Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Son of Tarzan

When I was a child, I possessed a set of all 24 Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels. The books were the original hardback editions from the early 20th century. I read each book at least a dozen times. My favorite was The Son of Tarzan - because I too dreamed of re-uniting with my father when I was a child. It never happened, but at least I had my books to keep me going.

The books came into my possession when my uncle threw them in the garbage when he moved out of his mother’s house in the 60’s. My mom fished them out and gave them to me. Unfortunately, my uncle talked me into returning them to his possession when I was in my 20’s. He told me that he wanted his son to enjoy them as I had. I have since come to understand he probably thought the books were valuable. Of course, they were not; my guess is maybe $2 to $3 dollars each. The sentimental value was quite high.

I expected to have the books returned to my so that my sons could enjoy them. However, this was not to be. The books were destroyed when a water pipe burst at my uncle’s home. He had stored them in his garage for many years. His son never read them.

The funny thing is that 20 years later my uncle asked me if I had kept one of the books, the first in the series, Tarzan of the Apes. It was then I realize he was interested only in the value. I had not kept the book and I certainly had not sold it as he had suggested. I have only sold one book in my life (not counting textbooks) a mint condition first edition of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Othello published in the 1860’s. I had purchased it at a garage sale for a quarter.

I found an Ace paperback edition of the Son of Tarzan at a flea market a few weeks ago. It has a Frank Frazetta cover (pictured above) and internal illustrations. It will make a nice addition to my Burroughs collection. I’ll read it too – even though the book is available free online. My paperback edition cost $2. I arranged to buy the remaining books for $40 next month when I return to the Pasadena flee market. I can’t wait untill the second Sunday in March.

Tarzan's son is named Korak. It means "The Killer" in the language of the Great Apes. The name of Tarzan's son is also a Trivial Pursuit question from the original edition. I once won a large competition just because I knew this useless Tarzan fact.

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1 comment:

just plain me said...

You need to add Tarzan to your list of favorites.