"Come hither," he called, to a very old Induna (councillor), who was sitting with others in a circle round the king, but out of ear-shot. The old man rose, approached, saluted, and seated himself.
"Thou art old," said Ignosi.
"Ay, my lord the king!"
"Tell me? when thou was little, didst thou know Gagaoola, the witch doctress?"
"Ay, my lord the king!"
"How was she then - young, like thee?"
"Not so, my lord the king! She was even as now; old and dried, very ugly, and full of wickedness."
"She is no more; she is dead."
"So, O king! then is a curse taken from the land."
"Koom! I go, black puppy, who tore out the old dog's throat. Koom!"
"Ye see, my brothers," said Ignosi, "this was a strange woman, and I rejoice that she is dead. She would have let ye die in the dark place, and mayhap afterwards she had found a way to slay me, as she found a way to slay my father and set up Twala, whom her heart loved, in his place. Now go on with the tale; surely there never was the like?
After I had narrated all the story of our escape, I, as we had agreed between ourselves that I should, took the opportunity to address Ignosi as to our departure from Kukuanaland.
"And now, Ignosi, the time has come for us to bid thee farewell, and start to seek once more our own land. Behold, Ignosi, with us thou camest a servant, and now we leave thee a mighty king. If thou art grateful to us, remember to do even as thou didst promise; to rule justly, to respect the law, and to put none to death without a cause. So shalt thou prosper. To-morrow, at break of day, Ignosi, wilt thou give us an escort who shall lead us across the mountains? Is it not so, O king?"
Ignosi covered his face with his hands for a while before answering.
"My heart is sore," he said at last; "your words split my heart in twain. What have I done to ye, Incubu, Macumazahn, and Bougwan, that ye should leave me desolate? Ye who stood by me in rebellion and battle, will ye leave me in the day of peace and victory? What will ye: wives? Choose from out the land! A place to live in? Behold, the land is yours as far as ye can see. The white man's houses? Ye shall teach my people how to build them. Cattle for beef and milk? Every married man shall bring ye an ox or a cow. Wild game to hunt? Does not the elephant walk through my forests, and the river-horse sleep in the reeds? Would ye make war? My Impis (regiments) wait your word. If there is anything more that I can give, that will I give ye."
"Nay, Ignosi, we want not these things," I answered; "we would seek our own place."
"Now do I perceive," said Ignosi, bitterly, and with flashing eyes, "that it is the bright stones that ye love more than me, your friend. Ye have the stones; now would ye go to Natal and across the black water and sell them, and be rich, as it is the desire of a white man's heart to be. Cursed for your sake be the stones, and cursed he who seeks them. Death shall it be to him who sets foot in the Place of Death to seek them. I have spoken, white men; ye can go."
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