Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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William Cecil Clayton
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS'
Jungle Tales of Tarzan
David "Nkima" Adams
Copyright © 1999
The Jungle Tales of Tarzan consists of 12 short stories, published in Blue Book Magazine (one each month) from 1916-1917 as "The New Stories of Tarzan". The action takes place during Tarzan’s youth. The short story form was not one that Burroughs employed very often, however, these are very fine examples and are often highly praised by his fans.
A. C. McClurg published the complete 12 tales in one volume as Jungle Tales of Tarzan in 1919.
Chapter 1 - Tarzan’s First Love
Teeka, a young female ape, is Tarzan's vision of loveliness. He envies her apish characteristics. Tarzan is annoyed when Taug caresses Teeka. Tarzan claims the she ape and fights Taug for Teeka, who is delighted. Sheeta, the leopard, stalks Teeka as the two fight over her. Tarzan notices the danger and ropes the great cat, preventing the kill, but he is chased up a tree. Teeka chooses to sit beside Tarzan.
Later, Tarzan hunts. While he is gone Teeka grooms Taug. Upon his return Tarzan sees that Teeka is lost and sadly enters the jungle. Tarzan watches Mbonga’s warriors build a cage. Taug is later trapped. Tarzan is pleased because now he can have Teeka for his own. Tarzan tells Teeka the Gomangani have Taug. When Teeka puts her arm around him, Tarzan realizes that they are different beings. He voices the cry of the bull ape, then goes to rescue Taug.
Tarzan finds the tired warriors asleep on the jungle trail. Tarzan strangles a guard and places his body in the cage as a joke. He frees Taug and tells him to go back to Teeka. “Tarzan is a man. He will go alone.”
Chapter 2 - The Capture of Tarzan
The natives dig a pit in the jungle trail. Tarzan does not guess their purpose. When the natives leave, he inspects the trap, but cannot solve the mystery. Tarzan returns to the ape tribe and meets Tantor the elephant along the way. He spends some time with Tantor, then goes on a hunt, and realizes the purpose of the pit. It is to capture his friend, Tantor!
Tarzan races to warn Tantor of the trap. Buto, the rhinocerous charges Tarzan, but the apeman escapes. Tarzan arrives as the warriors frighten Tantor toward the pit. Tarzan calls Tantor to stop, but he does not hear him. Tarzan drops directly in front of the charging elephant and displays the danger of the pit. Tantor turns aside to safety.
Tarzan stamps on the trap, the earth suddenly gives way. Falling into the pit, Tarzan is knocked unconscious, fortunately he does not land on any of the sharpened stakes. The natives bind Tarzan, and carry him back to the village. Later, tortured at spear point, the silent Tarzan appears a supernatural being immune to pain.
Tantor gives a shrill cry to Tarzan. Tarzan replies as the cannibals prepare their evening feast. Tarzan works his bonds all afternoon, and when they tie him to the stake he breaks loose.
Tarzan fights half a hundred natives, holding them off for a half an hour. One native with a spear eventually nears Tarzan. There is a thunderous crashing just beyond the palisade. Tantor bursts through the barrier and hurls the warriors right and left. The elepahnt then removes Tarzan from the village. The friendship between Tarzan and Tantor is again underlined.Chapter 3 - The Fight for the Balu
Teeka gives birth to a balu, (baby). Tarzan is more interested the infant than Taug, the father. Teeka no longer plays childish games and Tarzan feels abandoned. When Tarzan tries to touch Teeka’s balu, she bites him.
Taug, though defeated by Tarzan previously, comes to his mate and infant's defense. Tarzan ropes Taug and pulls him into a tree hanging head down thirty feet above the ground.
The bull apes begin to abuse poor Taug. Tarzan kills one then frees Taug. Teeka is so interested in the scene that she places her balu on the ground. Sheeta, the leopard, sees thehelpless balu. Tarzan sees the leopard and runs toward the balu. Teeka thinks Tarzan is after her baby, then spies the leopard. Tarzan and Sheeta stand on either side of the balu baring their fangs and snarling at each other.
Tarzan attacks the leopard, followed by Taug and the rest of the bull apes. Sheeta is destroyed. After the battle, Teeka lets Tarzan hold her balu. Both Teeka and Taug clean Tarzan’s wounds.
Chapter 4 - The God of Tarzan
Tarzan, self-taught, longs for knowledge. He is especially puzzled over the meaning of the word, ‘God.” Tarzan questions Mumga, about God. Mumga does not have an answer. Numgo, tells Tarzan the power that made the lightning and the rain and the thunder comes from Goro, the moon. Tarzan decides to investigate the moon.
Tarzan climbs the tallest tree and calls to the moon, asking if it is God. He uses the word Bulamutumumo. The moon does not answer. Tarzan searches for God at the village of Mbonga. The witch doctor performs strange ceremonies, he must be God. Tarzan drops from the trees in front of the witch doctor and asks, “Are you God?”
The witch doctor does not answer satisfactorily; Tarzan strangles the native into unconsciousness and takes the zebra tail. He turns to exit the village.
Mbonga stalks Tarzan with a spear. Tarzan smells Mbonga and dodges the cast spear. He struggles with Mbonga, but refrains from killing the frightened old man. Tarzan returns home to meditate upon the causes and nature of creation.
Histah, a gigantic python, has taken Teeka’s baby. Tarzan slays Histah and saves both Teeka and Gazan.
Tarzan ponders these recent events and decides God must be the one who sent Teeka to defend her baby, and who stayed his hand from killing the old man. Tarzan’s God must be the source of good and beauty, but having found God he wonders, “Who made Histah, the snake?”
Chapter 5 - Tarzan and the Black Boy
Tarzan feels alone as he travels the jungle. At the village of Mbonga, he sees a woman with her child. Tarzan thinks the 10 year-old boy might make a fine balu (child) for himself.
Tarzan steals the black boy and escapes into the trees. The native boy is frightened by Tarzan's ape-speak. Thinking to educate the child, Tarzan takes Tibo to the tribe of Kerchak. The Mangani want to kill Tibo. Taking the boy elsewhere, Tarzan discovers what a burden a child might be. Tibo is unhappy and will not eat, though he comes to trust Tarzan after a fashion.
Momaya, Tibo’s mother, seeks help from the witch-doctor and Bukawai, the unclean. Elsewhere, Tarzan observes Sabor's grief over a dead cub. Tarzan realizes Momaya must be suffering. Momaya bargains with Bukawai for a spell, but his price is too high.
Alone, while Tarzan hunts, Tibo sees his mother coming through the jungle. They embrace. Suddenly threatened by a lion, Tarzan saves mother and child. Tibo pleads with Tarzan in ape-language to let them go. In return he promises him food that Tarzan may never hunger. Tarzan relents and follows them to the village to protect them from harm.
Tarzan is left with regrets that he is alone in the world. Bukawai, on the other hand, feels cheated out of his price.
Chapter 6 - The Witch-Doctor Seeks Vengeance
Lord Greystoke (William Cecil Clayton) shooting pheasants at Chamston-Hedding is contrasted with Tarzan hunting in Africa.
Tarzan is annoyed by a great wailing at the native village and thinks it might be fun to drop in to kill the howler. Tarzan recognizes Momaya, Tibo's mother, who throws herself at Tarzan’s feet. Tarzan does not understand her words. Impatient, he leaves. Later, on a game trail, Tarzan recognizes Tibo’s footprints and those of a man accompanied by two hyenas. Realizing Momaya believes Tarzan has taken Tibo, he decides to investigate.
Tibo is Bukawai’s prisoner in a cave guarded by two hyenas. Bukawai returns to the village to extort his price. Meanwhile, the hyenas tear at the lattice to devour Tibo.
Bukawai demands payment from Momaya. She refuses, saying Bukawai took the child. Bukawai says it was Tarzan. Momaya cannot afford Bukawai's price. Rabba Kega, the witch doctor, challenges Bukawai to a contest. Bukawai's trance says Tibo is in great danger. Rabba Kega says Tibo is dead in the river. Bukawai is tricked out of his trance. Mbonga, does not know who to believe. Meanwhile, Tarzan rescues Tibo, returning the boy to Momaya as the natives ponder the two witch doctors. Both are embarrassed by Tibo's return. Tarzan vanishes and Bukawai runs from the village. Momaya chases Rabba Kega around the village to the amusement of everyone.
A final comparison between Tarzan and Lord Greystoke “who had eaten too much lobster and drank too much wine at dinner that night.”
Chapter 7 - The End of Bukawai
Tarzan taunted his foster father, Tublat, with his rope. A frolicsome playmate once ran off with the rope end, revealing the possibilities of swinging in wide arcs. One day Tarzan swung so long the rope frayed and he fell to the ground. Tublat was glad, for Tarzan was knocked unconscious. Kala ran to Tarzan, who soon revived.
Another day Tarzan is struck unconcious by lightning. Bukawai, the evil witch doctor, finds Tarzan. Bukawai binds the ape-man and carries him to his cave.
Tarzan recovers and works free of the rope, then throws one of the snarling hyenas into Bukawai’s face. Tarzan kicks the hyenas away. Binding Bukawai to the same tree, he leaves the witch doctor to the hyenas.
Chapter 8 - The Lion
Numa, the lion, after failing a zebra kill, attacks the tribe of Kerchak. The apes scatter. The lion carries off Mamka, a mother ape.
Tarzan rallies the apes. Tarzan recovers the body.
Tarzan tells the apes they should post sentries against future attacks. He then goes to Mbonga’s village where Rabba Kega, the witch-doctor is dressed in the hide and head of Gorgo, the buffalo. Seeing a lion skin with head stretched against a hut gives Tarzan an idea for fun. Tarzan steals the lion skin and returns to the apes in the morning, planning to give them a scare. He brings Manu, the monkey, with him to watch the fun.
The ape-man enters the ape’s camp disguised as a lion. Gunto is on guard and spies him. The apes think Tarzan is a real lion and pelt him with rocks and tree limbs. Tarzan tries to flee, but Taug strikes him unconscious with a large stone. The apes batter Tarzan, but before they kill him Manu attacks the apes, telling them not to strike again.
Manu reveals the trick. Tarzan awakens knowing his teaching of placing guards has been useful. His face is red because the joker did not have the last laugh.
Chapter 9 - The Nightmare
Tarzan is hungry and has been unable to make a kill all day. The blacks in the village of Mbonga are feasting on high elephant meat. Tarzan waits until the blacks gorge themselves to stupor, then sneaks into the village for scraps. Tarzan strangles a late feaster then takes some of the meat. He shoves the dead man's body into the cooking pot.
Tarzan returns to the jungle and eats the tainted elephant meat. He does not like it, but he is very hungry. He wants to vomit, but he holds the impulse down.
Tarzan falls asleep and experiences his first nightmares. Dream after dream breaks his restless sleep. The illness barely past, he goes to the cabin by the sea.
Reading the picture book in the cabin he sees Bolgani the gorilla. Tarzan falls asleep and awakens to see a Bolgani standing in the doorway. He thinks this is yet another dream until the gorilla carries Tarzan away over his shoulder. When he tries to escape the gorilla sinks his great fangs into Tarzan's shoulder. Tarzan kills the gorilla with his knife.
Tarzan does not know what is real and what is not, but he knows he will never again eat the flesh of Tantor, the elephant.
Chapter 10 - The Battle for Teeka
A huge bull ape, Toog, has lost the kingship of his tribe. Toog comes upon Teeka and her balu alone in the jungle. He desires Teeka and thinks he can easily kill the balu. Teeka; she bares her fans and sends Gazan, her balu, into a tall tree. Toog pursues Gazan and shakes him out of the high branches. Gazan falls to the ground, apparently dead, and Toog carries Teeka off into the jungle. A hyena is soon interested in Gazan's body. Tarzan, at his parent’s cabin, plays with a bag of coins. Tarzan finds a box of cartridges and puts a handful of them into his pocket pouch. He returns to the tribe, searching for Teeka and Gazan.
Meanwhile, Taug had found the hyena stalking the apparently lifeless body of Gazan. He kills the hyena and feels sorrow over Gazan's loss. Tarzan arrives and finds Gazan is not dead. Tarzan follows the Toog's spoor. He takes Taug with him, leaving Gazan in care of Mumga.
Toog, returning to his tribe with Teeka, shows his new she. A monkey warns the apes that Tarzan and Toog are coming, so they hide in wait for them along the trail. Tarzan and Taug are warned of an ambush by Teeka.
Toog strikes Teeka down, the apes attack Tarzan and Taug. Tarzan kills one with his knife and hurries to Taug’s aid. Tarzan loses his knife in his impact with Toog and Teeka picks it up along with his pouch with the cartridges. Toog’s whole tribe arrives. Teeka throws the cartridges at the apes and they strike a rock. The explosion of the shells frightens off their adversaries and the entire tribe. The battle is quickly over.
Chapter 11 - A Jungle Joke
Tarzan comes upon a group of Mbonga’s warriors. They are building a trap for Numa. Tarzan knows from past experiences that the blacks will torture the captured lion. Tarzan has freed lions from traps before, and he decides he will do the same today.
He removes the bait from the trap. Next, Tarzan swings through the trees, following the blacks, notices his old enemy, Rabba Kega, the witch doctor. Rabba Kega strikes at a poisonous insect and is bitten. Separated from his fellows, Tarzan binds Rabba Kega and puts him in the lion trap. In the morning the warriors discover Rabba Kega’s mutilated corpse and a great, black-maned lion in the trap.
Tarzan, the practical joker again, had lost some of his self-pride following the painful mauling he received by the apes when he was clothed in the skin of Numa. The warriors give credit to “the white devil-god” for this strange turn of events, and no one is sorry for the death of Rabba Kega.
The blacks take the caged lion to the village. Tarzan returns to the apes and retrieves his old lion skin and waits until the dance before the torture ceremony is over. He steps out dressed in the lion skin and there is instant panic among the blacks. Tarzan roars, and they all run into their huts. He drops the lion skin and reveals himself to the natives and walks away. The blacks finally get up enough courage to follow him. Tarzan has released the real lion from the cage, but the natives think it is Tarzan in the lion skin. The lion kills and mauls dozens of the men.The natives shudder, and Tarzan smiles. The natives fear Tarzan even more for this transformation.
Chapter 12 - Tarzan Rescues the Moon
Tarzan comes upon a party of black warriors around a fire. There is a thorn boma around the camp. Man-eating lions circle the boma. The natives throw firebrands. A lion kills a native. Tarzan, bored with the entertainment, returns to the apes.
Tarzan wonders why things happen. He wants to know the secrets of life and death. He questions the apes without success. Tarzan speaks to Taug, saying the stars and moon are manifestations of the eyes of the jungle beasts. He sees a meteor fall and imagines it is a firebrand thrown by the moon to frighten away the stars. Taug thinks Tarzan is strange, but he recalls his friendship to him.
In the morning, Taug tells Gunto about Tarzan’s strange thoughts. Gunto says, “We should kill him.” Taug is appalled at the suggestion, but others join the plotters.
Elsewhere, Tarzan lolls upon the broad head of Tantor, the elephant. He tells Tantor his philosophy of a good life.
A black warrior unwittingly enters the territory of the apes. Tarzan recognizes him as a man who faced Numa with a firebrand. Tarzan admires courage, so he tells the apes to let him go. The apes are very angry. They want to kill the warrior and Tarzan. Taug joins Tarzan, and the apes circle, growling to work themselves into a frenzy. The black man, Bulabantu, guesses that Tarzan is defending him.
Tarzan realizes that he is a MAN.
Tantor comes to the rescue. The apes scatter into the trees. Tarzan tells the black man to “Go!” Tarzan and Tantor go to his cabin, telling the apes they are all foolish. Before nightfall Taug kills Gunto because of the attack upon Tarzan.
Tarzan remains at his cabin for over a month. Taug and Teeka miss him. Later, Taug views an eclipse of the moon and calls on Tarzan to save Goro (the moon). Tarzan climbs a high tree and shoots arrows into the sky. The eclipse runs its course, and the moon begins to appear.
Tarzan returns to the tribe of Kerchak having taken a long stride toward kingship, for now the apes look up to him as a superior being. Only Tarzan himself is skeptical about the rescue of Goro.
David Adams' original summary of Jungle Tales of Tarzan is more detailed than what is currently presented. I have edited this excellent summary to conform with the basic parameters of the ERBList Summaries limit of 250 words or less for any chapter/tale. Any ommissions or errors as a result are mine.