back. With one arm Tarzan grasped the beast's straining throat; his other hand held a knife which he plunged again and again into the side of the huge, struggling beast. At last the huge body rolled lifeless on the jungle sod.

Then without a word Tarzan started off through the trackless jungle maze, motioning Jeffrey to follow him.

As Tarzan bounded with effortless ease through the inky tangle, Jeffrey began to be left helplessly behind. Fearing to be abandoned in the dread jungle night, Jeffrey called to Tarzan. The powerful young giant dropped down beside the young stranger. Stooping over, he showed Jeffrey how to grasp him firmly about the neck. Then, with his cumbersome burden on his back, Tarzan took to the trees again.

From lofty branch to swaying vine Tarzan swung in dizzying arcs until, after a few moments of breath-taking thrills, Jeffrey found himself once more beside the cabin. With light-footed skill Tarzan swung himself and his burden down to the ground and waited while the dazed Jeffrey dropped from his back.

Now Tarzan began to look around the cabin for the two older men, and by signs Jeffrey explained that they, too, were apparently lost in the jungle.

Cautioning Jeffrey, with eloquent gestures, to stay close to the cabin, Tarzan disappeared once more into the thicket.

It was nearly dawn when he returned with the two exhausted explorers. Jeffrey rushed out to greet them, and when they turned to thank Tarzan for rescuing them, he had vanished.

While the castaways, reunited by the efforts of the marvelous Tarzan, related their harrowing experiences, the ape-man was swinging his way along the junglelined shore to the northward.

At last he saw, far out at sea, the treasure ship sailing away with mutinous sailors at the helm. Behind it raced a column of smoke above a low black shape on the water. Tarzan was once more amazed.

The sailors making away with the treasure were no less startled than Tarzan at the appearance of the government cruiser behind them. The sailing ship came about and headed for a small cove. After much noisy scurrying about on the desk a small boat was launched, carrying several seamen and a huge chest. The men pulled rapidly for the narrow stretch of beach.

Tarzan was there before them, concealed in the trees above their heads. He watched as the men beached the boat, and then staggered across the sand under the weight of the great chest. Now a quarrel arose and mounted in fury until one evilfaced sailor swung his pick and buried its point deep in the skull of another.

After that the remaining sailors fell fearfully to work. They dug a deep hole, pushed the chest into it, threw the corpse in on top of the chest, and shoveled back the dirt to conceal their work.

Tarzan waited until the small boat had once more returned to the waiting ship. When the sailors had clambered aboard and pulled the boat after them, Tarzan slipped to the ground and began awkwardly to dig with a spade he found.

Meanwhile the ship lost no time in getting away under full sail, for the smoke on the horizon had increased.

Tarzan soon uncovered the chest and dragged it from the hole, replacing the corpse and earth. Hoisting the chest—under which four sailors had sweated—onto his back, Tarzan started back through the dense jungle with the stolen treasure.

He felt instinctively that the chest must contain something valuable, after witnessing the fierce and bloody fight over it. It did not open when he hammered at it with a spade, so he decided to take it to his new friends.

On his arrival at the cabin with the chest, the two older men rushed out to greet him. When they recognized the chest he was carrying, they were completely dumbfounded. They watched eagerly while Tarzan explained by signs and gestures how he had come into possession of the chest, but Tarzan soon realized that, great as was their delight at having the chest back, the two men had something more important on their minds.

When he looked about the tiny clearing, he realized that Jeffrey was missing!

His suspicion was correct. Jeffrey had started out along the beach alone. Suddenly the two men watching heard a horrible challenging cry. When they rushed to investigate, Jeffrey was not there.

As soon as he understood the situation, Tarzan sped off down the beach. With uncanny accuracy he made for the spot where Jeffrey had struggled with his unknown assailant. For a moment Tarzan studied the jumble of footprints. Spurred on by the knowledge that Jeffrey had been captured by one of the wild black men of the jungle, he waved a hasty farewell to the anxious watchers and swung off into the thicket.

Meanwhile Jeffrey was undergoing a hideous experience. His stroll along the beach had been interrupted by the appearance of a black warrior from the waving underbrush. The fellow jumped out with a horrible war-cry, and thrust the point of a crude but deadly-looking spear against Jeffrey's ribs. Thus cut off from escape, the white man was helpless, and made his way quietly along the path the black pointed out.

The march through the jungle was like a nightmare to Jeffrey, made the more horrible because he had heard of the terrifying welcome a white prisoner receives at an African cannibal village. His dazed mind was swarming with sinister tales of cannibal death dances, with the prisoner bound to a stake in the middle of the squirming circle.

It would not be a clean, quick death—that was not the way of the cannibals. They liked to see the prisoner struggling against increasingly horrible tortures, finally wilting slowly into the dull relief of unconsciousness and death.

All these thoughts pressed upon the tired brain of Jeffrey as he marched along, torn and bruised by twigs and brush, constantly prodded by the cannibal's spear.

It was a relief to him when the black suddenly tugged at his coat and motioned him to halt. When he set about building a small, sheltered fire and pulled out of his quiver some chunks of meat, Jeffrey realized that they were to camp for the night before returning to die village.

It was apparent, though, that it would be almost suicidal for him to attempt escape here, a long day's journey in the depths of the jungle. His choice was apparently limited to one of two horrible deaths—a dismal gamble indeed.

While Jeffrey was brooding over his gloomy fate,Tarzan was speeding through the jungle on his trail. Without hesitation he followed the track straight toward the savage's home village. The thought that a man of his own race, one whom he thought of as a friend, might be facing the merciless tortures he had often seen indieted on blacks spurred him on. After hours of travel, when the sudden tropical night had blanketed the jungles in black, he caught the flickering of a small blaze from his treetop perch.

He was not too late! Creeping carefully out above the tiny campfire, Tarzan seized a length of pliant vine, coiled it into a lariat, and dropped it skillfully about the shoulders of the astonished black. Dropping lightly into the clearing, he bound the black into helplessness, then turned to the exhausted Jeffrey.

Jeffrey had wearily risen to his feet when he recognized his savior, and he now held out a grateful hand to Tarzan. Tarzan grinned and shrugged his shoulders.

Even Tarzan's magnificent physique felt the strain of the last hours, so he guided Jeffrey to a sheltered bower in the fork of a huge tree, and there they rested until morning.

Back at the cabin, Jeffrey's father and his friend kept a weary vigil that night, and by morning they had almost given up hope of the youth's return. They had almost given up hope for their own rescue, too, when one of them happened to glance out to sea. Far out on the waters but heading for the shore he saw the two boats Tarzan had seen before—the low black cruiser and the captured sailing vessel.

Awkwardly the two men gathered brush for a fire on the beach; when its first feathers of smoke were rising into the still air they tore up strips of cloth to wave as signals.

Soon they shouted for joy as they saw that a boat was being lowered from the cruiser. Manned with sailors and officers, it made smartly for the shore. When the boat was beached, a young officer stepped out and greeted the castaways. He told of boarding the sailing vessel and finding it in the hands of a few inefficient sailors. When they demanded an explanation, the mutineers finally admitted their treachery and agreed to guide the cruiser back to rescue the marooned men.

The castaways now described their adventures and told of the loss of the third member of their party. The commander of the cruiser was sympathetic but not hopeful about Jeffrey's return. He was frankly skeptical when they described Tarzan and his marvelous rescues. In any event, he said, the cruiser could not delay longer than nightfall.

Through the long tropical day the two men watched the dark shoreline of the jungle. No Jeffrey appeared. Gloomily they packed up their belongings and prepared to depart. The supplies they decided to leave in the forlorn hope that Jeffrey might return.

The boat was loaded, the two griefstricken passengers took one last look at the doomed shore, and at sunset they were on their way out to the ship.

But hark! Over the water floated the unforgettable shrillness of the ape call! Peering back through the gloom one of the seamen made out two human figures on the shore. At a sharp command the boat swung back toward shore.

Jeffrey insisted that Tarzan accompany them back to civilization, and the others seconded the invitation. But Tarzan solemnly shook his head. He pointed to them, and then to the boat riding the ocean swells. He pointed to himself, and to the beckoning jungle.

Jeffrey nodded in understanding. This was Tarzan's world, and he could no more leave it than Jeffrey could stay here.

Soon Tarzan stood on the deserted beach, watching the lights of the cruiser blink out against the horizon. When the last sign of life disappeared from the empty ocean, Tarzan turned away toward the jungle. As he vanished into its vastness there floated back over the waters the challenging cry of the ape-man.