Nada the Lily
H. Rider Haggard
Part 2 out of 6
I did up the bundle fast--fast, though my hands trembled. Oh! what if
the child should wake and cry. It was done; I rose and saluted the
king. Then I doubled myself up and passed from before him. Scarcely
was I outside the gates of the Intunkulu when the infant began to
squeak in the bundle. If it had been one minute before!
"What," said a soldier, as I passed, "have you got a puppy hidden
under your moocha, Mopo?"
 Girdle composed of skin and tails of oxen.-ED.
I made no answer, but hurried on till I came to my huts. I entered;
there were my two wives alone.
"I have recovered the child, women," I said, as I undid the bundle.
Anadi took him and looked at him.
"The boy seems bigger than he was," she said.
"The breath of life has come into him and puffed him out," I answered.
"His eyes are not as his eyes were," she said again. "Now they are big
and black, like the eyes of the king."
"My spirit looked upon his eyes and made them beautiful," I answered.
"This child has a birth-mark on his thigh," she said a third time.
"That which I gave you had no mark."
"I laid my medicine there," I answered.
"It is not the same child," she said sullenly. "It is a changeling who
will lay ill-luck at our doors."
Then I rose up in my rage and cursed her heavily, for I saw that if
she was not stopped this woman's tongue would bring us all to ruin.
"Peace, witch!" I cried. "How dare you to speak thus from a lying
heart? Do you wish to draw down a curse upon our roof? Would you make
us all food for the king's spear? Say such words again, and you shall
sit within the circle--the Ingomboco shall know you for a witch!"
So I stormed on, threatening to bring her to death, till at length she
grew fearful, and fell at my feet praying for mercy and forgiveness.
But I was much afraid because of this woman's tongue, and not without
UMSLOPOGAAS ANSWERS THE KING
Now the years went on, and this matter slept. Nothing more was heard
of it, but still it only slept; and, my father, I feared greatly for
the hour when it should awake. For the secret was known by two women--
Unandi, Mother of the Heavens, and Baleka, my sister, wife of the
king; and by two more--Macropha and Anadi, my wives--it was guessed
at. How, then, should it remain a secret forever? Moreover, it came
about that Unandi and Baleka could not restrain their fondness for
this child who was called my son and named Umslopogaas, but who was
the son of Chaka, the king, and of the Baleka, and the grandson of
Unandi. So it happened that very often one or the other of them would
come into my hut, making pretence to visit my wives, and take the boy
upon her lap and fondle it. In vain did I pray them to forbear. Love
pulled at their heart-strings more heavily than my words, and still
they came. This was the end of it--that Chaka saw the child sitting on
the knee of Unandi, his mother.
"What does my mother with that brat of thine, Mopo?" he asked of me.
"Cannot she kiss me, if she will find a child to kiss?" And he laughed
like a wolf.
I said that I did not know, and the matter passed over for awhile. But
after that Chaka caused his mother to be watched. Now the boy
Umslopogaas grew great and strong; there was no such lad of his years
for a day's journey round. But from a babe he was somewhat surly, of
few words, and like his father, Chaka, afraid of nothing. In all the
world there were but two people whom he loved--these were I, Mopo, who
was called his father, and Nada, she who was said to be his twin
Now it must be told of Nada that as the boy Umslopogaas was the
strongest and bravest of children, so the girl Nada was the gentlest
and most fair. Of a truth, my father, I believe that her blood was not
all Zulu, though this I cannot say for certain. At the least, her eyes
were softer and larger than those of our people, her hair longer and
less tightly curled, and her skin was lighter--more of the colour of
pure copper. These things she had from her mother, Macropha; though
she was fairer than Macropha--fairer, indeed, than any woman of my
people whom I have seen. Her mother, Macropha, my wife, was of Swazi
blood, and was brought to the king's kraal with other captives after a
raid, and given to me as a wife by the king. It was said that she was
the daughter of a Swazi headman of the tribe of the Halakazi, and that
she was born of his wife is true, but whether he was her father I do
not know; for I have heard from the lips of Macropha herself, that
before she was born there was a white man staying at her father's
kraal. He was a Portuguese from the coast, a handsome man, and skilled
in the working of iron. This white man loved the mother of my wife,
Macropha, and some held that Macropha was his daughter, and not that
of the Swazi headman. At least I know this, that before my wife's
birth the Swazi killed the white man. But none can tell the truth of
these matters, and I only speak of them because the beauty of Nada was
rather as is the beauty of the white people than of ours, and this
might well happen if her grandfather chanced to be a white man.
Now Umslopogaas and Nada were always together. Together they ate,
together they slept and wandered; they thought one thought and spoke
with one tongue. Ou! it was pretty to see them! Twice while they were
still children did Umslopogaas save the life of Nada.
The first time it came about thus. The two children had wandered far
from the kraal, seeking certain berries that little ones love. On they
wandered and on, singing as they went, till at length they found the
berries, and ate heartily. Then it was near sundown, and when they had
eaten they fell asleep. In the night they woke to find a great wind
blowing and a cold rain falling on them, for it was the beginning of
winter, when fruits are ripe.
"Up, Nada!" said Umslopogaas, "we must seek the kraal or the cold will
So Nada rose, frightened, and hand in hand they stumbled through the
darkness. But in the wind and the night they lost their path, and when
at length the dawn came they were in a forest that was strange to
them. They rested awhile, and finding berries ate them, then walked
again. All that day they wandered, till at last the night came down,
and they plucked branches of trees and piled the branches over them
for warmth, and they were so weary that they fell asleep in each
other's arms. At dawn they rose, but now they were very tired and
berries were few, sot hat by midday they were spent. Then they lay
down on the side of a steep hill, and Nada laid her head upon the
breast of Umslopogaas.
"Here let us die, my brother," she said.
But even then the boy had a great spirit, and he answered, "Time to
die, sister, when Death chooses us. See, now! Do you rest here, and I
will climb the hill and look across the forest."
So he left her and climbed the hill, and on its side he found many
berries and a root that is good for food, and filled himself with
them. At length he came to the crest of the hill and looked out across
the sea of green. Lo! there, far away to the east, he saw a line of
white that lay like smoke against the black surface of a cliff, and
knew it for the waterfall beyond the royal town. Then he came down the
hill, shouting for joy and bearing roots and berries in his hand. But
when he reached the spot where Nada was, he found that her senses had
left her through hunger, cold, and weariness. She lay upon the ground
like one asleep, and over her stood a jackal that fled as he drew
nigh. Now it would seem that there but two shoots to the stick of
Umslopogaas. One was to save himself, and the other to lie down and
die by Nada. Yet he found a third, for, undoing the strips of his
moocha, he made ropes of them, and with the ropes he bound Nada on his
back and started for the king's kraal. He could never have reached it,
for the way was long, yet at evening some messengers running through
the forest came upon a naked lad with a girl bound to his back and a
staff in his hand, who staggered along slowly with starting eyes and
foam upon his lips. He could not speak, he was so weary, and the ropes
had cut through the skin of his shoulders; yet one of the messengers
knew him for Umslopogaas, the son of Mopo, and they bore him to the
kraal. They would have left the girl Nada, thinking her dead, but he
pointed to her breast, and, feeling it, they found that her heart
still beat, so they brought her also; and the end of it was that both
recovered and loved each other more than ever before.
Now after this, I, Mopo, bade Umslopogaas stay at home within the
kraal, and not lead his sister to the wilds. But the boy loved roaming
like a fox, and where he went there Nada followed. So it came about
that one day they slipped from the kraal when the gates were open, and
sought out a certain deep glen which had an evil name, for it was said
that spirits haunted it and put those to death who entered there.
Whether this was true I do not know, but I know that in the glen dwelt
a certain woman of the woods, who had her habitation in a cave and
lived upon what she could kill or steal or dig up with her hands. Now
this woman was mad. For it had chanced that her husband had been
"smelt out" by the witch-doctors as a worker of magic against the
king, and slain. Then Chaka, according to custom, despatched the
slayers to eat up his kraal, and they came to the kraal and killed his
people. Last of all they killed his children, three young girls, and
would have assegaied their mother, when suddenly a spirit entered into
her at the sight, and she went mad, so that they let her go, being
afraid to touch her afterwards. So she fled and took up her abode in
the haunted glen; and this was the nature of her madness, that
whenever she saw children, and more especially girl children, a
longing came upon her to kill them as her own had been killed. This,
indeed, she did often, for when the moon was full and her madness at
its highest, she would travel far to find children, snatching them
away from the kraals like a hyena. Still, none would touch her because
of the spirit in her, not even those whose children she had murdered.
So Umslopogaas and Nada came to the glen where the child-slayer lived,
and sat down by a pool of water not far from the mouth of her cave,
weaving flowers into a garland. Presently Umslopogaas left Nada, to
search for rock lilies which she loved. As he went he called back to
her, and his voice awoke the woman who was sleeping in her cave, for
she came out by night only, like a jackal. Then the woman stepped
forth, smelling blood and having a spear in her hand. Presently she
saw Nada seated upon the grass weaving flowers, and crept towards her
to kill her. Now as she came--so the child told me--suddenly a cold
wind seemed to breathe upon Nada, and fear took hold of her, though
she did not see the woman who would murder her. She let fall the
flowers, and looked before her into the pool, and there, mirrored in
the pool, she saw the greedy face of the child-slayer, who crept down
upon her from above, her hair hanging about her brow and her eyes
shining like the eyes of a lion.
Then with a cry Nada sprang up and fled along the path which
Umslopogaas had taken, and after her leapt and ran the mad woman.
Umslopogaas heard her cry. He turned and rushed back over the brow of
the hill, and, lo! there before him was the murderess. Already she had
grasped Nada by the hair, already her spear was lifted to pierce her.
Umslopogaas had no spear, he had nothing but a little stick without a
knob; yet with it he rushed at the mad woman and struck her so smartly
on the arm that she let go of the girl and turned on him with a yell.
Then, lifting her spear, she struck at him, but he leapt aside. Again
she struck; but he sprang into the air, and the spear passed beneath
him. A third time the woman struck, and, though he fell to earth to
avoid the blow, yet the assegai pierced his shoulder. But the weight
of his body as he fell twisted it from her hand, and before she could
grasp him he was up, and beyond her reach, the spear still fast in his
Then the woman turned, screaming with rage and madness, and ran at
Nada to kill her with her hands. But Umslopogaas set his teeth, and,
drawing the spear from his wound, charged her, shouting. She lifted a
great stone and hurled it at him--so hard that it flew into fragments
against another stone which it struck; yet he charged on, and smote at
her so truly that he drove the spear through her, and she fell down
dead. After that Nada bound up his wound, which was deep, and with
much pain he reached the king's kraal and told me this story.
Now there were some who cried that the boy must be put to death,
because he had killed one possessed with a spirit. But I said no, he
should not be touched. He had killed the woman in defence of his own
life and the life of his sister; and every one had a right to slay in
self-defence, except as against the king or those who did the king's
bidding. Moreover, I said, if the woman had a spirit, it was an evil
one, for no good spirit would ask the lives of children, but rather
those of cattle, for it is against our custom to sacrifice human
beings to the Amatonga even in war, though the Basuta dogs do so.
Still, the tumult grew, for the witch-doctors were set upon the boy's
death, saying that evil would come of it if he was allowed to live,
having killed one inspired, and at last the matter came to the ears of
the king. Then Chaka summoned me and the boy before him, and he also
summoned the witch-doctors.
First, the witch-doctors set out their case, demanding the death of
Umslopogaas. Chaka asked them what would happen if the boy was not
killed. They answered that the spirit of the dead woman would lead him
to bring evil on the royal house. Chaka asked if he would bring evil
on him, the king. They in turn asked the spirits, and answered no, not
on him, but on one of the royal house who should be after him. Chaka
said that he cared nothing what happened to those who came after him,
or whether good or evil befell them. Then he spoke to Umslopogaas, who
looked him boldly in the face, as an equal looks at an equal.
"Boy," he said, "what hast thou to say as to why thou shouldst not be
killed as these men demand?"
"This, Black One," answered Umslopogaas; "that I stabbed the woman in
defence of my own life."
"That is nothing," said Chaka. "If I, the king, wished to kill thee,
mightest thou therefore kill me or those whom I sent? The Itongo in
the woman was a Spirit King and ordered her to kill thee; thou
shouldst then have let thyself be killed. Hast thou no other reason?"
"This, Elephant," answered Umslopogaas; "the woman would have murdered
my sister, whom I love better than my life."
"That is nothing," said Chaka. "If I ordered thee to be killed for any
cause, should I not also order all within thy gates to be killed with
thee? May not, then, a Spirit King do likewise? If thou hast nothing
more to say thou must die."
Now I grew afraid, for I feared lest Chaka should slay him who was
called my son because of the word of the doctors. But the boy
Umslopogaas looked up and answered boldly, not as one who pleads for
his life, but as one who demands a right:--
"I have this to say, Eater-up of Enemies, and if it is not enough, let
us stop talking, and let me be killed. Thou, O king, didst command
that this woman should be slain. Those whom thou didst send to destroy
her spared her, because they thought her mad. I have carried out the
commandment of the king; I have slain her, mad or sane, whom the king
commanded should be killed, and I have earned not death, but a
"Well said, Umslopogaas!" answered Chaka. "Let ten head of cattle be
given to this boy with the heart of a man; his father shall guard them
for him. Art thou satisfied now, Umslopogaas?"
"I take that which is due to me, and I thank the king because he need
not pay unless he will," Umslopogaas answered.
Chaka stared awhile, began to grow angry, then burst out laughing.
"Why, this calf is such another one as was dropped long ago in the
kraal of Senzangacona!" he said. "As I was, so is this boy. Go on,
lad, in that path, and thou mayst find those who shall cry the royal
salute of Bayete to thee at the end of it. Only keep out of my way,
for two of a kind might not agree. Now begone!"
So we went out, but as we passed them I saw the doctors muttering
together, for they were ill-pleased and foreboded evil. Also they were
jealous of me, and wished to smite me through the heart of him who was
called my son.
THE GREAT INGOMBOCO
After this there was quiet until the Feast of the First-fruits was
ended. But few people were killed at these feast, though there was a
great Ingomboco, or witch-hunt, and many were smelt out by the witch-
doctors as working magic against the king. Now things had come to this
pass in Zululand--that the whole people cowered before the witch-
doctors. No man might sleep safe, for none knew but that on the morrow
he would be touched by the wand of an Isanusi, as we name a finder of
witches, and led away to his death. For awhile Chaka said nothing, and
so long as the doctors smelt out those only whom he wished to get rid
of--and they were many--he was well pleased. But when they began to
work for their own ends, and to do those to death whom he did not
desire to kill, he grew angry. Yet the custom of the land was that he
whom the witch-doctor touched must die, he and all his house;
therefore the king was in a cleft stick, for he scarcely dared to save
even those whom he loved. One night I came to doctor him, for he was
sick in his mind. On that very day there had been an Ingomboco, and
five of the bravest captains of the army had been smelt out by the
Abangoma, the witch-finders, together with many others. All had been
destroyed, and men had been sent to kill the wives and children of the
dead. Now Chaka was very angry at this slaying, and opened his heart
"The witch-doctors rule in Zululand, and not I, Mopo, son of
Makedama," he said to me. "Where, then, is it to end? Shall I myself
be smelt out and slain? These Isanusis are too strong for me; they lie
upon the land like the shadow of night. Tell me, how may I be free of
"Those who walk the Bridge of Spears, O king, fall off into Nowhere,"
I answered darkly; "even witch-doctors cannot keep a footing on that
bridge. Has not a witch-doctor a heart that can cease to beat? Has he
not blood that can be made to flow?"
Chaka looked at me strangely. "Thou art a bold man who darest to speak
thus to me, Mopo," he said. "Dost thou not know that it is sacrilege
to touch an Isanusi?"
"I speak that which is in the king's mind," I answered. "Hearken, O
king! It is indeed sacrilege to touch a true Isanusi, but what if the
Isanusi be a liar? What if he smell out falsely, bringing those to
death who are innocent of evil? Is it then sacrilege to bring him to
that end which he has given to many another? Say, O king!"
"Good words!" answered Chaka. "Now tell me, son of Makedama, how may
this matter be put to proof?"
Then I leaned forward, whispering into the ear of the Black One, and
he nodded heavily.
Thus I spoke then, because I, too, saw the evil of the Isanusis, I who
knew their secrets. Also, I feared for my own life and for the lives
of all those who were dear to me. For they hated me as one instructed
in their magic, one who had the seeing eye and the hearing ear.
One morning thereafter a new thing came to pass in the royal kraal,
for the king himself ran out, crying aloud to all people to come and
see the evil that had been worked upon him by a wizard. They came
together and saw this. On the door-posts of the gateway of the
Intunkulu, the house of the king, were great smears of blood. The
knees of men strong in the battle trembled when they saw it; women
wailed aloud as they wail over the dead; they wailed because of the
horror of the omen.
"Who has done this thing?" cried Chaka in a terrible voice. "Who has
dared to bewitch the king and to strike blood upon his house?"
There was no answer, and Chaka spoke again. "This is no little
matter," he said, "to be washed away with the blood of one or two and
be forgotten. The man who wrought it shall not die alone or travel
with a few to the world of spirits. All his tribe shall go with him,
down to the baby in his hut and cattle in his kraal! Let messengers go
out east and west, and north and south, and summon the witch-doctors
from every quarter! Let them summon the captains from every regiment
and the headmen from every kraal! On the tenth day from now the circle
of the Ingomboco must be set, and there shall be such a smelling out
of wizards and of witches as has not been known in Zululand!"
So the messengers went out to do the bidding of the king, taking the
names of those who should be summoned from the lips of the indunas,
and day by day people flocked up to the gates of the royal kraal, and,
creeping on their knees before the majesty of the king, praised him
aloud. But he vouchsafed an answer to none. One noble only he caused
to be killed, because he carried in his hand a stick of the royal red
wood, which Chaka himself had given him in bygone years.
 This beautiful wood is known in Natal as "red ivory."--ED.
On the last night before the forming of the Ingomboco, the witch-
doctors, male and female, entered the kraal. There were a hundred and
a half of them, and they were made hideous and terrible with the white
bones of men, with bladders of fish and of oxen, with fat of wizards,
and with skins of snakes. They walked in silence till they came in
front of the Intunkulu, the royal house; then they stopped and sang
this song for the king to hear:--
We have come, O king, we have come from the caves and the rocks
and the swamps,
To wash in the blood of the slain;
We have gathered our host from the air as vultures are gathered in
When they scent the blood of the slain.
We come not alone, O king: with each Wise One there passes a
Who hisses the name of the doomed.
We come not alone, for we are the sons and Indunas of Death,
And he guides our feet to the doomed.
Red rises the moon o'er the plain, red sinks the sun in the west,
Look, wizards, and bid them farewell!
We count you by hundreds, you who cried for a curse on the king.
Ha! soon shall we bid YOU farewell!
Then they were silent, and went in silence to the place appointed for
them, there to pass the night in mutterings and magic. But those who
were gathered together shivered with fear when they heard their words,
for they knew well that many a man would be switched with the gnu's
tail before the sun sank once more. And I, too, trembled, for my heart
was full of fear. Ah! my father, those were evil days to live in when
Chaka ruled, and death met us at every turn! Then no man might call
his life his own, or that of his wife or child, or anything. All were
the king's, and what war spared that the witch-doctors took.
The morning dawned heavily, and before it was well light the heralds
were out summoning all to the king's Ingomboco. Men came by hundreds,
carrying short sticks only--for to be seen armed was death--and seated
themselves in the great circle before the gates of the royal house.
Oh! their looks were sad, and they had little stomach for eating that
morning, they who were food for death. They seated themselves; then
round them on the outside of the circle gathered knots of warriors,
chosen men, great and fierce, armed with kerries only. These were the
When all was ready, the king came out, followed by his indunas and by
me. As he appeared, wrapped in the kaross of tiger-skins and towering
a head higher than any man there, all the multitude--and it was many
as the game on the hills--cast themselves to earth, and from every lip
sharp and sudden went up the royal salute of Bayete. But Chaka took no
note; his brow was cloudy as a mountain-top. He cast one glance at the
people and one at the slayers, and wherever his eye fell men turned
grey with fear. Then he stalked on, and sat himself upon a stool to
the north of the great ring looking toward the open space.
For awhile there was silence; then from the gates of the women's
quarters came a band of maidens arrayed in their beaded dancing-
dresses, and carrying green branches in their hands. As they came,
they clapped their hands and sang softly:--
We are the heralds of the king's feast. Ai! Ai!
Vultures shall eat it. Ah! Ah!
It is good--it is good to die for the king!
They ceased, and ranged themselves in a body behind us. Then Chaka
held up his hand, and there was a patter of running feet. Presently
from behind the royal huts appeared the great company of the Abangoma,
the witch-doctors--men to the right and women to the left. In the left
hand of each was the tail of a vilderbeeste, in the right a bundle of
assegais and a little shield. They were awful to see, and the bones
about them rattled as they ran, the bladders and the snake-skins
floated in the air behind them, their faces shone with the fat of
anointing, their eyes started like the eyes of fishes, and their lips
twitched hungrily as they glared round the death-ring. Ha! ha! little
did those evil children guess who should be the slayers and who should
be the slain before that sun sank!
On they came, like a grey company of the dead. On they came in silence
broken only by the patter of their feet and the dry rattling of their
bony necklets, till they stood in long ranks before the Black One.
Awhile they stood thus, then suddenly every one of them thrust forward
the little shield in his hand, and with a single voice they cried,
"Hail, my children!" answered Chaka.
"What seekest thou, Father?" they cried again. "Blood?"
"The blood of the guilty," he answered.
They turned and spoke each to each; the company of the men spoke to
the company of the women.
"The Lion of the Zulu seeks blood."
"He shall be fed!" screamed the women.
"The Lion of the Zulu smells blood."
"He shall see it!" screamed the women.
"His eyes search out the wizards."
"He shall count their dead!" screamed the women.
"Peace!" cried Chaka. "Waste not the hours in talk, but to the work.
Hearken! Wizards have bewitched me! Wizards have dared to smite blood
upon the gateways of the king. Dig in the burrows of the earth and
find them, ye rats! Fly through the paths of the air and find them, ye
vultures! Smell at the gates of the people and name them, ye jackals!
ye hunters in the night! Drag them from the caves if they be hidden,
from the distance if they be fled, from the graves if they be dead. To
the work! to the work! Show them to me truly, and your gifts shall be
great; and for them, if they be a nation, they shall be slain. Now
begin. Begin by companies of ten, for you are many, and all must be
finished ere the sun sink."
"It shall be finished, Father," they answered.
Then ten of the women stood forward, and at their head was the most
famous witch-doctress of that day--an aged woman named Nobela, a woman
to whose eyes the darkness was no evil, whose scent was keen as a
dog's, who heard the voices of the dead as they cried in the night,
and spoke truly of what she heard. All the other Isanusis, male and
female, sat down in a half-moon facing the king, but this woman drew
forward, and with her came nine of her sisterhood. They turned east
and west, north and south, searching the heavens; they turned east and
west, north and south, searching the earth; they turned east and west,
north and south, searching the hears of men. Then they crept round and
round the great ring like cats; then they threw themselves upon the
earth and smelt it. And all the time there was silence, silence deep
as midnight, and in it men hearkened to the beating of their hearts;
only now and again the vultures shrieked in the trees.
At length Nobela spoke:--
"Do you smell him, sisters?"
"We smell him," they answered.
"Does he sit in the east, sisters?"
"He sits in the east," they answered.
"Is he the son of a stranger, sisters?"
"He is the son of a stranger."
Then they crept nearer, crept on their hands and knees, till they were
within ten paces of where I sat among the indunas near to the king.
The indunas looked on each other and grew grey with fear; and for me,
my father, my knees were loosened and my marrow turned to water in my
bones. For I knew well who was that son of a stranger of whom they
spoke. It was I, my father, I who was about to be smelt out; and if I
was smelt out I should be killed with all my house, for the king's
oath would scarcely avail me against the witch-doctors. I looked at
the fierce faces of the Isanusis before me, as they crept, crept like
snakes. I glanced behind and saw the slayers grasping their kerries
for the deed of death, and I say I felt like one for whom the
bitterness is overpast. Then I remembered the words which the king and
I had whispered together of the cause for which this Ingomboco was
set, and hope crept back to me like the first gleam of the dawn upon a
stormy night. Still I did not hope overmuch, for it well might happen
that the king had but set a trap to catch me.
Now they were quite near and halted.
"Have we dreamed falsely, sisters?" asked Nobela, the aged.
"What we dreamed in the night we see in the day," they answered.
"Shall I whisper his name in your ears, sisters?"
They lifted their heads from the ground like snakes and nodded, and as
they nodded the necklets of bones rattled on their skinny necks. Then
they drew their heads to a circle, and Nobela thrust hers into the
centre of the circle and said a word.
"Ha! ha!" they laughed, "we hear you! His is the name. Let him be
named by it in the face of Heaven, him and all his house; then let him
hear no other name forever!"
And suddenly they sprang up and rushed towards me, Nobela, the aged
Isanusi, at their head. They leaped at me, pointing to me with the
tails of the vilderbeestes in their hands. Then Nobela switched me in
the face with the tail of the beast, and cried aloud:--
"Greeting, Mopo, son of Makedama! Thou art the man who smotest blood
on the door-posts of the king to bewitch the king. Let thy house be
I saw her come, I felt the blow on my face as a man feels in a dream.
I heard the feet of the slayers as they bounded forward to hale me to
the dreadful death, but my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth--I
could not say a word. I glanced at the king, and, as I did so, I
thought that I heard him mutter: "Near the mark, not in it."
Then he held up his spear, and all was silence. The slayers stopped in
their stride, the witch-doctors stood with outstretched arms, the
world of men was as though it had been frozen into sleep.
"Hold!" he said. "Stand aside, son of Makedama, who art named an
evildoer! Stand aside, thou, Nobela, and those with thee who have
named him evildoer! What? Shall I be satisfied with the life of one
dog? Smell on, ye vultures, company by company, smell on! For the day
the labour, at night the feast!"
I rose, astonished, and stood on one side. The witch-doctresses also
stood on one side, wonderstruck, since no such smelling out as this
had been seen in the land. For till this hour, when a man was swept
with the gnu's tail of the Isanusi that was the instant of his death.
Why, then, men asked in their hearts, was the death delayed? The
witch-doctors asked it also, and looked to the king for light, as men
look to a thunder-cloud for the flash. But from the Black One there
came no word.
So we stood on one side, and a second party of the Isanusi women began
their rites. As the others had done, so they did, and yet they worked
otherwise, for this is the fashion of the Isanusis, that no two of
them smell out in the same way. And this party swept the faces of
certain of the king's councillors, naming them guilty of the witch-
"Stand ye on one side!" said the king to those who had been smelt out;
"and ye who have hunted out their wickedness, stand ye with those who
named Mopo, son of Makedama. It well may be that all are guilty."
So these stood on one side also, and a third party took up the tale.
And they named certain of the great generals, and were in turn bidden
to stand on one side together with those whom they had named.
So it went on through all the day. Company by company the women doomed
their victims, till there were no more left in their number, and were
commanded to stand aside together with those whom they had doomed.
Then the male Isanusis began, and I could see well that by this time
their hearts were fearful, for they smelt a snare. Yet the king's
bidding must be done, and though their magic failed them here, victims
must be found. So they smelt out this man and that man till we were a
great company of the doomed, who sat in silence on the ground looking
at each other with sad eyes and watching the sun, which we deemed our
last, climb slowly down the sky. And ever as the day waned those who
were left untried of the witch-doctors grew madder and more fierce.
They leaped into the air, they ground their teeth, and rolled upon the
ground. They drew forth snakes and devoured them alive, they shrieked
out to the spirits and called upon the names of ancient kings.
At length it drew on to evening, and the last company of the witch-
doctors did their work, smelling out some of the keepers of the
Emposeni, the house of the women. But there was one man of their
company, a young man and a tall, who held back and took no share in
the work, but stood by himself in the centre of the great circle,
fixing his eyes on the heavens.
And when this company had been ordered to stand aside also together
with those whom they had smelt out, the king called aloud to the last
of the witch-doctors, asking him of his name and tribe, and why he
alone did not do his office.
"My name is Indabazimbi, the son of Arpi, O king," he answered, "and I
am of the tribe of the Maquilisini. Does the king bid me to smell out
him of whom the spirits have spoken to me as the worker of this deed?"
"I bid thee," said the king.
Then the young man Indabazimbi stepped straight forward across the
ring, making no cries or gestures, but as one who walks from his gate
to the cattle kraal, and suddenly he struck the king in the face with
the tail in his hand, saying, "I smell out the Heavens above me!"
 A Zulu title for the king.--ED.
Now a great gasp of wonder went up from the multitude, and all looked
to see this fool killed by torture. But Chaka rose and laughed aloud.
"Thou hast said it," he cried, "and thou alone! Listen, ye people! I
did the deed! I smote blood upon the gateways of my kraal; with my own
hand I smote it, that I might learn who were the true doctors and who
were the false! Now it seems that in the land of the Zulu there is one
true doctor--this young man--and of the false, look at them and count
them, they are like the leaves. See! there they stand, and by them
stand those whom they have doomed--the innocent whom, with their wives
and children, they have doomed to the death of the dog. Now I ask you,
my people, what reward shall be given to them?"
Then a great roar went up from all the multitude, "Let them die, O
"Ay!" he answered. "Let them die as liars should!"
Now the Isanusis, men and women, screamed aloud in fear, and cried for
mercy, tearing themselves with their nails, for least of all things
did they desire to taste of their own medicine of death. But the king
only laughed the more.
"Hearken ye!" he said, pointing to the crowd of us who had been smelt
out. "Ye were doomed to death by these false prophets. Now glut
yourselves upon them. Slay them, my children! slay them all! wipe them
away! stamp them out!--all! all, save this young man!"
Then we bounded from the ground, for our hearts were fierce with hate
and with longing to avenge the terrors we had borne. The doomed slew
the doomers, while from the circle of the Ingomboco a great roar of
laughter went up, for men rejoiced because the burden of the witch-
doctors had fallen from them.
At last it was done, and we drew back from the heap of the dead.
Nothing was heard there now--no more cries or prayers or curses. The
witch-fingers travelled the path on which they had set the feet of
many. The king drew near to look. He came alone, and all who had done
his bidding bent their heads and crept past him, praising him as they
went. Only I stood still, covered, as I was with mire and filth, for I
did not fear to stand in the presence of the king. Chaka drew near,
and looked at the piled-up heaps of the slain and the cloud of dust
that yet hung over them.
"There they lie, Mopo," he said. "There lie those who dared to
prophecy falsely to the king! That was a good word of thine, Mopo,
which taught me to set the snare for them; yet methought I saw thee
start when Nobela, queen of the witch-doctresses, switched death on
thee. Well, they are dead, and the land breathes more freely; and for
the evil which they have done, it is as yonder dust, that shall soon
sink again to earth and there be lost."
Thus he spoke, then ceased--for lo! something moved beneath the cloud
of dust, something broke a way through the heap of the dead. Slowly it
forced its path, pushing the slain this way and that, till at length
it stood upon its feet and tottered towards us--a thing dreadful to
look on. The shape was the shape of an aged woman, and even through
the blood and mire I knew her. It was Nobela, she who had doomed me,
she whom but now I had smitten to earth, but who had come back from
the dead to curse me!
On she tottered, her apparel hanging round her in red rags, a hundred
wounds upon her face and form. I saw that she was dying, but life
still flickered in her, and the fire of hate burned in her snaky eyes.
"Hail, king!" she screamed.
"Peace, liar!" he answered; "thou art dead!"
"Not yet, king. I heard thy voice and the voice of yonder dog, whom I
would have given to the jackals, and I will not die till I have
spoken. I smelt him out this morning when I was alive; now that I am
as one already dead, I smell him out again. He shall bewitch thee with
blood indeed, Chaka--he and Unandi, thy mother, and Baleka, thy wife.
Think of my words when the assegai reddens before thee for the last
time, king! Farewell!" And she uttered a great cry and rolled upon the
"The witch lies hard and dies hard," said the king carelessly, and
turned upon his heel. But those words of dead Nobela remained fixed in
his memory, or so much of them as had been spoken of Unandi and
Baleka. There they remained like seeds in the earth, there they grew
to bring forth fruit in their season.
And thus ended the great Ingomboco of Chaka, the greatest Ingomboco
that ever was held in Zululand.
THE LOSS OF UMSLOPOGAAS
Now, after the smelling out of the witch-doctors, Chaka caused a watch
to be kept upon his mother Unandi, and his wife Baleka, my sister, and
report was brought to him by those who watched, that the two women
came to my huts by stealth, and there kissed and nursed a boy--one of
my children. Then Chaka remembered the prophecy of Nobela, the dead
Isanusi, and his heart grew dark with doubt. But to me he said nothing
of the matter, for then, as always, his eyes looked over my head. He
did not fear me or believe that I plotted against him, I who was his
dog. Still, he did this, though whether by chance or design I do not
know: he bade me go on a journey to a distant tribe that lived near
the borders of the Amaswazi, there to take count of certain of the
king's cattle which were in the charge of that tribe, and to bring him
account of the tale of their increase. So I bowed before the king, and
said that I would run like a dog to do his bidding, and he gave me men
to go with me.
Then I returned to my huts to bid farewell to my wives and children,
and there I found that my wife, Anadi, the mother of Moosa, my son,
had fallen sick with a wandering sickness, for strange things came
into her mind, and what came into her mind that she said, being, as I
did not doubt, bewitched by some enemy of my house.
Still, I must go upon the king's business, and I told this to my wife
Macropha, the mother of Nada, and, as it was thought, of Umslopogaas,
the son of Chaka. But when I spoke to Macropha of the matter she burst
into tears and clung to me. I asked her why she wept thus, and she
answered that the shadow of evil lay upon her heart, for she was sure
that if I left her at the king's kraal, when I returned again I should
find neither her nor Nada, my child, nor Umslopogaas, who was named my
son, and whom I loved as a son, still in the land of life. Then I
tried to calm her; but the more I strove the more she wept, saying
that she knew well that these things would be so.
Now I asked her what could be done, for I was stirred by her tears,
and the dread of evil crept from her to me as shadows creep from the
valley to the mountain.
She answered, "Take me with you, my husband, that I may leave this
evil land, where the very skies rain blood, and let me rest awhile in
the place of my own people till the terror of Chaka has gone by."
"How can I do this?" I said. "None may leave the king's kraal without
the king's pass."
"A man may put away his wife," she replied. "The king does not stand
between a man and his wife. Say, my husband, that you love me no
longer, that I bear you no more children, and that therefore you send
me back whence I came. By-and-bye we will come together again if we
are left among the living."
"So be it," I answered. "Leave the kraal with Nada and Umslopogaas
this night, and to-morrow morning meet me at the river bank, and we
shall go on together, and for the rest may the spirits of our fathers
hold us safe."
So we kissed each other, and Macropha went on secretly with the
Now at the dawning on the morrow I summoned the men whom the king had
given me, and we started upon our journey. When the sun was well up we
came to the banks of the river, and there I found my wife Macropha,
and with her the two children. They rose as I came, but I frowned at
my wife and she gave me no greeting. Those with me looked at her
"I have divorced this woman," I said to them. "She is a withered tree,
a worn out old hag, and now I take her with me to send her to the
country of the Swazis, whence she came. Cease weeping," I added to
Macropha, "it is my last word."
"What says the king?" asked the men.
"I will answer to the king," I said. And we went on.
Now I must tell how we lost Umslopogaas, the son of Chaka, who was
then a great lad drawing on to manhood, fierce in temper, well grown
and broad for his years.
We had journeyed seven days, for the way was long, and on the night of
the seventh day we came to a mountainous country in which there were
few kraals, for Chaka had eaten them all up years before. Perhaps you
know the place, my father. In it is a great and strange mountain. It
is haunted also, and named the Ghost Mountain, and on the top of it is
a grey peak rudely shaped like the head of an aged woman. Here in this
wild place we must sleep, for darkness drew on. Now we soon learned
that there were many lions in the rocks around, for we heard their
roaring and were much afraid, all except Umslopogaas, who feared
nothing. So we made a circle of thorn-bushes and sat in it, holding
our assegais ready. Presently the moon came up--it was a full-grown
moon and very bright, so bright that we could see everything for a
long way round. Now some six spear-throws from where we sat was a
cliff, and at the top of the cliff was a cave, and in this cave lived
two lions and their young. When the moon grew bright we saw the lions
come out and stand upon the edge of the cliff, and with them were two
little ones that played about like kittens, so that had we not been
frightened it would have been beautiful to see them.
"Oh! Umslopogaas," said Nada, "I wish that I had one of the little
lions for a dog."
The boy laughed, saying, "Then, shall I fetch you one, sister?"
"Peace, boy," I said. "No man may take young lions from their lair and
"Such things have been done, my father," he answered, laughing. And no
more was said of the matter.
Now when the cubs had played awhile, we saw the lioness take up the
cubs in her mouth and carry them into the cave. Then she came out
again, and went away with her mate to seek food, and soon we heard
them roaring in the distance. Now we stacked up the fire and went to
sleep in our enclosure of thorns without fear, for we knew that the
lions were far away eating game. But Umslopogaas did not sleep, for he
had determined that he would fetch the cub which Nada had desired,
and, being young and foolhardy, he did not think of the danger which
he would bring upon himself and all of us. He knew no fear, and now,
as ever, if Nada spoke a word, nay, even if she thought of a thing to
desire it, he would not rest till it was won for her. So while we
slept Umslopogaas crept like a snake from the fence of thorns, and,
taking an assegai in his hand, he slipped away to the foot of the
cliff where the lions had their den. Then he climbed the cliff, and,
coming to the cave, entered there and groped his way into it. The cubs
heard him, and, thinking that it was their mother who returned, began
to whine and purr for food. Guided by the light of their yellow eyes,
he crept over the bones, of which there were many in the cave, and
came to where they lay. Then he put out his hands and seized one of
the cubs, killing the other with his assegai, because he could not
carry both of them. Now he made haste thence before the lions
returned, and came back to the thorn fence where we lay just as dawn
I awoke at the coming of the dawn, and, standing up, I looked out. Lo!
there, on the farther side of the thorn fence, looking large in the
grey mist, stood the lad Umslopogaas, laughing. In his teeth he held
the assegai, yet dripping with blood, and in his hands the lion cub
that, despite its whines and struggles, he grasped by the skin of the
neck and the hind legs.
"Awake, my sister!" he cried; "here is the dog you seek. Ah! he bites
now, but he will soon grow tame."
Nada awoke, and rising, cried out with joy at the sight of the cub,
but for a moment I stood astonished.
"Fool!" I cried at last, "let the cub go before the lions come to rend
"I will not let it go, my father," he answered sullenly. "Are there
not five of us with spears, and can we not fight two cats? I was not
afraid to go alone into their den. Are you all afraid to meet them in
"You are mad," I said; "let the cub go!" And I ran towards Umslopogaas
to take it from him. But he sprang aside and avoided me.
"I will never let that go of which I have got hold," he said, "at
least not living!" And suddenly he seized the head of the cub and
twisted its neck; then threw it on to the ground, and added, "See, now
I have done your bidding, my father!"
As he spoke we heard a great sound of roaring from the cave in the
cliff. The lions had returned and found one cub dead and the other
"Into the fence!--back into the fence!" I cried, and we sprang over
the thorn-bushes where those with us were making ready their spears,
trembling as they handled them with fear and the cold of the morning.
We looked up. There, down the side of the cliff, came the lions,
bounding on the scent of him who had robbed them of their young. The
lion ran first, and as he came he roared; then followed the lioness,
but she did not roar, for in her mouth was the cub that Umslopogaas
had assegaied in the cave. Now they drew near, mad with fury, their
manes bristling, and lashing their flanks with their long tails.
"Curse you for a fool, son of Mopo," said one of the men with me to
Umslopogaas; "presently I will beat you till the blood comes for this
"First beat the lions, then beat me if you can," answered the lad,
"and wait to curse till you have done both."
Now the lions were close to us; they came to the body of the second
cub, that lay outside the fence of thorns. The lion stopped and
sniffed it. Then he roared--ah! he roared till the earth shook. As for
the lioness, she dropped the dead cub which she was carrying, and took
the other into her mouth, for she could not carry both.
"Get behind me, Nada," cried Umslopogaas, brandishing his spear, "the
lion is about to spring."
As the words left his mouth the great brute crouched to the ground.
Then suddenly he sprang from it like a bird, and like a bird he
travelled through the air towards us.
"Catch him on the spears!" cried Umslopogaas, and by nature, as it
were, we did the boy's bidding; for huddling ourselves together, we
held out the assegais so that the lion fell upon them as he sprang,
and their blades sank far into him. But the weight of his charge
carried us to the ground, and he fell on to us, striking at us and at
the spears, and roaring with pain and fury as he struck. Presently he
was on his legs biting at the spears in his breast. Then Umslopogaas,
who alone did not wait his onslaught, but had stepped aside for his
own ends, uttered a loud cry and drove his assegai into the lion
behind the shoulder, so that with a groan the brute rolled over dead.
Meanwhile, the lioness stood without the fence, the second dead cub in
her mouth, for she could not bring herself to leave either of them.
But when she heard her mate's last groan she dropped the cub and
gathered herself together to spring. Umslopogaas alone stood up to
face her, for he only had withdrawn his assegai from the carcass of
the lion. She swept on towards the lad, who stood like a stone to meet
her. Now she met his spear, it sunk in, it snapped, and down fell
Umslopogaas dead or senseless beneath the mass of the lioness. She
sprang up, the broken spear standing in her breast, sniffed at
Umslopogaas, then, as though she knew that it was he who had robbed
her, she seized him by the loins and moocha, and sprang with him over
"Oh, save him!" cried the girl Nada in bitter woe. And we rushed after
the lioness shouting.
For a moment she stood over her dead cubs, Umslopogaas hanging from
her mouth, and looked at them as though she wondered; and we hoped
that she might let him fall. Then, hearing our cries, she turned and
bounded away towards the bush, bearing Umslopogaas in her mouth. We
seized our spears and followed; but the ground grew stony, and, search
as we would, we could find no trace of Umslopogaas or of the lioness.
They had vanished like a cloud. So we came back, and, ah! my heart was
sore, for I loved the lad as though he had indeed been my son. But I
knew that he was dead, and there was an end.
"Where is my brother?" cried Nada when we came back.
"Lost," I answered. "Lost, never to be found again."
Then the girl gave a great and bitter cry, and fell to the earth
saying, "I would that I were dead with my brother!"
"Let us be going," said Macropha, my wife.
"Have you no tears to weep for your son?" asked a man of our company.
"What is the use of weeping over the dead? Does it, then, bring them
back?" she answered. "Let us be going!"
The man thought these words strange, but he did not know that
Umslopogaas was not born of Macropha.
Still, we waited in that place a day, thinking that, perhaps, the
lioness would return to her den and that, at least, we might kill her.
But she came back no more. So on the next morning we rolled up our
blankets and started forward on our journey, sad at heart. In truth,
Nada was so weak from grief that she could hardly travel, but I never
heard the name of Umslopogaas pass her lips again during that journey.
She buried him in her heart and said nothing. And I too said nothing,
but I wondered why it had been brought about that I should save the
life of Umslopogaas from the jaws of the Lion of Zulu, that the
lioness of the rocks might devour him.
And so the time went on till we reached the kraal where the king's
business must be done, and where I and my wife should part.
On the morning after we came to the kraal, having kissed in secret,
though in public we looked sullenly on one another, we parted as those
part who meet no more, for it was in our thoughts, that we should
never see each other's face again, nor, indeed, did we do so. And I
drew Nada aside and spoke to her thus: "We part, my daughter; nor do I
know when we shall meet again, for the times are troubled and it is
for your safety and that of your mother that I rob my eyes of the
sight of you. Nada, you will soon be a woman, and you will be fairer
than any woman among our people, and it may come about that many great
men will seek you in marriage, and, perhaps, that I, your father,
shall not be there to choose for you whom you shall wed, according to
the custom of our land. But I charge you, as far as may be possible
for you to do so, take only a man whom you can love, and be faithful
to him alone, for thus shall a woman find happiness."
Here I stopped, for the girl took hold of my hand and looked into my
face. "Peace, my father," she said, "do not speak to me of marriage,
for I will wed no man, now that Umslopogaas is dead because of my
foolishness. I will live and die alone, and, oh! may I die quickly,
that I may go to seek him whom I love only!"
"Nay, Nada," I said, "Umslopogaas was your brother, and it is not
fitting that you should speak of him thus, even though he is dead."
"I know nothing of such matters, my father," she said. "I speak what
my heart tells me, and it tells me that I loved Umslopogaas living,
and, though he is dead, I shall love him alone to the end. Ah! you
think me but a child, yet my heart is large, and it does not lie to
Now I upbraided the girl no more, because I knew that Umslopogaas was
not her brother, but one whom she might have married. Only I marvelled
that the voice of nature should speak so truly in her, telling her
that which was lawful, even when it seemed to be most unlawful.
"Speak no more of Umslopogaas," I said, "for surely he is dead, and
though you cannot forget him, yet speak of him no more, and I pray of
you, my daughter, that if we do not meet again, yet you should keep me
in your memory, and the love I bear you, and the words which from time
to time I have said to you. The world is a thorny wilderness, my
daughter, and its thorns are watered with a rain of blood, and we
wander in our wretchedness like lost travellers in a mist; nor do I
know why our feet are set on this wandering. But at last there comes
an end, and we die and go hence, none know where, but perhaps where we
go the evil may change to the good, and those who were dear to each
other on the earth may become yet dearer in the heavens; for I believe
that man is not born to perish altogether, but is rather gathered
again to the Umkulunkulu who sent him on his journeyings. Therefore
keep hope, my daughter, for if these things are not so, at least sleep
remains, and sleep is soft, and so farewell."
Then we kissed and parted, and I watched Macropha, my wife, and Nada,
my daughter, till they melted into the sky, as they walked upon their
journey to Swaziland, and was very sad, because, having lost
Umslopogaas, he who in after days was named the Slaughterer and the
Woodpecker, I must lose them also.
THE TRIAL OF MOPO
Now I sat four days in the huts of the tribe whither I had been sent,
and did the king's business. And on the fifth morning I rose up,
together with those with me, and we turned our faces towards the
king's kraal. But when we had journeyed a little way we met a party of
soldiers, who commanded us to stand.
"What is it, king's men?" I asked boldly.
"This, son of Makedama," answered their spokesman: "give over to us
your wife Macropha and your children Umslopogaas and Nada, that we may
do with them as the king commands."
"Umslopogaas," I answered, "has gone where the king's arm cannot
stretch, for he is dead; and for my wife Macropha and my daughter
Nada, they are by now in the caves of the Swazis, and the king must
seek them there with an army if he will find them. To Macropha he is
welcome, for I hate her, and have divorced her; and as for the girl,
well, there are many girls, and it is no great matter if she lives or
dies, yet I pray him to spare her."
Thus I spoke carelessly, for I knew well that my wife and child were
beyond the reach of Chaka.
"You do well to ask the girl's life," said the soldier, laughing, "for
all those born to you are dead, by order of the king."
"Is it indeed so?" I answered calmly, though my knees shook and my
tongue clove to my lips. "The will of the king be done. A cut stick
puts out new leaves; I can have more children."
"Ay, Mopo; but first you must get new wives, for yours are dead also,
all five of them."
"Is it indeed so?" I answered. "The king's will be done. I wearied of
those brawling women."
"So, Mopo," said the soldier; "but to get other wives and have more
children born to you, you must live yourself, for no children are born
to the dead, and I think that Chaka has an assegai which you shall
"Is it so?" I answered. "The king's will be done. The sun is hot, and
I tire of the road. He who kisses the assegai sleeps sound."
Thus I spoke, my father, and, indeed, in that hour I desired to die.
The world was empty for me. Macropha and Nada were gone, Umslopogaas
was dead, and my other wives and children were murdered. I had no
heart to begin to build up a new house, none were left for me to love,
and it seemed well that I should die also.
The soldiers asked those with me if that tale was true which I told of
the death of Umslopogaas and of the going of Macropha and Nada into
Swaziland. They said, Yes, it was true. Then the soldiers said that
they would lead me back to the king, and I wondered at this, for I
thought that they would kill me where I stood. So we went on, and
piece by piece I learned what had happened at the king's kraal.
On the day after I left, it came to the ears of Chaka, by the mouth of
his spies, that my second wife--Anadi--was sick and spoke strange
words in her sickness. Then, taking three soldiers with him, he went
to my kraal at the death of the day. He left the three soldiers by the
gates of the kraal, bidding them to suffer none to come in or go out,
but Chaka himself entered the large hut where Anadi lay sick, having
his toy assegai, with the shaft of the royal red wood, in his hand.
Now, as it chanced, in the hut were Unandi, the mother of Chaka, and
Baleka, my sister, the wife of Chaka, for, not knowing that I had
taken away Umslopogaas, the son of Baleka, according to their custom,
these two foolish women had come to kiss and fondle the lad. But when
they entered the hut they found it full of my other wives and
children. These they sent away, all except Moosa, the son of Anadi--
that boy who was born eight days before Umslopogaas, the son of Chaka.
But they kept Moosa in the hut, and kissed him, giving him imphi to
eat, fearing lest it should seem strange to the women, my wives, if,
Umslopogaas being gone, they refused to take notice of any other
 A variety of sugar-cane.--ED.
Now as they sat this, presently the doorway was darkened, and, behold!
the king himself crept through it, and saw them fondling the child
Moosa. When they knew who it was that entered, the women flung
themselves upon the ground before him and praised him. But he smiled
grimly, and bade them be seated. Then he spoke to them, saying, "You
wonder, Unandi, my mother, and Baleka, my wife, why it is that I am
come here into the hut of Mopo, son of Makedama. I will tell you: it
is because he is away upon my business, and I hear that his wife Anadi
is sick--it is she who lies there, is it not? Therefore, as the first
doctor in the land, I am come to cure her, Unandi, my mother, and
Baleka, my sister."
Thus he spoke, eyeing them as he did so, and taking snuff from the
blade of his little assegai, and though his words were gentle they
shook with fear, for when Chaka spoke thus gently he meant death to
many. But Unandi, Mother of the Heavens, answered, saying that it was
well that the king had come, since his medicine would bring rest and
peace to her who lay sick.
"Yes," he answered; "it is well. It is pleasant, moreover, my mother
and sister, to see you kissing yonder child. Surely, were he of your
own blood you could not love him more."
Now they trembled again, and prayed in their hearts that Anadi, the
sick woman, who lay asleep, might not wake and utter foolish words in
her wandering. But the prayer was answered from below and not from
above, for Anadi woke, and, hearing the voice of the king, her sick
mind flew to him whom she believed to be the king's child.
"Ah!" she said, sitting upon the ground and pointing to her own son,
Moosa, who squatted frightened against the wall of the hut. "Kiss him,
Mother of the Heavens, kiss him! Whom do they call him, the young cub
who brings ill-fortune to our doors? They call him the son of Mopo and
Macropha!" And she laughed wildly, stopped speaking, and sank back
upon the bed of skins.
"They call him the son of Mopo and Macropha," said the king in a low
voice. "Whose son is he, then, woman?"
"Oh, ask her not, O king," cried his mother and his wife, casting
themselves upon the ground before him, for they were mad with fear.
"Ask her not; she has strange fancies such as are not meet for your
ears to hear. She is bewitched, and has dreams and fancies."
"Peace!" he answered. "I will listen to this woman's wanderings.
Perhaps some star of truth shines in her darkness, and I would see
light. Who, then, is he, woman?"
"Who is he?" she answered. "Are you a fool that ask who he is? He is--
hush!--put your ear close--let me speak low lest the reeds of the hut
speak it to the king. He is--do you listen? He is--the son of Chaka
and Baleka, the sister of Mopo, the changeling whom Unandi, Mother of
the Heavens, palmed off upon this house to bring a curse on it, and
whom she would lead out before the people when the land is weary of
the wickedness of the king, her son, to take the place of the king."
"It is false, O king!" cried the two women. "Do not listen to her; it
is false. The boy is her own son, Moosa, whom she does not know in her
But Chaka stood up in the hut and laughed terribly. "Truly, Nobela
prophesied well," he cried, "and I did ill to slay her. So this is the
trick thou hast played upon me, my mother. Thou wouldst give a son to
to me who will have no son: thou wouldst give me a son to kill me.
Good! Mother of the Heavens, take thou the doom of the Heavens! Thou
wouldst give me a son to slay me and rule in my place; now, in turn,
I, thy son, will rob me of a mother. Die, Unandi!--die at the hand
thou didst bring forth!" And he lifted the little assegai and smote it
For a moment Unandi, Mother of the Heavens, wife of Senzangacona,
stood uttering no cry. Then she put up her hand, and drew the assegai
from her side.
"So shalt thou die also, Chaka the Evil!" she cried, and fell down
dead there in the hut.
Thus, then, did Chaka murder his mother Unandi.
Now when Baleka saw what had been done, she turned and fled from the
hut into the Emposeni, and so swiftly that the guards at the gates
could not stop her. But when she reached her own hut Baleka's strength
failed her, and she fell senseless on the ground. But the boy Moosa,
my son, being overcome with terror, stayed where he was, and Chaka,
believing him to be his son, murdered him also, and with his own hand.
Then he stalked out of the hut, and leaving the three guards at the
gate, commanded a company of soldiers to surround the kraal and fire
it. This they did, and as the people rushed out they killed them, and
those who did not run out were burned in the fire. Thus, then,
perished all my wives, my children, my servants, and those who were
within the gates in their company. The tree was burned, and the bees
in it, and I alone was left living--I and Macropha and Nada, who were
Nor was Chaka yet satisfied with blood, for, as has been told, he sent
messengers bidding them kill Macropha, my wife, and Nada, my daughter,
and him who was named by son. But he commanded the messengers that
they should not slay me, but bring me living before them.
Now when the soldiers did not kill me I took counsel with myself, for
it was my belief that I was saved alive only that I might die later,
and in a more cruel fashion. Therefore for awhile I thought that it
would be well if I did that for myself which another purposed to do
for me. Why should I, who was already doomed, wait to meet my doom?
What had I left to keep me in the place of life, seeing that all whom
I loved were dead or gone? To die would be easy, for I knew the ways
of death. In my girdle I carried a secret medicine; he who eats of it,
my father, will see the sun's shadow move no more, and will never look
upon the stars again. But I was minded to know the assegai or the
kerrie; nor would I perish more slowly beneath the knives of the
tormentors, nor be parched by the pangs of thirst, or wander eyeless
to my end. Therefore it was that, since I had sat in the doom ring
looking hour after hour into the face of death, I had borne this
medicine with me by night and by day. Surely now was the time to use
So I thought as I sat through the watches of the night, ay! and drew
out the bitter drug and laid it on my tongue. But as I did so I
remembered my daughter Nada, who was left to me, though she sojourned
in a far country, and my wife Macropha and my sister Baleka, who still
lived, so said the soldiers, though how it came about that the king
had not killed her I did not know then. Also another thought was born
in my heart. While life remained to me, I might be revenged upon him
who had wrought me this woe; but can the dead strike? Alas! the dead
are strengthless, and if they still have hearts to suffer, they have
no hands to give back blow for blow. Nay, I would live on. Time to die
when death could no more be put away. Time to die when the voice of
Chaka spoke my doom. Death chooses for himself and answers no
questions; he is a guest to whom none need open the door of his hut,
for when he wills he can pass through the thatch like air. Not yet
would I taste of that medicine of mine.
So I lived on, my father, and the soldiers led me back to the kraal of
Chaka. Now when we came to the kraal it was night, for the sun had
sunk as we passed through the gates. Still, as he had been commanded,
the captain of those who watched me went in before the king and told
him that I lay without in bonds. And the king said, "Let him be
brought before me, who was my physician, that I may tell him how I
have doctored those of his house."
So they took me and led me to the royal house, and pushed me through
the doorway of the great hut.
Now a fire burned in the hut, for the night was cold, and Chaka sat on
the further side of the fire, looking towards the opening of the hut,
and the smoke from the fire wreathed him round, and its light shone
upon his face and flickered in his terrible eyes.
At the door of the hut certain councillors seized me by the arms and
dragged me towards the fire. But I broke from them, and prostrating
myself, for my arms were free, I praised the king and called him by
his royal names. The councillors sprang towards me to seize me again,
but Chaka said, "Let him be; I would talk with my servant." Then the
councillors bowed themselves on either side, and laid their hands on
their sticks, their foreheads touching the ground. But I sat down on
the floor of the hut over against the king, and we talked through the
"Tell me of the cattle that I sent thee to number, Mopo, son of
Makedama," said Chaka. "Have my servants dealt honestly with my
"They have dealt honestly, O king," I answered.
"Tell me, then, of the number of the cattle and of their markings,
Mopo, forgetting none."
So I sat and told him, ox by ox, cow by cow, and heifer by heifer,
forgetting none; and Chaka listened silently as one who is asleep. But
I knew that he did not sleep, for all the while the firelight
flickered in his fierce eyes. Also I knew that he did but torment me,
or that, perhaps, he would learn of the cattle before he killed me. At
length all the tale was told.
"So," said the king, "it goes well. There are yet honest men left in
the land. Knowest thou, Mopo, that sorrow has come upon thy house
while thou wast about my business."
"I have heard it, O king!" I answered, as one who speaks of a small
"Yes, Mopo, sorrow has come upon thy house, the curse of Heaven has
fallen upon thy kraal. They tell me, Mopo, that the fire from above
ran briskly through they huts."
"I have heard it, I king!"
"They tell me, Mopo, that those within thy gates grew mad at the sight
of the fire, and dreaming there was no escape, that they stabbed
themselves with assegais or leaped into the flames."
"I have heard it, O king! What of it? Any river is deep enough to
drown a fool!"
"Thou hast heard these things, Mopo, but thou hast not yet heard all.
Knowest thou, Mopo, that among those who died in thy kraal was she who
bore me, she who was named Mother of the Heavens?"
Then, my father, I, Mopo, acted wisely, because of the thought which
my good spirit gave me, for I cast myself upon the ground, and wailed
aloud as though in utter grief.
"Spare my ears, Black One!" I wailed. "Tell me not that she who bore
thee is dead, O Lion of the Zulu. For the others, what is it? It is a
breath of wind, it is a drop of water; but this trouble is as the gale
or as the sea."
"Cease, my servant, cease!" said the mocking voice of Chaka; "but know
this, thou hast done well to grieve aloud, because the Mother of the
Heavens is no more, and ill wouldst thou have done to grieve because
the fire from above has kissed thy gates. For hadst thou done this
last thing or left the first undone, I should have known that thy
heart was wicked, and by now thou wouldst have wept indeed--tears of
blood, Mopo. It is well for thee, then, that thou hast read my riddle
Now I saw the depths of the pit that Chaka had dug for me, and blessed
my Ehlose who had put into my heart those words which I should answer.
I hoped also that Chaka would now let me go; but it was not to be, for
this was but the beginning of my trial.
"Knowest thou, Mopo," said the king, "that as my mother died yonder in
the flames of thy kraal she cried out strange and terrible words which
came to my ears through the singing of the fire. These were her words:
that thou, Mopo, and thy sister Baleka, and thy wives, had conspired
together to give a child to me who would be childless. These were her
words, the words that came to me through the singing of the fire. Tell
me now, Mopo, where are those children that thou leddest from thy
kraal, the boy with the lion eyes who is named Umslopogaas, and the
girl who is named Nada?"
"Umslopogaas is dead by the lion's mouth, O king!" I answered, "and
Nada sits in the Swazi caves." And I told him of the death of
Umslopogaas and of how I had divorced Macropha, my wife.
"The boy with the lion eyes to the lion's mouth!" said Chaka. "Enough
of him; he is gone. Nada may yet be sought for with the assegai in the
Swazi caves; enough of her. Let us speak of this song that my mother--
who, alas! is dead, Mopo--this song she sang through the singing of
the flames. Tell me, Mopo, tell me now, was it a true tale."
"Nay, O king! surely the Mother of the Heavens was maddened by the
Heavens when she sang that song," I answered. "I know nothing of it, O
"Thou knowest naught of it, Mopo?" said the king. And again he looked
at me terribly through the reek of the fire. "Thou knowest naught of
it, Mopo? Surely thou art a-cold; thy hands shake with cold. Nay, man,
fear not--warm them, warm them, Mopo. See, now, plunge that hand of
thine into the heart of the flame!" And he pointed with his little
assegai, the assegai handled with the royal wood, to where the fire
glowed reddest--ay, he pointed and laughed.
Then, my father, I grew cold indeed--yes, I grew cold who soon should
be hot, for I saw the purpose of Chaka. He would put me to the trial
For a moment I sat silent, thinking. Then the king spoke again in a
great voice: "Nay, Mopo, be not so backward; shall I sit warm and see
thee suffer cold? What, my councillors, rise, take the hand of Mopo,
and hold it to the flame, that his heart may rejoice in the warmth of
the flame while we speak together of this matter of the child that
was, so my mother sang, born to Baleka, my wife, the sister of Mopo,
"There is little need for that, O king," I answered, being made bold
by fear, for I saw that if I did nothing death would swiftly end my
doubts. Once, indeed, I bethought me of the poison that I bore, and
was minded to swallow it and make an end, but the desire to live is
great, and keen is the thirst for vengeance, so I said to my heart,
"Not yet awhile; I will endure this also; afterwards, if need be, I
"I thank the king for his graciousness, and I will warm me at the
fire. Speak on, O king, while I warm myself, and thou shalt hear true
words," I said boldly.
Then, my father, I stretched out my left hand and plunged it into the
fire--not into the hottest of the fire, but where the smoke leapt from
the flame. Now my flesh was wet with the sweat of fear, and for a
little moment the flames curled round it and did not burn me. But I
knew that the torment was to come.
For a short while Chaka watched me, smiling. Then he spoke slowly,
that the fire might find time to do its work.
"Say, then, Mopo, thou knowest nothing of this matter of the birth of
a son to thy sister Baleka?"
"I know this only, O king!" I answered, "that a son was born in past
years to thy wife Baleka, that I killed the child in obedience to thy
word, and laid its body before thee."
Now, my father, the steam from my flesh had been drawn from my hand by
the heat, and the flame got hold of me and ate into my flesh, and its
torment was great. But of this I showed no sign upon my face, for I
knew well that if I showed sign or uttered cry, then, having failed in
the trial, death would be my portion.
Then the king spoke again, "Dost thou swear by my head, Mopo, that no
son of mine was suckled in thy kraals?"
"I swear it, O king! I swear it by thy head," I answered.
And now, my father, the agony of the fire was such as may not be told.
I felt my eyes start forward in their sockets, my blood seemed to boil
within me, it rushed into my head, and down my face their ran two
tears of blood. But yet I held my hand in the fire and made no sign,
while the king and his councillors watched me curiously. Still, for a
moment Chaka said nothing, and that moment seemed to me as all the
years of my life.
"Ah!" he said at length, "I see that thou growest warm, Mopo! Withdraw
thy hand from the flame. I am answered; thou hast passed the trial;
thy heart is clean; for had there been lies in it the fire had given
them tongue, and thou hadst cried aloud, making thy last music, Mopo!"
Now I took my hand from the flame, and for awhile the torment left me.
"It is well, O king," I said calmly. "Fire has no power of hurt on
those whose heart is pure."
But as I spoke I looked at my left hand. It was black, my father--
black as a charred stick, and the nails were gone from the twisted
fingers. Look at it now, my father; you can see, though my eyes are
blind. The hand is white, like yours--it is white and dead and
shrivelled. These are the marks of the fire in Chaka's hut--the fire
that kissed me many, many years ago; I have had but little use of that
hand since this night of torment. But my right arm yet remained to me,
my father, and, ah! I used it.
"It seems that Nobela, the doctress, who is dead, lied when she
prophesied evil on me from thee, Mopo," said Chaka again. "It seems
that thou art innocent of this offence, and that Baleka, thy sister,
is innocent, and that the song which the Mother of the Heavens sang
through the singing flames was no true song. It is well for thee,
Mopo, for in such a matter my oath had not helped thee. But my mother
is dead--dead in the flames with thy wives and children, Mopo, and in
this there is witchcraft. We will have a mourning, Mopo, thou and I,
such a mourning as has not been seen in Zululand, for all the people
on the earth shall weep at it. And there shall be a 'smelling out' at
this mourning, Mopo. But we will summon no witch-doctors, thou and I
will be witch-doctors, and ourselves shall smell out those who have
brought these woes upon us. What! shall my mother die unavenged, she
who bore me and has perished by witchcraft, and shall thy wives and
children die unavenged--thou being innocent? Go forth, Mopo, my
faithful servant, whom I have honoured with the warmth of my fire, go
forth!" And once again he stared at me through the reek of the flame,
and pointed with his assegai to the door of the hut.
THE COUNSEL OF BALEKA
I rose, I praised the king with a loud voice, and I went from the
Intunkulu, the house of the king. I walked slowly through the gates,
but when I was without the gates the anguish that took me because of
my burnt hand was more than I could bear. I ran to and fro groaning
till I came to the hut of one whom I knew. There I found fat, and
having plunged my hand in the fat, I wrapped it round with a skin and
passed out again, for I could not stay still. I went to and fro, till
at length I reached the spot where my huts had been. The outer fence
of the huts still stood; the fire had not caught it. I passed through
the fence; there within were the ashes of the burnt huts--they lay
ankle-deep. I walked in among the ashes; my feet struck upon things
that were sharp. The moon was bright, and I looked; they were the
blackened bones of my wives and children. I flung myself down in the
ashes in bitterness of heart; I covered myself over with the ashes of
my kraal and with the bones of my wives and children. Yes, my father,
there I lay, and on me were the ashes, and among the ashes were the
bones. Thus, then, did I lie for the last time in my kraal, and was
sheltered from the frost of the night by the dust of those to whom I
had given life. Such were the things that befell us in the days of
Chaka, my father; yes, not to me alone, but to many another also.
I lay among the ashes and groaned with the pain of my burn, and
groaned also from the desolation of my heart. Why had I not tasted the
poison, there in the hut of Chaka, and before the eyes of Chaka? Why
did I not taste it now and make an end? Nay, I had endured the agony;
I would not give him this last triumph over me. Now, having passed the
fire, once more I should be great in the land, and I would become
great. Yes, I would bear my sorrows, and become great, that in a day
to be I might wreak vengeance on the king. Ah! my father, there, as I
rolled among the ashes, I prayed to the Amatongo, to the ghosts of my
ancestors. I prayed to my Ehlose, to the spirit that watches me--ay,
and I even dared to pray to the Umkulunkulu, the great soul of the
world, who moves through the heavens and the earth unseen and unheard.
And thus I prayed, that I might yet live to kill Chaka as he had
killed those who were dear to me. And while I prayed I slept, or, if I
did not sleep, the light of thought went out of me, and I became as
one dead. Then there came a vision to me, a vision that was sent in
answer to my prayer, or, perchance, it was a madness born of my
sorrows. For, my father, it seemed to me that I stood upon the bank of
a great and wide river. It was gloomy there, the light lay low upon
the face of the river, but far away on the farther side was a glow
like the glow of a stormy dawn, and in the glow I saw a mighty bed of
reeds that swayed about in the breath of dawn, and out of the reeds
came men and women and children, by hundreds and thousands, and
plunged into the waters of the river and were buffeted about by them.
Now, my father, all the people that I saw in the water were black
people, and all those who were torn out of the reeds were black--they
wee none of them white like your people, my father, for this vision
was a vision of the Zulu race, who alone are "torn out of the reeds."
Now, I saw that of those who swam in the river some passed over very
quickly and some stood still, as it were, still in the water--as in
life, my father, some die soon and some live for many years. And I saw
the countless faces of those in the water, among them were many that I
knew. There, my father, I saw the face of Chaka, and near him was my
own face; there, too, I saw the face of Dingaan, the prince, his
brother, and the face of the boy Umslopogaas and the face of Nada, my
daughter, and then for the first time I knew that Umslopogaas was not
dead, but only lost.
Now I turned in my vision, and looked at that bank of the river on
which I stood. Then I saw that behind the bank was a cliff, mighty and
black, and in the cliff were doors of ivory, and through them came
light and the sound of laughter; there were other doors also, black as
though fashioned of coal, and through them came darkness and the
sounds of groans. I saw also that in front of the doors was set a
seat, and on the seat was the figure of a glorious woman. She was
tall, and she alone was white, and clad in robes of white, and her
hair was like gold which is molten in the fire, and her face shone
like the midday sun. Then I saw that those who came up out of the
river stood before the woman, the water yet running from them, and
cried aloud to her.
"Hail, Inkosazana-y-Zulu! Hail, Queen of the Heavens!"
Now the figure of the glorious woman held a rod in either hand, and
the rod in her right hand was white and of ivory, and the rod in her
left hand was black and of ebony. And as those who came up before her
throne greeted her, so she pointed now with the wand of ivory in her
right hand, and now with the wand of ebony in her left hand. And with
the wand of ivory she pointed to the gates of ivory, through which
came light and laughter, and with the wand of ebony she pointed to the
gates of coal, through which came blackness and groans. And as she
pointed, so those who greeted her turned, and went, some through the
gates of light and some through the gates of blackness.
Presently, as I stood, a handful of people came up from the bank of
the river. I looked on them and knew them. There was Unandi, the
mother of Chaka, there was Anadi, my wife, and Moosa, my son, and all
my other wives and children, and those who had perished with them.
They stood before the figure of the woman, the Princess of the
Heavens, to whom the Umkulunkulu has given it to watch over the people
of the Zulu, and cried aloud, "Hail, Inkosazana-y-Zulu! Hail!"
Then she, the Inkosazana, pointed with the rod of ivory to the gates
of ivory; but still they stood before her, not moving. Now the woman
spoke for the first time, in a low voice that was sad and awful to
"Pass in, children of my people, pass in to the judgment. Why tarry
ye? Pass in through the gates of light."
But still they tarried, and in my vision Unandi spoke: "We tarry,
Queen of the Heavens--we tarry to pray for justice on him who murdered
us. I, who on earth was named Mother of the Heavens, on behalf of all
this company, pray to thee, Queen of the Heavens, for justice on him
who murdered us."
"How is he named?" asked the voice that was low and awful.
"Chaka, king of the Zulus," answered the voice of Unandi. "Chaka, my
"Many have come to ask for vengeance on that head," said the voice of
the Queen of the Heavens, "and many more shall come. Fear not, Unandi,
it shall fall. Fear not, Anadi and ye wives and children of Mopo, it
shall fall, I say. With the spear that pierced thy breast, Unandi,
shall the breast of Chaka be also pierced, and, ye wives and children
of Mopo, the hand that pierces shall be the hand of Mopo. As I guide
him so shall he go. Ay, I will teach him to wreak my vengeance on the
earth! Pass in, children of my people--pass in to the judgment, for
the doom of Chaka is written."
Thus I dreamed, my father. Ay, this was the vision that was sent me as
I lay in pain and misery among the bones of my dead in the ashes of my
kraal. Thus it was given me to see the Inkosazana of the Heavens as
she is in her own place. Twice more I saw her, as you shall hear, but
that was on the earth and with my waking eyes. Yes, thrice has it been
given to me in all to look upon that face that I shall now see no more
till I am dead, for no man may look four times on the Inkosazana and
live. Or am I mad, my father, and did I weave these visions from the
woof of my madness? I do not know, but it is true that I seemed to see
I woke when the sky was grey with the morning light; it was the pain
of my burnt hand that aroused me from my sleep or from my stupor. I
rose shaking the ashes from me, and went without the kraal to wash
away their defilement. Then I returned, and sat outside the gates of
the Emposeni, waiting till the king's women, whom he named his
sisters, should come to draw water according to their custom. At last
they came, and, sitting with my kaross thrown over my face to hide it,
looked for the passing of Baleka. Presently I saw her; she was sad-
faced, and walked slowly, her pitcher on her head. I whispered her
name, and she drew aside behind an aloe bush, and, making pretence
that her foot was pierced with a thorn, she lingered till the other
women had gone by. Then she came up to me, and we greeted one another,
gazing heavily into each other's eyes.
"In an ill day did I hearken to you, Baleka," I said, "to you and to
the Mother of the Heavens, and save your child alive. See now what has
sprung from this seed! Dead are all my house, dead is the Mother of
the Heavens--all are dead--and I myself have been put to the torment
by fire," and I held out my withered hand towards her.
"Ay, Mopo, my brother," she answered, "but flesh is nearest to flesh,
and I should think little of it were not my son Umslopogaas also dead,
as I have heard but now."
"You speak like a woman, Baleka. Is it, then, nothing to you that I,
your brother, have lost--all I love?"
"Fresh seed can yet be raised up to you, my brother, but for me there
is no hope, for the king looks on me no more. I grieve for you, but I
had this one alone, and flesh is nearest to flesh. Think you that I
shall escape? I tell you nay. I am but spared for a little, then I go
where the others have gone. Chaka has marked me for the grave; for a
little while I may be left, then I die: he does but play with me as a
leopard plays with a wounded buck. I care not, I am weary, but I
grieve for the boy; there was no such boy in the land. Would that I
might die swiftly and go to seek him."
"And if the boy is not dead, Baleka, what then?"
"What is that you said?" she answered, turning on me with wild eyes.
"Oh, say it again--again, Mopo! I would gladly die a hundred deaths to
know that Umslopogaas still lives."
"Nay, Baleka, I know nothing. But last night I dreamed a dream," and I
told her all my dream, and also of that which had gone before the
She listened as one listens to the words of a king when he passes
judgement for life or for death.
"I think that there is wisdom in your dreams, Mopo," she said at
length. "You were ever a strange man, to whom the gates of distance
are no bar. Now it is borne in upon my heart that Umslopogaas still
lives, and now I shall die happy. Yes, gainsay me not; I shall die, I
know it. I read it in the king's eyes. But what is it? It is nothing,
if only the prince Umslopogaas yet lives."
"Your love is great, woman," I said; "and this love of yours has
brought many woes upon us, and it may well happen that in the end it
shall all be for nothing, for there is an evil fate upon us. Say now,
what shall I do? Shall I fly, or shall I abide here, taking the chance
"You must stay here, Mopo. See, now! This is in the king's mind. He
fears because of the death of his mother at his own hand--yes, even
he; he is afraid lest the people should turn upon him who killed his
own mother. Therefore he will give it out that he did not kill her,
but that she perished in the fire which was called down upon your
kraals by witchcraft; and, though all men know the lie, yet none shall
dare to gainsay him. As he said to you, there will be a smelling out,
but a smelling out of a new sort, for he and you shall be the witch-
finders, and at that smelling out he will give to death all those whom
he fears, all those whom he knows hate him for his wickedness and
because with his own hand he slew his mother. For this cause, then, he
will save you alive, Mopo--yes, and make you great in the land, for
if, indeed, his mother Unandi died through witchcraft, as he shall
say, are you not also wronged by him, and did not your wives and
children also perish by witchcraft? Therefore, do not fly; abide here
and become great--become great to the great end of vengeance, Mopo, my
brother. You have much wrong to wreak; soon you will have more, for I,
too, shall be gone, and my blood also shall cry for vengeance to you.
Hearken, Mopo. Are there not other princes in the land? What of
Dingaan, what of Umhlangana, what of Umpanda, brothers to the king? Do
not these also desire to be kings? Do they not day by day rise from
sleep feeling their limbs to know if they yet live, do they not night
by night lie down to sleep not knowing if it shall be their wives that
they shall kiss ere dawn or the red assegai of the king? Draw near to
them, my brother; creep into their hearts and learn their counsel or
teach them yours; so in the end shall Chaka be brought to that gate
through which your wives have passed, and where I also am about to
Thus Baleka spoke and she was gone, leaving me pondering, for her
words were heavy with wisdom. I knew well that the brothers of the
king went heavily and in fear of death, for his shadow was on them.
With Panda, indeed, little could be done, for he lived softly,
speaking always as one whose wits are few. But Dingaan and Umhlangana
were of another wood, and from them might be fashioned a kerrie that
should scatter the brains of Chaka to the birds. But the time to speak
was not now; not yet was the cup of Chaka full.
Then, having finished my thought, I rose, and, going to the kraal of
my friend, I doctored my burnt hand, that pained me, and as I was
doctoring it there came a messenger to me summoning me before the
I went in before the king, and prostrated myself, calling him by his
royal names; but he took me by the hand and raised me up, speaking
"Rise, Mopo, my servant!" he said. "Thou hast suffered much woe
because of the witchcraft of thine enemies. I, I have lost my mother,
and thou, thou hast lost thy wives and children. Weep, my councillors,
weep, because I have lost my mother, and Mopo, my servant, as lost his
wives and children, by the witchcraft of our foes!"
Then all the councillors wept aloud, while Chaka glared at them.
"Hearken, Mopo!" said the king, when the weeping was done. "None can
give me back my mother; but I can give thee more wives, and thou shalt
find children. Go in among the damsels who are reserved to the king,
and choose thee six; go in among the cattle of the king, and choose
thee ten times ten of the best; call upon the servants of the king
that they build up thy kraal greater and fairer than it was before!
These things I give thee freely; but thou shalt have more, Mopo--yes!
thou shalt have vengeance! On the first day of the new moon I summon a
great meeting, a bandhla of all the Zulu people: yes, thine own tribe,
the Langeni, shall be there also. Then we will mourn together over our
woes; then, too, we will learn who brought these woes upon us. Go now,
Mopo, go! And go ye also, my councillors, leaving me to weep alone
because my mother is dead!"
Thus, then, my father, did the words of Baleka come true, and thus,
because of the crafty policy of Chaka, I grew greater in the land than
ever I had been before. I chose the cattle, they were fat; I chose the
wives, they were fair; but I took no pleasure in them, nor were any
more children born to me. For my heart was like a withered stick; the
sap and strength had gone from my heart--it was drawn out in the fire
of Chaka's hut, and lost in my sorrow for those whom I had loved.
THE TALE OF GALAZI THE WOLF
Now, my father, I will go back a little, for my tale is long and winds
in and out like a river in a plain, and tell of the fate of
Umslopogaas when the lion had taken him, as he told it to me in the
The lioness bounded away, and in her mouth was Umslopogaas. Once he
struggled, but she bit him hard, so he lay quiet in her mouth, and
looking back he saw the face of Nada as she ran from the fence of
thorns, crying "Save him!" He saw her face, he heard her words, then
he saw and heard little more, for the world grew dark to him and he
passed, as it were, into a deep sleep. Presently Umslopogaas awoke
again, feeling pain in his thigh, where the lioness had bitten him,
and heard a sound of shouting. He looked up; near to him stood the
lioness that had loosed him from her jaws. She was snorting with rage,
and in front of her was a lad long and strong, with a grim face, and a
wolf's hide, black and grey, bound about his shoulders in such fashion
that the upper jar and teeth of the wolf rested on his head. He stood
before the lioness, shouting, and in one hand he held a large war-
shield, and in the other he grasped a heavy club shod with iron.
Now the lioness crouched herself to spring, growling terribly, but the
lad with the club did not wait for her onset. He ran in upon her and
struck her on the head with the club. He smote hard and well, but this
did not kill her, for she reared herself upon her hind legs and struck
at him heavily. He caught the blow upon his shield, but the shield was
driven against his breast so strongly that he fell backwards beneath
it, and lay there howling like a wolf in pain. Then the lioness sprang
upon him and worried him. Still, because of the shield, as yet she
could not come at him to slay him; but Umslopogaas saw that this might
not endure, for presently the shield would be torn aside and the
stranger must be killed. Now in the breast of the lioness still stood
the half of Umslopogaas's broken spear, and its blade was a span deep
in her breast. Then this thought came into the mind of Umslopogaas,
that he would drive the spear home or die. So he rose swiftly, for
strength came back to him in his need, and ran to where the lioness
worried at him who lay beneath the shield. She did not heed him, so he
flung himself upon his knees before her, and, seizing the haft of the
broken spear, drive it deep into her and wrenched it round. Now she
saw Umslopogaas and turned roaring, and clawed at him, tearing his
breast and arms. Then, as he lay, he heard a mighty howling, and,
behold! grey wolves and black leaped upon the lioness and rent and
worried her till she fell and was torn to pieces by them. After this
the senses of Umslopogaas left him again, and the light went out of
his eyes so that he was as one dead.
At length his mind came back to him, and with it his memory, and he
remembered the lioness and looked up to find her. But he did not find
her, and he saw that he lay in a cave upon a bed of grass, while all
about him were the skins of beasts, and at his side was a pot filled
with water. He put out his hand and, taking the pot, drank of the
water, and then he saw that his arm was wasted as with sickness, and
that his breast was thick with scars scarcely skinned over.
Now while he lay and wondered, the mouth of the cave was darkened, and
through it entered that same lad who had done battle with the lioness
and been overthrown by her, bearing a dead buck upon his shoulders. He
put down the buck upon the ground, and, walking to where Umslopogaas
lay, looked at him.
"Ou!" he said, "your eyes are open--do you, then, live, stranger?"
"I live," answered Umslopogaas, "and I am hungry."
"It is time," said the other, "since with toil I bore you here through
the forest, for twelve days you have lain without sense, drinking
water only. So deeply had the lion clawed you that I thought of you as
dead. Twice I was near to killing you, that you might cease to suffer
and I to be troubled; but I held my hand, because of a word which came
to me from one who is dead. Now eat, that your strength may return to
you. Afterwards, we will talk."
So Umslopogaas ate, and little by little his health returned to him--
every day a little. And afterwards, as they sat at night by the fire
in the cave they spoke together.
"How are you named?" asked Umslopogaas of the other.
"I am named Galazi the Wolf," he answered, "and I am of Zulu blood--
ay, of the blood of Chaka the king; for the father of Senzangacona,
the father of Chaka, was my great-grandfather."
"Whence came you, Galazi?"
"I came from Swaziland--from the tribe of the Halakazi, which I should
rule. This is the story: Siguyana, my grandfather, was a younger
brother of Senzangacona, the father of Chaka. But he quarrelled with
Senzangacona, and became a wanderer. With certain of the people of the
Umtetwa he wandered into Swaziland, and sojourned with the Halakazi
tribe in their great caves; and the end of it was that he killed the
chief of the tribe and took his place. After he was dead, my father
ruled in his place; but there was a great party in the tribe that
hated his rule because he was of the Zulu race, and it would have set
up a chief of the old Swazi blood in his place. Still, they could not
do this, for my father's hand was heavy on the people. Now I was the
only son of my father by his head wife, and born to be chief after
him, and therefore those of the Swazi party, and they were many and
great, hated me also. So matters stood till last year in the winter,
and then my father set his heart on killing twenty of the headmen,
with their wives and children, because he knew that they plotted
against him. But the headmen learned what was to come, and they
prevailed upon a wife of my father, a woman of their own blood, to
poison him. So she poisoned him in the night and in the morning it was
told me that my father lay sick and summoned me, and I went to him. In
his hut I found him, and he was writhing with pain.
"'What is it, my father?' I said. 'Who has done this evil?'
"'It is this, my son,' he gasped, 'that I am poisoned, and she stands
yonder who has done the deed.' And he pointed to the woman, who stood
at the side of the hut near the door, her chin upon her breast,
trembling as she looked upon the fruit of her wickedness.
"Now the girl was young and fair, and we had been friends, yet I say
that I did not pause, for my heart was mad within me. I did not pause,
but, seizing my spear, I ran at her, and, though she cried for mercy,
I killed her with the spear.
"'That was well done, Galazi!' said my father. 'But when I am gone,
look to yourself, my son, for these Swazi dogs will drive you out and
rob you of your place! But if they drive you out and you still live,
swear this to me--that you will not rest till you have avenged me.'
"'I swear it, my father,' I answered. 'I swear that I will stamp out
the men of the tribe of Halakazi, every one of them, except those of
my own blood, and bring their women to slavery and their children to
"'Big words for a young mouth,' said my father. 'Yet shall you live to
bring these things about, Galazi. This I know of you now in my hour of
death: you shall be a wanderer for a few years of your life, child of
Siguyana, and wandering in another land you shall die a man's death,
and not such a death as yonder witch has given to me.' Then, having
spoken thus, he lifted up his head, looked at me, and with a great
groan he died.
"Now I passed out of the hut dragging the body of the dead girl after
me. In front of the hut were gathered many headmen waiting for the
end, and I saw that their looks were sullen.
"'The chief, my father, is dead!' I cried in a loud voice, 'and I,
Galazi, who am the chief, have slain her who murdered him!' And I
rolled the body of the girl over on to her back so that they might
look upon her face.
"Now the father of the girl was among those who stood before me, he
who had persuaded her to the deed, and he was maddened at the sight.
"'What, my brothers?' he cried. 'Shall we suffer that this young Zulu
dog, this murderer of a girl, be chief over us? Never! The old lion is
dead, now for the cub!' And he ran at me with spear aloft.
"'Never!' shouted the others, and they, too, ran towards me, shaking
"I waited, I did not hasten, for I knew well that I should not die
then, I knew it from my father's last words. I waited till the man was
near me; he thrust, I sprang aside and drove my spear through him, and
on the daughter's body the father fell dead. Then I shouted aloud and
rushed through them. None touched me; none could catch me; the man
does not live who can overtake me when my feet are on the ground and I
"Yet I might try," said Umslopogaas, smiling, for of all lads among
the Zulus he was the swiftest of foot.
"First walk again, then run," answered Galazi.
"Take up the tale," quoth Umslopogaas; "it is a merry one."
"Something is left to tell, stranger. I fled from the country of the
Halakazi, nor did I linger at all in the land of the Swazis, but came
on swiftly into the Zulu. Now, it was in my mind to go to Chaka and
tell him of my wrongs, asking that he would send an impi to make an
end of the Halakazi. But while I journeyed, finding food and shelter
as I might, I came one night to the kraal of an old man who knew
Chaka, and had known Siguyana, my grandfather, and to him, when I had
stayed there two days, I told my tale. But the old man counselled me
against my plan, saying that Chaka, the king, did not love to welcome
new shoots sprung from the royal stock, and would kill me; moreover,
the man offered me a place in his kraal. Now, I held that there was
wisdom in his words, and thought no more of standing before the king
to cry for justice, for he who cries to kings for justice sometimes
finds death. Still, I would not stay in the kraal of the old man, for
he had sons to come after him who looked on me with no liking;
moreover, I wished to be a chief myself, even if I lived alone. So I
left the kraal by night and walked on, not knowing where I should go.
"Now, on the third night, I came to a little kraal that stands on the
farther side of the river at the foot of the mountain. In front of the
kraal sat a very old woman basking in the rays of the setting sun. She
Back to Full Books