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Hauptmann Fritz Schneider

Unterlieutenant von Goss


Lady Jane

Wasimbu, the son of Muviro

Fraulein Bertha Kircher (the Honorable Patricia Canby)

Colonel Capell

Major Preswick

von Kelter


General Jan Smuts

General Kraut

Lieutenant Obergatz


Naratu, Usanga’s woman

Go-lat - King of the Apes

Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick

Numabo, chief of the Wamabo

Zu-tag (Big Neck) a great ape

Pisah, the fish

Xanila, the Old English Woman in Xuja


Herog XVI





Greystoke estate in British East Africa


Indian Ocean


German East Africa



Pare Mountains





Palace of Veza, mayor of Xuja


Diamond-studded locket

Hunting knife of Tarzan’s father

Bow and quiver of arrows

Grass rope

Heavy war spear

Little platform of branches

German sniper’s rifle with telescopic sights





A big Vauxhall

Motor lorries

Tarzan the Untamed

Summarized by
David A. Adams
Sidebar by
David Bruce Bozarth


Tarzan the Untamed was begun in September 1918 by Edgar Rice Burroughs and was first published as a six-part serial in The Red Book Magazine, March, April, May, June, July, August 1919. Tarzan and the Valley of Luna, a five-part serial, which continues this story was first published in All-Story Weekly, March 20, 27; April 3, 10, 17, 1920. The first book edition was published by A.C. McClurg & Co., April 30, 1920. There are 24 chapters. The complexity of detail and quality of writing in this novel is exceptional for Burroughs. He does not lose his ability to tell an a fast-moving, exciting story, but the over-all excellence of his prose rises to a very high degree in this effort. Many consider this to be his best Tarzan novel in the series.

Chapter 1 - Murder and Pillage

Hauptmann (Captain) Fritz Schneider, his lieutenant, and Unterlieutenant von Goss along with a group of askaris and porters stumble upon the Greystoke estate in British East Africa; it is the fall of 1914. Tarzan and his son are not at home, and Lady Jane does not know they are at war with the Germans, so she welcomes them into her home. Tarzan returns rapidly from Nairobi because he knows the situation only to find the estate burned to the ground. His cottage still stands in ruin, and there he finds Wasimbu, the son of Muviro crucified against the wall. All the natives are dead, and he finds the charred remains of Jane, recognized by the rings on her fingers. He curses the Germans and takes a silent oath to war upon them. Tarzan abandons all the false trappings of civilization and dedicates his life to vengeance. Needing rest, he goes to a familiar platform in a jungle tree, and finding a leopard there he kills it during a tremendous thunder storm.

Chapter 2 - The Lion’s Cave

Tarzan heads south into German East Africa. Skirting Kilimanjaro to Tanga, Tarzan finds a lion's tunnel cave in a narrow gorge. The tunnel exits upon a small basin surrounded by steep walls with a pool and one tree. Tarzan is treed by the returned man-eater. Later, during a rain, Tarzan eludes the lion, climbs the cliffs, then traps the lion by blocking the outer entrance. The next day Tarzan locates native soldiers in German uniforms, and at their camp overhears they had participated in raiding his home. Tarzan captures a soldier for interrogation. He learns Hauptmann Schneider killed Jane. The frightened soldier leads Tarzan to Headquarters. Tarzan also learns the name "von Gross." Tarzan kills the native because he had helped crucify Wasimbu. Tarzan kills a sentry to gain access to a window. He sees German officers and Fraulein Kircher, a pretty girl he judges to be a spy. Schneider's presence is ordered. When the officer arrives Tarzan boldly carries him away and silently marches Schneider for 3-days. At the lion’s gulch Tarzan reveals his identity then forces Schneider to descend into the basin. The lion chases the German into the solitary tree. The vengeful Tarzan leaves, contemplating the German's eventual torture of dying of thirst or the lion.

Chapter III: In the German Lines

Later, Tarzan returns to the gulch and finds the German gone. The lion is hungry. He kills a Bara and a Dango and feeds them to the lion. Tarzan proceeds to the German and British battle lines -- trenches with a No Man’s Land in between. He kills a German sniper and uses the rifle to wipe out a number of Boche machine-gun nests. Next, he goes to the British headquarters of the Second Rhodesians and meets with Colonel Capell and Major Preswick. He offers his help as a guerrilla fighter since he can move into the German lines whenever he wishes. He gets an assignment to empty a section of trench and silently disappears, just glimpsing a vaguely familiar face.


Burroughs' novel of Tarzan's revenge and patriotism during World War I was eagerly greeted by readers worldwide ... except post-war Germany. Tarzan the Untamed, when first released in Germany resulted in a firestorm of outrage by the German intelligensia and newspapers of the day. Burroughs' literary agent in Germany nearly went bankrupt when angry citizens either refused to buy the book or engaged in destruction of copies of the book. One wonders who slipped up — Burroughs, the German literary agent, or the war-weary German populace. The end result was no new German translations of Tarzan for many, many years. Burroughs lost a lucrative market which had paid handsome royalties, the literary agent was never again credible to his markets, and the German people did not again hold Burroughs or Tarzan in any esteem. Equally telling is the LACK of translation of Tarzan and "the Foreign Legion" to the post war Japanese market. Apparently ERB Inc. had learned from the German experience with UNTAMED that certain war-time Tarzan patriotic stories should not be translated for general reprint to populations of one-time foes of the United States of America.

Yet, Tarzan the Untamed is a signature novel in the jungle man series. For more information in that regard see Tangor's Code of Tarzan

Chapter IV: When the Lion Fed

Tarzan kills and skins six Hortas (pigs) and constructs a large bag and 4 small ones. He goes to the gulch of the trapped lion, ropes it, and puts the bags over its head and paws. After the furious cat calms down, he drives it ahead with his spear, a rope around its neck. After eluding five other lions, he reaches the British lines and tells Colonel Capell that he will empty a trench and his troops will be able to move forward. (He recalls that the “familiar” officer he had seen during his last trip resembled Fraulein Kircher, the German spy.) Tarzan takes the lion to the German trenches, wipes out a machine-gun nest with a “bomb” (hand grenade) then sends the lion through a tunnel into the German trench filled with Gomangani. The advancing British see the lion leaving with a screaming Hun in his jaws and Tarzan raking the length of the German trenches with a machine-gun. His final act of the day is to break the back of a German officer, then he is gone.

Chapter V: The Golden Locket

Scouting the German lines, Tarzan learns that he has killed the wrong Schneider. He goes to a nearby camp and awakens the officer, Luberg, and finds out that Hauptmann Fritz Schneider is in Wilhelmstal -- he immediately heads there. Bertha Kircher on horseback is lost in the jungle. A lion kills her horse and feeds upon the animal as while she lies pinned underneath. He tears off her blouse just as Tarzan steps into the clearing. Tarzan calls off the lion. The lion leaves the kill, it is the same lion of the pit that has learned to fear him. Tarzan speaks to Kircher in perfect German, asking her if she can move. Tarzan lifts the dead horse with one hand. They slowly move away, and the lion returns to eat the horse. Tarzan tears his locket from Kircher’s neck, and she confesses it was given to her by Schneider. As he escorts her to British headquarters, she knocks him out with the butt of her pistol.

Chapter VI: Vengeance and Mercy

Attracted by Ska, the vulture, Sheeta, the panther, finds Tarzan lying on the ground. The leopard is killed by Tarzan’s Numa. Bertha has taken Tarzan’s locket, and he follows her to the railway discovering she has taken the train to Wilhelmstal. On the edge of the town, he kills a German guard dog and the officer who comes in search of it. Tarzan dresses in the uniform of the dead German and enters a hotel by a second story window. He kills Hauptmann Fritz Schneider with a knife to the heart, takes his locket, but leaves Bertha behind. Bertha is forced to give Tarzan a folded document, but she retrieves more papers from the dead German after Tarzan leaves.

Chapter VII: When Blood Told

Tarzan is ashamed of himself that he could not kill Bertha because she was a woman. Having his revenge for Jane’s death, he decides to “revert to the primitive.” “Acquaintances he numbered by the hundreds; but of friends he had few.” Tarzan learns the location of the Mangani from a Manu. He decides to take the short route across a desolate plateau, crosses 8 difficult canyons where he finds the bones of an ancient Spanish soldier and a metal cylinder containing a mysterious manuscript and map which he places in his quiver. Tarzan almost dies in the desert, but he tricks Ska as he plays dead and the vulture's blood and tough meat save his life. Rain finally comes, and Tarzan reaches a new land of parklike beauty.

Chapter VIII: Tarzan and the Great Apes

Tarzan, now free of civilization, searches for the great apes. He comes upon a renegade mob of blacks, men and women, dressed in pieces of German East African uniforms. They have captured Bertha Kircher, but he doesn't care to rescue a spy. However he does a bit of “blackbaiting,” killing the last man in the column then placing his head on a branch further along the trail. Sergeant Usanga, the mob's leader, takes his group into a native village and trades with them. One of the Negroes makes advances toward Bertha. Usanga kicks him out of the hut and makes advances of his own. His wife, Naratu, chases her husband out. The first black man comes back and says, “No one will stop me now, white woman.” Meanwhile, Tarzan has a change of heart. Returning to rescue Bertha, he discovers she is gone and the body of a dead warrior. Later, Bertha comes to a group of great apes at Dum-Dum and watches Tarzan subdue Go-lat and take part in the savage dance. Sheeta, the panther, frightens Bertha into running into the Dum-Dum. Tarzan saves her by claiming, “This is Tarzan’s she.” It was a humiliating moment for him.

Chapter IX: Dropped from the Sky

Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick of the Royal Air Service is flying on patrol looking for the Hun. His plane stalls, so he lands and begins tinkering with the engine. He is captured by cannibalistic Wamabo warriors led by Numabo. It is the village where sergeant Usanga has stopped. Meanwhile, Tarzan and Bertha are building a boma and a hut where he intends to leave her once she is safe from the beasts of the jungle. Tarzan sends her to the river for water, and she is accosted by Go-lat, the king ape. Tarzan comes to the rescue, and Go-lat readily relinquishes his claims on “Tarzan’s she.” Tarzan goes to hunt, leaving Bertha under the protection of the apes. She goes into the hut and bursts into tears.

Chapter X: In the Hands of Savages

On his hunt, Tarzan comes upon the village of the Wamabo cannibals. Seeking to bait the blacks, a rotten tree limb precipitates him into their midst unconscious from the fall. Tarzan is placed in the same hut as LHPS-O. Tarzan gives him his philosophy about life and death, then chews his bonds nearly off. A guard sees what is happening and hits Tarzan with a spear haft and ties them tighter on opposite sides of the hut. Tarzan says, “While there is life, there is hope.” Meanwhile, Zu-tag, an ape from the tribe of Go-lat observes the goings on and heads back for the ape tribe. Go-lat wants no part in saving Tarzan, but 8 young bulls decide to attempt the rescue. Zu-tag persuades Bertha to go along by using sign language. He carries her through the trees -- to her great admiration at his agility and strength. The two white men are tied to stakes, and just as Tarzan is being pricked with a spear, Bertha and the apes charge upon the scene. Bertha unties Tarzan first and he throws two pots of boiling water on the natives. They escape, but Tarzan growls at being saved by this hated German.

Chapter XI: Finding the Airplane

Tarzan longs to return to the haunts of his youth, but he has two people to aid: a young officer of the British Royal Air Forces and a woman he hated as a German spy. He chafed at the thought of the long march with them back to the East coast. A leopard attacks, and as Tarzan struggles with the beast, Bertha stabs it with a spear. Again, he owes her a debt of thanks! Tarzan tells Smith-Oldwick she is a spy, but he cannot hate her. When Tarzan goes off to hunt, they decide to set off on their own, leaving him a note. They are searching for his plane, which Usanga has already found. Just as they arrive at the aircraft, Usanga and his black warriors step out of the bushes.

Chapter XII: The Black Flier

Usanga demands flying lessons, and Smith-Oldwick agrees for Bertha’s sake. Now she knows that he loves her. After two days of lessons, Usanga ties them up, throws Bertha into the plane and takes off with her aboard to become his wife in a distant country. They make a good take-off, but Smith-Oldwick hears something that makes his heart stand still.

Chapter XIII: Usanga’s Reward

Just as Tarzan is about to catch Pisah, the fish with his bare hands, Zu-tag interrupts him with the message that the two tarmangani have left. He hurries to the hut and boma and finds the note. He is glad they are gone, but decides to follow them because “He is an Englishman and the other is a woman.” His conscience was troubling him, and he compares himself with a weak, old woman. Tarzan arrives upon the scene just as Usanga was taking off with Bertha -- a Negro attempting to fly away with a white girl. He tries lasso the plane already 20 feet in the air with his grass rope and Bertha catches the noose. Tarzan is carried into the air held only by the girl. He manages to climb up the rope next to Bertha, and they decide to throw out Usanga and let Bertha fly them to the ground. The plan works: Usanga becomes a shapeless mass upon the blood-stained turf -- it was his reward. Next, they mowed down Usanga’s men with their propeller. Then Tarzan lets Smith-Oldwick and Bertha fly away. He thinks, “Too bad she is a German and a spy, for she is very hard to hate.”

Chapter XIV: The Black Lion

A hungry lion falls into a Wamabo pit. Tarzan climbs a tree to watch the departing plane and sees it fall, so he goes to help them again. He judges they are somewhere in the impassable gorges of the arid country he crossed in chapter 7. On the way, he comes upon the gigantic black lion trapped in a pit. He feeds the lion a hind quarter of a bara, then helps it out of the pit. The lion melts into the jungles to the east. Tarzan enters the gorges again and follows to the very point where he found the bones of the ancient adventurer where he hears a gun shot.

Chapter XV: Mysterious Footprints

The plane sank because Ska flew into the propeller, but they landed safely in a gorge. Bertha expresses her fears while Smith-Oldwick tries to fix the plane without success. The black lion chases them into and around the plane, but Tarzan arrives and the lion becomes his friend because of his rescue for the pit. The gunshot Tarzan heard was Smith-Oldwick trying to scare the lion with his pistol. Tarzan gets the lion to accept the two by speaking mangani to him. He explains that it is probably the tone of voice and his manner that calms the beast. They head south, but the lion remains behind. Soon they come upon footprints of lions and sandaled humans. Tarzan does a Sherlock Holmes, identifying the prints as those of white men rather than Negro’s. They “lair,” camp, in a cave for the night.

Chapter XVI: The Night Attack

The party is stalked by lions in the night, and Tarzan gives his philosophy of life and death. “Few of us die of old age in the jungle . . .etc.” Tarzan detects by scent 7 lions and a man out in the darkness. Suddenly they are attacked by many lions and men. Tarzan is briefly knocked unconscious by a fall; when he awakens he finds the black lion standing over him and his two companions missing. Tarzan and his black lion kill two lions, then they follow the spoor to a well-watered valley where again the lion leaves him.

Chapter XVII: The Walled City

Tarzan finds there is no game in the valley, but large numbers of snakes are there. He shoots a bird with an arrow, and the entire jungle comes alive with screams and shrill shrieks -- then grows strangely silent again. Tarzan does not care for the flesh of birds, and the sinister silence arouses his anger at the place. Tarzan is quietly surrounded by lions who lie down in a circle around him. A half hour later a man arrives. He has skin like yellowed parchment, black, stiff hair down his forehead, eyes set close together, suggesting a brutal type. He carries a spear and a heavy saber in a leather-covered scabbard. The man talks to Tarzan in a language he cannot understand, but by sign-language indicates that he must follow or be torn apart by the lions. Tarzan thinks the man is a rational maniac -- the paradox makes him smile. He easily escapes by leaping into the trees and continues his search. Tarzan comes upon the minarets of a walled city. He watches as the man and the lions return and enter the gate of the city. Tarzan knows that his friends are inside, so he returns by night, pursued at the last minute by a black lion in a race across the plain to the city wall.

Chapter XVIII: Among the Maniacs

Bertha and Smith-Oldwick are captured by the men with trained lions and taken to their city. On the way a man bows to a parrot, and one of the guards is eaten by a black lion -- not the lion of the pit. They cannot understand the language of the people, but it seems familiar to them. Letters over the doors of shops suggest Greek origin. The houses are practically all two-storied with an arcade of arches on either side of narrow streets. Smith-Oldwick lags because of his wounds and is beaten by one of the cruel guards. Bertha fights the man and takes his sword and he laughs hysterically. Realizing she is among madmen, she throws the sword to the ground. Smith-Oldwick tells her she is very brave, that he loves her, and that he thinks is is dying from wounds caused by lions at their capture. She tells him not to give up and that she will try to love him. There is much random violence in the city. A child is wantonly murdered before their eyes by a screaming maniac. Smith-Oldwick still has his pistol, and Bertha tells him to save one bullet for her. He confesses that he could never kill her no matter what. They are led to a more ornamental part of the city with higher buildings. The decorations are mainly of parrots. They are brought before a man at a table who sends Bertha out of the building with guards, and Smith-Oldwick is taken to a courtyard and locked in with lions.

Chapter XIX: The Queen’s Story

Bertha is taken to the largest building in the plaza, completely covered with sculpture and mosaics of parrots. She is led through three chambers and massive doors to a fat man with the look of utter imbecility on his face. He rushes toward her and laughs with maniacal glee, then paws her over in examination. Presently she is led away to an apartment where she meets an old white woman, who tells her story: She is an Englishwoman who has been held captive for sixty years -- she is now 80. She was the daughter of a missionary who was captured by Arabs. They were on their way north where she would be sold into the harem of some black sultan. Everyone died in the desert except for her and the Arab chief when they were captured. She tells Bertha that they can talk to the parrots but are a race of maniacs. She was captured under the kingship of Ago XXV, but there have been many kings since that day. They worship a 300 year-old- parrot as a god. The old woman tells her that she was the Queen of Ago XXV and of the others, and that the women of the city are all kept locked up as much as possible. She also tells her of a legend of a giant Spaniard who once came to the city, whose bones they have seen in the desert. The Negro eunuch brings them lion meat and goat’s milk for supper. Then Bertha is summoned before the king, Herog XVI along with the old woman, whom they call Xanila. As they wait in the anteroom of the king, Metak, one of the king’s sons, embraces her, then kills the two guards and carries her away.

Chapter XX: Came Tarzan

Thompson reports to Colonel Capell of the Second Rhodesians that he has seen Smith-Oldwick’s downed plane and a city in a small, wooded valley. General Smut orders two companies to go in search of him. Tarzan makes it up the wall ahead of the baffled lion. He strangles a guard until his pin-point eyes pop out of their sockets, and disguises himself in the parrot emblazoned yellow tunic. He leaves his spear and bow behind but wraps his grass rope around his waist. Tarzan enters a room through one of these openings found in each one. He passes through the streets until he scents the two of his search. Presently, he notices a man lowering himself from the roof of a building.

Chapter XXI: In the Alcove

Smith-Oldwick collapses unconscious in the courtyard with the lions. He dreams that he is in a comfortable bed with a gentle hand smoothing away his fears and awakens to a lion licking his face. The lions do not harm him, so he climbs a tree and enters a room finding a lovely young woman who begins to kiss him passionately. A man enters and attacks him with a saber, so Smith-Oldwick shoots him with his pistol. The young woman beats the face of the dead man, and together they drag him into an alcove. A knock comes upon the door, and the girl hides him behind a curtain. However, she betrays him, and the man plunges his saber into the curtains. Metak carries Bertha into his father’s throne room by mistake, and they are chased by a hundred guards. He carriers her into a room with a pool and dives under taking his captive with him. Smith-Oldwick finds a hidden panel behind the curtain and thus escapes down a corridor before he can be killed by the man with the saber. He climbs a ladder to the roof of the building and is accosted by a man in the yellow tunic of a warrior.

Chapter XXII: Out of the Niche

The numa who had chased Tarzan to the wall in chapter 17 turns out to be his black lion. He had been raised as a cub by the maniacs, so he follows Tarzan into the city through a goat corral, nearly decapitating the herder. Smith-Oldwick is relieved that the man in the yellow tunic is Tarzan. They return to the niche in which the Englishman had been hidden by the girl. Here, by whispers from behind the curtain, they persuade a Wamabo slave, Otobu, to help in the attack upon the man and woman. During the struggle, the corpse of the man Smith-Oldwick had shot becomes exposed, and the girl claims she knows nothing about it. It happens to be the father of the man she was entertaining. Smith-Oldwick dresses in the dead man’s robe, and they all sit down and have something to eat while Tarzan pumps them for information about the location of Bertha. A knock comes upon the door, and the man shouts for help. Tarzan and Smith-Oldwick go to the door, and when they return, they find Otobu dead and the girl and man missing.

Chapter XXIII: The Flight from Xuja

Carrying Bertha, Metak swims down a long winding corridor until they come out in a lagoon in a plaza. He takes her to the building where they had first been led when entering the city. She watches as guards break down a door, the door to the very room where Tarzan and Smith-Oldwick had must been! When everyone leaves, Metak makes lewd advances toward Bertha. She holds him off awhile with a spear, finally throwing it, missing, and Metak was upon her. Tarzan and Smith-Oldwick find the trap door to the roof is locked, so they return just in time to save Bertha from a fate worse than death. Tarzan fights with the maniacally strong Metak, finally heaving him through a window into the pit of lions. Suddenly, Otobu sits up; he was only knocked unconscious. He leads them toward the city gate, but the body of Metak is discovered and the Xujans call out the lions and parrots. A parrot flies ahead and warns the guards at the gate. Tarzan’s black lion of the pit joins up with the escaping party, and they storm the gate together. There is a mighty battle, but they finally manage to lift the bar and run into the dark forest. Tarzan calls to his black lion, which thrills Bertha. He takes her hand out of kindness but later must carry Smith-Oldwick who was upon the verge of exhaustion.

Chapter XXIV: The Tommies

They try to cross the gorge, but Bertha and Smith-Oldwick are too weak to go on. They are followed by the Xujans and their lions and make a stand in a narrow place between a large rock and a cliff. There is a mighty battle. Tarzan says, “We still live!” the ubiquitous ERB motto. Tarzan is driven to the ground with a spear in his shoulder, and Smith-Oldwick takes a spear in the leg. The British Tommies arrive at the last minute to save them all. (In an unparalleled statement ERB writes, “even the ape-man had given up the last vestige of hope.) Smith-Oldwick and Bertha Kircher go back to British headquarters by plane. Tarzan and Otobu head west. Colonel Capell informs Tarzan that Bertha is really the Honorable Patricia Canby a member of the British Intelligence. He shows Tarzan the diary of Hauptmann Fritz Schneider wherein he discovers that Jane is still alive. He agrees to return with Capell to search for Jane. Smith-Oldwick and Bertha plan to marry.