"What is to happen now!" And the lights burned down to the very branches, and as they burned down they were put out one after the other, and then the children had permission to plunder the Tree.
The children danced about with their beautiful playthings; no one looked at the Tree except the old nurse, who peeped between the branches; but it was only to see if there was a fig or an apple left that had been forgotten.
They snuffed about the Fir Tree, and rustled among the branches.
Instead, it stood a few paces from the tree watching the ape-man clamber out of the maze of fallen branches.
He might have taken to the higher branches of the trees upon the opposite side, for Sheeta cannot climb to the heights to which the ape-man can go; but something, a spirit of bravado perhaps, prompted him to approach the panther as though to discover if any feeling of gratitude would prompt the beast to friendliness.
Sheeta bounded into a near-by thicket, while Tarzan took to the low branches of an overhanging tree.
But before they discussed the details of my map I had to tell them of my encounter with the ape-man among the branches.
"I do not think it could have made off so fast among the branches if it could not get a grip with its feet."
From time to time, he thought he saw her behind the trunk of a tree, or gliding between the branches; and he called to her with words of supplication that brought the tears to my eyes.
I did indeed try for a moment to break off the branches, which I would have lit with my dark lantern, but I knocked myself also against the mirrors and remembered, in time, that we had only images of branches to do with.
At sight of me several of the savage creatures left off worrying the great brute to come slinking with bared fangs toward me, and as I turned to run toward the trees again to seek safety among the lower branches
, I saw a number of the man-apes leaping and chattering in the foliage of the nearest tree.
He had hardly spoken when a shower of nuts and twigs spattered down through the branches; and they could hear coughings and howlings and angry jumpings high up in the air among the thin branches.
Of course Mowgli, as a woodcutter's child, inherited all sorts of instincts, and used to make little huts of fallen branches without thinking how he came to do it.
The next thing he remembered was feeling hands on his legs and arms--hard, strong, little hands--and then a swash of branches in his face, and then he was staring down through the swaying boughs as Baloo woke the jungle with his deep cries and Bagheera bounded up the trunk with every tooth bared.
From tree to tree swung Meriem working ever upward toward the smaller branches
which would not bear the weight of her pursuers.