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Bertha Kircher found herself alone in a small hut to the palisade at the far end of the village street, and though she was neither bound nor guarded, she was assured by Usanga that she could not escape the village without running into almost certain death in the jungle, which the villagers assured them was infested by lions of great size and ferocity.
The white girl in their midst was no less mystified than they; but far less moved, since sudden death was the most merciful fate to which she might now look forward.
She was hatless and with torn and disheveled clothing that had evidently once been a trim riding habit.
As she grew more accustomed to the jungle and the ways of its wild denizens fear left her.
The girl played with them and fed them, and when she was alone they helped her to pass the long hours until Korak's return.
Sometimes they played tricks upon her; but she was always kind and gentle with them and in their wild, half-human way they were kind to her and affectionate.
I realized that she was quite right--that we were but comic figures hopping from the cradle to the grave, of interest to practically no other created thing than ourselves and our few intimates.
She raised one hand with the palm toward me--the Caspakian equivalent of a negative shake of the head.
She carried a sharp knife--mine, in fact, and with it she cut my bonds.
"Ah," she sighed, "if I could but see my beloved country once again!"
"I may only guess from what I have heard since I was brought here," she answered; "but by reports and chance remarks I take it to be a beautiful land in which there are but few wild beasts and no men, for only the Wieroos live upon this island and they dwell always in cities of which there are three, this being the largest.
Bradley did not see them; but the girl did, and though she cried out a warning, it came too late for him to avoid a large Wieroo who dived headforemost for him, striking him between the shoulders and bearing him to the floor.
Tarzan saw, and in the instant that he saw, Teeka was no longer the little playmate of an hour ago; instead she was a wondrous thing--the most wondrous in the world--and a possession for which Tarzan would fight to the death against Taug or any other who dared question his right of proprietorship.
So now she squatted upon her haunches and insulted both her admirers impartially.
She glanced about to see if others had witnessed this evidence of her popularity.