Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 75
Publication Date: 1936
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Part of a two novella collection; the other book being The Tarzan Twins. Although these novellas come eleventh in the chronology of the Tarzan series, they aren't usually counted as part of the main series because they are children's book. But yeah, chronologically, they fall between Tarzan and the Ant Men, and Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. Two schoolboys, Dick and Doc, are cousins who resemble each other because their mothers are twins. As Dick is also related to Tarzan through his father, they become known as the Tarzan Twins. Invited to visit Tarzan's African estate, they become lost in the jungle and are imprisoned by cannibals, from whom they escape. They are then reunited with their host, who introduces them to his pet lion, Jad-bal-ja. Subsequently, they become involved in an adventure involving exiles from the lost city of Opar, who have kidnapped Gretchen von Harben, the daughter of a missionary.
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"GOLLY, but he's a whopper, isn't he?" exclaimed Dick.
"Gee, isn't he a beaut?" cried Doc. "I'll bet he could kill an elephant, almost."
"What's his name?" asked Dick.
"This is Jad-bal-ja," replied Tarzan of the Apes.
"The Golden Lion!" shouted Doc. "Not really—is he?"
"Yes, the Golden Lion," Tarzan assured them.
The three stood before a stout cage that stood in the rear of Tarzan's bungalow on his African estate the day following the arrival there of the Tarzan Twins after their rescue from the fierce Bagalla cannibals, who had captured Dick and Doc after they had wandered away from the derailed train that had been carrying them on a visit to Tarzan of the Apes, who was distantly related to Dick's father.
It had been this relationship, coupled with a remarkable resemblance between the two boys, that had won for them the name of Tarzan Twins from their fellows at the English school they attended. Perhaps their resemblance to one another was not so strange after all, if we consider the fact that the boys' mothers were twin sisters.
And not only that.
One of them had married an American and remained in her native country—this was Doc's mother—and the other had married an Englishman and sailed away across the Atlantic to live in England, where Dick was born on the very same day that Doc was born in America.
And now, after passing through such adventures as come to very few boys in this world, Dick and Doc were safe under the protection of the famous ape-man and while they were looking forward to many interesting experiences, they were sure that from now on they would be perfectly safe and that never again would they be in such distressing danger as that from which they had just escaped.
Nor were they sorry, for while they were normal boys and, like all normal boys, loved adventure, they had discovered that there was a limit beyond which adventure was no longer enjoyable, and that limit lay well upon the safe side of cannibal flesh pots.
It was well for Dick and Doc, as it is, perhaps, for all of us, that they could not look into the future.
"Gee, you're not going to let him out, are you?" demanded Doc, as Tarzan of the Apes slipped the bolt that secured the door of Jad-bal-ja's cage.
"Why, yes," replied the ape-man. "He is seldom confined when I am at home, other than at night. It would scarcely be necessary even then were it not for the fact that some of my people, filled with an instinctive fear of lions, would not dare venture from their huts at night were Jad-bal-ja abroad. And then, too," he added, "there is something that they will always remember, that I am prone to forget—that, after all, a lion is always a lion. To me Jad-bal-ja is friend and companion, so much so that sometimes I forget that he is not a man, or that I am not a lion."
"He looks fierce," said Doc.
"Won't he bite us?" asked Dick.
"When I am with him he will harm no one unless I tell him to," replied Tarzan, as he swung the cage door wide.
Dick and Doc stood as rigid as pewter soldiers as the great, tawny beast stepped majestically from his cage. The round yellow eyes, the terrifying eyes, surveyed them, and Tarzan spoke in a language that the boys did not understand as Jad-bal-ja advanced and sniffed their clothing and their hands.
"I am telling him that you are my friends," explained Tarzan of the Apes, "and that he must never harm you in the least."
"I hope he understands you," said Doc, and Tarzan smiled.
"We will take a walk," he said, "and presently the lion will become accustomed to you. Pay no attention to him. Do not touch him, unless he comes and rubs his head against you, which he will not. It is his way of showing affection for me and my family—a mark which he has not bestowed upon others."