BURROUGHS, Edgar Rice
Tarzan of the Apes
Tarzan's knife on the present occasion but barely offset the gleaming fangs of Terkoz, and what little advantage the ape had over the man in brute strength was almost balanced by the latter's wonderful quickness and agility.
In the sum total of their points, however, the anthropoid had a shade the better of the battle, and had there been no other personal attribute to influence the final outcome, Tarzan of the Apes, the young Lord Greystoke, would have died as he had lived--an unknown savage beast in equatorial Africa.
But there was that which had raised him far above his fellows of the jungle--that little spark which spells the whole vast difference between man and brute--Reason. This it was which saved him from death beneath the iron muscles and tearing fangs of Terkoz.
Scarcely had they fought a dozen seconds ere they were rolling upon the ground, striking, tearing and rending--two great savage beasts battling to the death.
Terkoz had a dozen knife wounds on head and breast, and Tarzan was torn and bleeding--his scalp in one place half torn from his head so that a great piece hung down over one eye, obstructing his vision.
But so far the young Englishman had been able to keep those horrible fangs from his jugular and now, as they fought less fiercely for a moment, to regain their breath, Tarzan formed a cunning plan. He would work his way to the other's back and, clinging there with tooth and nail, drive his knife home until Terkoz was no more.
The maneuver was accomplished more easily than he had hoped, for the stupid beast, not knowing what Tarzan was attempting, made no particular effort to prevent the accomplishment of the design.
But when, finally, he realized that his antagonist was fastened to him where his teeth and fists alike were useless against him, Terkoz hurled himself about upon the ground so violently that Tarzan could but cling desperately to the leaping, turning, twisting body, and ere he had struck a blow the knife was hurled from his hand by a heavy impact against the earth, and Tarzan found himself defenseless.
During the rollings and squirmings of the next few minutes, Tarzan's hold was loosened a dozen times until finally an accidental circumstance of those swift and everchanging evolutions gave him a new hold with his right hand, which he realized was absolutely unassailable.
His arm was passed beneath Terkoz's arm from behind and his hand and forearm encircled the back of Terkoz's neck. It was the half-Nelson of modern wrestling which the untaught ape-man had stumbled upon, but superior reason showed him in an instant the value of the thing he had discovered. It was the difference to him between life and death.
And so he struggled to encompass a similar hold with the left hand, and in a few moments Terkoz's bull neck was creaking beneath a full-Nelson.
There was no more lunging about now. The two lay perfectly still upon the ground, Tarzan upon Terkoz's back. Slowly the bullet head of the ape was being forced lower and lower upon his chest.
Tarzan knew what the result would be. In an instant the neck would break. Then there came to Terkoz's rescue the same thing that had put him in these sore straits--a man's reasoning power.
"If I kill him," thought Tarzan, "what advantage will it be to me? Will it not rob the tribe of a great fighter? And if Terkoz be dead, he will know nothing of my supremacy, while alive he will ever be an example to the other apes."
"Ka-goda?" hissed Tarzan in Terkoz's ear, which, in ape tongue, means, freely translated: "Do you surrender?"
For a moment there was no reply, and Tarzan added a few more ounces of pressure, which elicited a horrified shriek of pain from the great beast.
"Ka-goda?" repeated Tarzan.
"Ka-goda!" cried Terkoz.
"Listen," said Tarzan, easing up a trifle, but not releasing his hold. "I am Tarzan, King of the Apes, mighty hunter, mighty fighter. In all the jungle there is none so great.
"You have said: `ka-goda' to me. All the tribe have heard. Quarrel no more with your king or your people, for next time I shall kill you. Do you understand?"
"Huh," assented Terkoz.
"And you are satisfied?"
"Huh," said the ape.
Tarzan let him up, and in a few minutes all were back at their vocations, as though naught had occurred to mar the tranquility of their primeval forest haunts.
But deep in the minds of the apes was rooted the conviction that Tarzan was a mighty fighter and a strange creature. Strange because he had had it in his power to kill his enemy, but had allowed him to live--unharmed.
That afternoon as the tribe came together, as was their wont before darkness settled on the jungle, Tarzan, his wounds washed in the waters of the stream, called the old males about him.
"You have seen again to-day that Tarzan of the Apes is the greatest among you," he said.
"Huh," they replied with one voice, "Tarzan is great."
"Tarzan," he continued, "is not an ape. He is not like his people. His ways are not their ways, and so Tarzan is going back to the lair of his own kind by the waters of the great lake which has no farther shore. You must choose another to rule you, for Tarzan will not return."
And thus young Lord Greystoke took the first step toward the goal which he had set--the finding of other white men like himself.