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Chapter 4: The Apes
In the forest of the table-land a mile back from the ocean old Kerchak the Ape was on a rampage of rage among his people.
The younger and lighter members of his tribe scampered to the higher branches of the great trees to escape his wrath; risking their lives upon branches that scarce supported their weight rather than face old Kerchak in one of his fits of uncontrolled anger.
The other males scattered in all directions, but not before the infuriated brute had felt the vertebra of one snap between his great, foaming jaws.
A luckless young female slipped from an insecure hold upon a high branch and came crashing to the ground almost at Kerchak's feet.
With a wild scream he was upon her, tearing a great piece from her side with his mighty teeth, and striking her viciously upon her head and shoulders with a broken tree limb until her skull was crushed to a jelly.
And then he spied Kala, who, returning from a search for food with her young babe, was ignorant of the state of the mighty male's temper until suddenly the shrill warnings of her fellows caused her to scamper madly for safety.
But Kerchak was close upon her, so close that he had almost grasped her ankle had she not made a furious leap far into space from one tree to another--a perilous chance which apes seldom if ever take, unless so closely pursued by danger that there is no alternative.
She made the leap successfully, but as she grasped the limb of the further tree the sudden jar loosened the hold of the tiny babe where it clung frantically to her neck, and she saw the little thing hurled, turning and twisting, to the ground thirty feet below.
With a low cry of dismay Kala rushed headlong to its side, thoughtless now of the danger from Kerchak; but when she gathered the wee, mangled form to her bosom life had left it.
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