The Tree-top Hunter The morning after the Dum-Dum the tribe started slowly back through the forest toward the coast. The body of Tublat lay where it had fallen, for the people of Kerchak do not eat their own dead.
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Publisher: Wildside Press LLC
John and Alice (Rutherford) Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke of England, are marooned in the western coastal jungles of equatorial Africa in 1888. After an unstated amount of time later, their son John Clayton II is born. At the age of one, his mother dies and soon thereafter his father is killed by the savage king ape, Kerchak. The infant Clayton, subsequently adopted by the she-ape Kala, is named Tarzan ('White Skin' in the ape language) and is raised in ignorance of his human heritage. As a boy, feeling alienated from his peers due to their physical differences, Tarzan discovers his true parents' cabin, where he first learns of others like himself in their books. Using basic primers with pictures, over many years he teaches himself to read English, but having never heard it, cannot speak it. Upon his return from one visit to the cabin, he is attacked by a huge gorilla whom he manages to kill with his father's knife, although he is terribly wounded in the struggle. As he grows up, Tarzan becomes a skilled hunter, exciting the jealousy of Kerchak, the ape leader, who finally attacks him. Tarzan kills Kerchak and takes his place as "king" of the apes. Later, a tribe of black Africans settle in the area, and Tarzan's adopted mother, Kala, is killed by one of their hunters. Avenging himself on the killer, Tarzan begins an antagonistic relationship with the tribe, raiding its village for weapons and practicing cruel pranks on them. They, in turn, regard him as an evil spirit and attempt to placate him. A few years later, when Tarzan is 18 years of age, a new party is marooned on the coast, including 19 year old Jane Porter, the first white woman Tarzan has ever seen. Tarzan's cousin, William Cecil Clayton, unwitting usurper of the ape man's ancestral English estate, is also among the party.