Kala Nag stood ten fair feet at the shoulders, and his tusks had been cut off short at five feet, and bound round the ends, to prevent them splitting, with bands of copper; but he could do more with those stumps than any untrained elephant could do with the real sharpened ones.
There was nothing in the way of fighting that Kala Nag, the old wise Black Snake, did not know, for he had stood up more than once in his time to the charge of the wounded tiger, and, curling up his soft trunk to be out of harm's way, had knocked the springing brute sideways in mid-air with a quick sickle cut of his head, that he had invented all by himself; had knocked him over, and kneeled upon him with his huge knees till the life went out with a gasp and a howl, and there was only a fluffy striped thing on the ground for Kala Nag to pull by the tail.
He was ten years old, the eldest son of Big Toomai, and, according to custom, he would take his father's place on Kala Nag's neck when he grew up, and would handle the heavy iron ankus, the elephant goad, that had been worn smooth by his father, and his grandfather, and his great-grandfather.
Kala was the youngest mate of a male called Tublat, meaning broken nose, and the child she had seen dashed to death was her first; for she was but nine or ten years old.
And all the way Kala carried her little dead baby hugged closely to her breast.
Behind him were two males, and then Kala, closely straining the little dead form to her breast.
So he waited, waving his head from right to left, and measuring the precise spot in Kala
Nag's fat side where a blunt tusk could sink deepest.
And so I am perfectly content to remain forever the son of Kala
, the she-ape."
From babyhood until the time of her death, when the poisoned arrow of Kulonga had pierced her savage heart, Kala had represented to the English boy the sole object of love which he had known.
In her wild, fierce way Kala had loved her adopted son, and Tarzan had returned that love, though the outward demonstrations of it were no greater than might have been expected from any other beast of the jungle.
The boy did not cry out--a trait inherited from his savage sire whom long years in the jungle following the death of his foster mother, Kala
the great ape, had taught that there was none to come to the succor of the fallen.
"It was a black who killed Kala
. They are the enemies of the Manganis."