Part 5 out of 6
kraals of Chaka and Dingaan, but these came to pray and not to fight.
Now the Boers both fight and pray, also they steal, or used to steal,
which I do not understand, for the prayers of you white men say that
these things should not be done.
Well, when I had been back from the Ghost Mountain something less than
a moon, the Boers came, sixty of them commanded by a captain named
Retief, a big man, and armed with roers--the long guns they had in
those days--or, perhaps they numbered a hundred in all, counting their
servants and after-riders. This was their purpose: to get a grant of
the land in Natal that lies between the Tugela and the Umzimoubu
rivers. But, by my council and that of other indunas, Dingaan,
bargained with the Boers that first they should attack a certain chief
named Sigomyela, who had stolen some of the king's cattle, and who
lived near the Quathlamba Mountains, and bring back those cattle. This
the Boers agreed to, and went to attack the chief, and in a little
while they came back again, having destroyed the people of Sigomyela,
and driving his cattle before them as well as those which had been
stolen from the king.
The face of Dingaan shone when he saw the cattle, and that night he
called us, the council of the Amapakati, together, and asked us as to
the granting of the country. I spoke the first, and said that it
mattered little if he granted it, seeing that the Black One who was
dead had already given it to the English, the People of George, and
the end of the matter would be that the Amaboona and the People of
George would fight for the land. Yet the words of the Black One were
coming to pass, for already it seemed we could hear the sound of the
running of a white folk who should eat up the kingdom.
Now when I had spoken thus the heart of Dingaan grew heavy and his
face dark, for my words stuck in his breast like a barbed spear.
Still, he made no answer, but dismissed the council.
On the morrow the king promised to sign the paper giving the lands
they asked for to the Boers, and all was smooth as water when there is
no wind. Before the paper was signed the king gave a great dance, for
there were many regiments gathered at the kraal, and for three days
this dance went on, but on the third day he dismissed the regiments,
all except one, an impi of lads, who were commanded to stay. Now all
this while I wondered what was in the mind of Dingaan and was afraid
for the Amaboona. But he was secret, and told nothing except to the
captains of the regiment alone--no, not even to one of his council.
Yet I knew that he planned evil, and was half inclined to warn the
Captain Retief, but did not, fearing to make myself foolish. Ah! my
father, if I had spoken, how many would have lived who were soon dead!
But what does it matter? In any case most of them would have been dead
On the fourth morning, early, Dingaan sent a messenger to the Boers,
bidding them meet him in the cattle kraal, for there he would mark the
paper. So they came, stacking their guns at the gate of the kraal, for
it was death for any man, white or black, to come armed before the
presence of the king. Now, my father, the kraal Umgugundhlovu was
built in a great circle, after the fashion of royal kraals. First came
the high outer fence, then the thousands of huts that ran three parts
round between the great fence and the inner one. Within this inner
fence was the large open space, big enough to hold five regiments, and
at the top of it--opposite the entrance--stood the cattle kraal
itself, that cut off a piece of the open space by another fence bent
like a bow. Behind this again were the Emposeni, the place of the
king's women, the guard-house, the labyrinth, and the Intunkulu, the
house of the king. Dingaan came out on that day and sat on a stool in
front of the cattle kraal, and by him stood a man holding a shield
over his head to keep the sun from him. Also we of the Amapakati, the
council, were there, and ranged round the fence of the space, armed
with short sticks only--not with kerries, my father--was that regiment
of young men which Dingaan had not sent away, the captain of the
regiment being stationed near to the king, on the right.
Presently the Boers came in on foot and walked up to the king in a
body, and Dingaan greeted them kindly and shook hands with Retief,
their captain. Then Retief drew the paper from a leather pouch, which
set out the boundaries of the grant of land, and it was translated to
the king by an interpreter. Dingaan said that it was good, and put his
mark upon it, and Retief and all the Boers were pleased, and smiled
across their faces. Now they would have said farewell, but Dingaan
forbade them, saying that they must not go yet: first they must eat
and see the soldiers dance a little, and he commanded dishes of boiled
flesh which had been made ready and bowls of milk to be brought to
them. The Boers said that they had already eaten; still, they drank
the milk, passing the bowls from hand to hand.
Now the regiment began to dance, singing the Ingomo, that is the war
chant of us Zulus, my father, and the Boers drew back towards the
centre of the space to give the soldiers room to dance in. It was at
this moment that I heard Dingaan give an order to a messenger to run
swiftly to the white Doctor of Prayers, who was staying without the
kraal, telling him not to be afraid, and I wondered what this might
mean; for why should the Prayer Doctor fear a dance such as he had
often seen before? Presently Dingaan rose, and, followed by all,
walked through the press to where the Captain Retief stood, and bade
him good-bye, shaking him by the hand and bidding him hambla gachle,
to go in peace. Then he turned and walked back again towards the
gateway which led to his royal house, and I saw that near this
entrance stood the captain of the regiments, as one stands by who
waits for orders.
Now, of a sudden, my father, Dingaan stopped and cried with a loud
voice, "Bulalani Abatakati!" (slay the wizards), and having cried it,
he covered his face with the corner of his blanket, and passed behind
We, the councillors, stood astounded, like men who had become stone;
but before we could speak or act the captain of the regiment had also
cried aloud, "Bulalani Abatakati!" and the signal was caught up from
every side. Then, my father, came a yell and a rush of thousands of
feet, and through the clouds of dust we saw the soldiers hurl
themselves upon the Amaboona, and above the shouting we heard the
sound of falling sticks. The Amaboona drew their knives and fought
bravely, but before a man could count a hundred twice it was done, and
they were being dragged, some few dead, but the most yet living,
towards the gates of the kraal and out on to the Hill of Slaughter,
and there, on the Hill of Slaughter, they were massacred, every one of
them. How? Ah! I will not tell you--they were massacred and piled in a
heap, and that was the end of their story, my father.
Now I and the other councillors turned away and walked silently
towards the house of the king. We found him standing before his great
hut, and, lifting our hands, we saluted him silently, saying no word.
It was Dingaan who spoke, laughing a little as he spoke, like a man
who is uneasy in his mind.
"Ah, my captains," he said, "when the vultures plumed themselves this
morning, and shrieked to the sky for blood, they did not look for such
a feast as I have given them. And you, my captains, you little guessed
how great a king the Heavens have set to rule over you, nor how deep
is the mind of the king that watches ever over his people's welfare.
Now the land is free from the White Wizards of whose footsteps the
Black One croaked as he gave up his life, or soon shall be, for this
is but a beginning. Ho! Messengers!" and he turned to some men who
stood behind him, "away swiftly to the regiments that are gathered
behind the mountains, away to them, bearing the king's words to the
captains. This is the king's word: that the impi shall run to the land
of Natal and slay the Boers there, wiping them out, man, woman, and
Now the messengers cried out the royal salute of Bayete, and, leaping
forward like spears from the hand of the thrower, were gone at once.
But we, the councillors, the members of the Amapakati, still stood
Then Dingaan spoke again, addressing me:--
"Is thy heart at rest now, Mopo, son of Makedama? Ever hast thou
bleated in my ear of this white people and of the deeds that they
shall do, and lo! I have blown upon them with my breath and they are
gone. Say, Mopo, are the Amaboona wizards yonder all dead? If any be
left alive, I desire to speak with one of them."
Then I looked Dingaan in the face and spoke.
"They are all dead, and thou, O King, thou also art dead."
"It were well for thee, thou dog," said Dingaan, "that thou shouldst
make thy meaning plain."
"Let the king pardon me," I answered; "this is my meaning. Thou canst
not kill this white men, for they are not of one race, but of many
races, and the sea is their home; they rise out of the black water.
Destroy those that are here, and others shall come to avenge them,
more and more and more! Now thou hast smitten in thy hour; in theirs
they shall smite in turn. Now THEY lie low in blood at thy hand; in a
day to come, O King, THOU shalt lie low in blood at theirs. Madness
has taken hold of thee, O King, that thou hast done this thing, and
the fruit of thy madness shall be thy death. I have spoken, I, who am
the king's servant. Let the will of the king be done."
Then I stood still waiting to be killed, for, my father, in the fury
of my heart at the wickedness which had been worked I could not hold
back my words. Thrice Dingaan looked on me with a terrible face, and
yet there was fear in his face striving with its rage, and I waited
calmly to see which would conquer, the fear or the rage. When at last
he spoke, it was one word, "Go!" not three words, "Take him away." So
I went yet living, and with me the councillors, leaving the king
I went with a heavy heart, my father, for of all the evil sights that
I have seen it seemed to me that this was the most evil--that the
Amaboona should be slaughtered thus treacherously, and that the impis
should be sent out treacherously to murder those who were left of
them, together with their women and children. Ay, and they slew--six
hundred of them did they slay--yonder in Weenen, the land of weeping.
Say, my father, why does the Umkulunkulu who sits in the Heavens above
allow such things to be done on the earth beneath? I have heard the
preaching of the white men, and they say that they know all about Him
--that His names are Power and Mercy and Love. Why, then, does He
suffer these things to be done--why does He suffer such men as Chaka
and Dingaan to torment the people of the earth, and in the end pay
them but one death for all the thousands that they have given to
others? Because of the wickedness of the peoples, you say; but no, no,
that cannot be, for do not the guiltless go with the guilty--ay, do
not the innocent children perish by the hundred? Perchance there is
another answer, though who am I, my father, that I, in my folly,
should strive to search out the way of the Unsearchable? Perchance it
is but a part of the great plan, a little piece of that pattern of
which I spoke--the pattern on the cup that holds the waters of His
wisdom. Wow! I do not understand, who am but a wild man, nor have I
found more knowledge in the hearts of you tamed white people. You know
many things, but of these you do not know: you cannot tell us what we
were an hour before birth, nor what we shall be an hour after death,
nor why we were born, nor why we die. You can only hope and believe--
that is all, and perhaps, my father, before many days are sped I shall
be wiser than all of you. For I am very aged, the fire of my life
sinks low--it burns in my brain alone; there it is still bright, but
soon that will go out also, and then perhaps I shall understand.
THE WAR WITH THE HALAKAZI PEOPLE
Now, my father, I must tell of how Umslopogaas the Slaughterer and
Galazi the Wolf fared in their war against the People of the Halakazi.
When I had gone from the shadow of the Ghost Mountain, Umslopogaas
summoned a gathering of all his headmen, and told them it was his
desire that the People of the Axe should no longer be a little people;
that they should grow great and number their cattle by tens of
The headmen asked how this might be brought about--would he then make
war on Dingaan the King? Umslopogaas answered no, he would win the
favour of the king thus: and he told them of the Lily maid and of the
Halakazi tribe in Swaziland, and of how he would go up against that
tribe. Now some of the headmen said yea to this and some said nay, and
the talk ran high and lasted till the evening. But when the evening
was come Umslopogaas rose and said that he was chief under the Axe,
and none other, and it was his will that they should go up against the
Halakazi. If there was any man there who would gainsay his will, let
him stand forward and do battle with him, and he who conquered should
order all things. To this there was no answer, for there were few who
cared to face the beak of Groan-Maker, and so it came about that it
was agreed that the People of the Axe should make war upon the
Halakazi, and Umslopogaas sent out messengers to summon every
fighting-man to his side.
But when Zinita, his head wife, came to hear of the matter she was
angry, and upbraided Umslopogaas, and heaped curses on me, Mopo, whom
she knew only as the mouth of Dingaan, because, as she said truly, I
had put this scheme into the mind of the Slaughterer. "What!" she went
on, "do you not live here in peace and plenty, and must you go to make
war on those who have not harmed you; there, perhaps, to perish or to
come to other ill? You say you do this to win a girl for Dingaan and
to find favour in his sight. Has not Dingaan girls more than he can
count? It is more likely that, wearying of us, your wives, you go to
get girls for yourself, Bulalio; and as for finding favour, rest
quiet, so shall you find most favour. If the king sends his impis
against you, then it will be time to fight, O fool with little wit!"
Thus Zinita spoke to him, very roughly--for she always blurted out
what was in her mind, and Umslopogaas could not challenge her to
battle. So he must bear her talk as best he might, for it is often
thus, my father, that the greatest of men grow small enough in their
own huts. Moreover, he knew that it was because Zinita loved him that
she spoke so bitterly.
Now on the third day all the fighting-men were gathered, and there
might have been two thousand of them, good men and brave. Then
Umslopogaas went out and spoke to them, telling them of this
adventure, and Galazi the Wolf was with him. They listened silently,
and it was plain to see that, as in the case of the headmen, some of
them thought one thing and some another. Then Galazi spoke to them
briefly, telling them that he knew the roads and the caves and the
number of the Halakazi cattle; but still they doubted. Thereon
Umslopogaas added these words:--
"To-morrow, at the dawn, I, Bulalio, Holder of the Axe, Chief of the
People of the Axe, go up against the Halakazi, with Galazi the Wolf,
my brother. If but ten men follow us, yet we will go. Now, choose, you
soldiers! Let those come who will, and let those who will stop at home
with the women and the little children."
Now a great shout rose from every throat.
"We will go with you, Bulalio, to victory or death!"
So on the morrow they marched, and there was wailing among the women
of the People of the Axe. Only Zinita did not wail, but stood by in
wrath, foreboding evil; nor would she bid her lord farewell, yet when
he was gone she wept also.
Now Umslopogaas and his impi travelled fast and far, hungering and
thirsting, till at length they came to the land of the Umswazi, and
after a while entered the territory of the Halakazi by a high and
narrow pass. The fear of Galazi the Wolf was that they should find
this pass held, for though they had harmed none in the kraals as they
went, and taken only enough cattle to feed themselves, yet he knew
well that messengers had sped by day and night to warn the people of
the Halakazi. But they found no man in the pass, and on the other side
of it they rested, for the night was far spent. At dawn Umslopogaas
looked out over the wide plains beyond, and Galazi showed him a long
low hill, two hours' march away.
"There, my brother," he said, "lies the head kraal of the Halakazi,
where I was born, and in that hill is the great cave."
Then they went on, and before the sun was high they came to the crest
of a rise, and heard the sound of horns on its farther side. They
stood upon the rise, and looked, and lo! yet far off, but running
towards them, was the whole impi of the Halakazi, and it was a great
"They have gathered their strength indeed," said Galazi. "For every
man of ours there are three of these Swazis!"
The soldiers saw also, and the courage of some of them sank low. Then
Umslopogaas spoke to them:--
"Yonder are the Swazi dogs, my children; they are many and we are few.
Yet, shall it be told at home that we, men of the Zulu blood, were
hunted by a pack of Swazi dogs? Shall our women and children sing THAT
song in our ears, O Soldiers of the Axe?"
Now some cried "Never!" but some were silent; so Umslopogaas spoke
"Turn back all who will: there is yet time. Turn back all who will,
but ye who are men come forward with me. Or if ye will, go back all of
you, and leave Axe Groan-Maker and Club Watcher to see this matter out
Now there arose a mighty shout of "We will die together who have lived
"Do you swear it?" cried Umslopogaas, holding Groan-Maker on high.
"We swear it by the Axe," they answered.
Then Umslopogaas and Galazi made ready for the battle. They posted all
the young men in the broken ground above the bottom of the slope, for
these could best be spared to the spear, and Galazi the Wolf took
command of them; but the veterans stayed upon the hillside, and with
Now the Halakazi came on, and there were four full regiments of them.
The plain was black with them, the air was rent with their shoutings,
and their spears flashed like lightnings. On the farther side of the
slope they halted and sent a herald forward to demand what the People
of the Axe would have from them. The Slaughterer answered that they
would have three things: First, the head of their chief, whose place
Galazi should fill henceforth; secondly, that fair maid whom men named
the Lily; thirdly, a thousand head of cattle. If these demands were
granted, then he would spare them, the Halakazi; if not, he would
stamp them out and take all.
So the herald returned, and when he reached the ranks of the Halakazi
he called aloud his answer. Then a great roar of laughter went up from
the Halakazi regiments, a roar that shook the earth. The brow of
Umslopogaas the Slaughterer burned red beneath the black when he heard
it, and he shook Groan-Maker towards their host.
"Ye shall sing another song before this sun is set," he cried, and
strode along the ranks speaking to this man and that by name, and
lifting up their hearts with great words.
Now the Halakazi raised a shout, and charged to come at the young men
led by Galazi the Wolf; but beyond the foot of the slope was peaty
ground, and they came through it heavily, and as they came Galazi and
the young men fell upon them and slew them; still, they could not hold
them back for long, because of their great numbers, and presently the
battle ranged all along the slope. But so well did Galazi handle the
young men, and so fiercely did they fight beneath his eye, that before
they could be killed or driven back all the force of the Halakazi was
doing battle with them. Ay, and twice Galazi charged with such as he
could gather, and twice he checked the Halakazi rush, throwing them
into confusion, till at length company was mixed with company and
regiment with regiment. But it might not endure, for now more than
half the young men were down, and the rest were being pushed back up
the hill, fighting madly.
But all this while Umslopogaas and the veterans sat in their ranks
upon the brow of the slope and watched. "Those Swazi dogs have a fool
for their general," quoth Umslopogaas. "He has no men left to fall
back on, and Galazi has broken his array and mixed his regiments as
milk and cream are mixed in a bowl. They are no longer an impi, they
are a mob."
Now the veterans moved restlessly on their haunches, pushing their
legs out and drawing them in again. They glanced at the fray, they
looked into each other's eyes and spoke a word here, a word there,
"Well smitten, Galazi! Wow! that one is down! A brave lad! Ho! a good
club is the Watcher! The fight draws near, my brother!" And ever as
they spoke their faces grew fiercer and their fingers played with
At length a captain called aloud to Umslopogaas:--
"Say, Slaughterer, is it not time to be up and doing? The grass is wet
to sit on, and our limbs grow cramped."
"Wait awhile," answered Umslopogaas. "Let them weary of their play.
Let them weary, I tell you."
As he spoke the Halakazi huddled themselves together, and with a rush
drove back Galazi and those who were left of the young men. Yes, at
last they were forced to flee, and after them came the Swazis, and in
the forefront of the pursuit was their chief, ringed round with a
circle of his bravest.
Umslopogaas saw it and bounded to his feet, roaring like a bull. "At
them now, wolves!" he shouted.
Then the lines of warriors sprang up as a wave springs, and their
crests were like foam upon the wave. As a wave that swells to break
they rose suddenly, like a breaking wave they poured down the slope.
In front of them was the Slaughterer, holding Groan-Maker aloft, and
oh! his feet were swift. So swift were his feet that, strive as they
would, he outran them by the quarter of a spear's throw. Galazi heard
the thunder of their rush; he looked round, and as he looked, lo! the
Slaughterer swept past him, running like a buck. Then Galazi, too,
bounded forward, and the Wolf-Brethren sped down the hill, the length
of four spears between them.
The Halakazi also saw and heard, and strove to gather themselves
together to meet the rush. In front of Umslopogaas was their chief, a
tall man hedged about with assegais. Straight at the shield-hedge
drove Umslopogaas, and a score of spears were lifted to greet him, a
score of shields heaved into the air--this was a fence that none might
pass alive. Yet would the Slaughterer pass it--not alone! See! he
steadies his pace, he gathers himself together, and now he leaps! High
into the air he leaps; his feet knock the heads of the warriors and
rattle against the crowns of their shields. They smite upwards with
the spear, but he has swept over them like a swooping bird. He has
cleared them--he has lit--and now the shield-hedge guards two chiefs.
But not for long. Ou! Groan-Maker is aloft, he falls--and neither
shield nor axe may stay his stroke, both are cleft through, and the
Halakazi lack a leader.
The shield-ring wheels in upon itself. Fools! Galazi is upon you! What
was that? Look, now! see how many bones are left unbroken in him whom
the Watcher falls on full! What!--another down! Close up, shield-men--
close up! Ai! are you fled?
Ah! the wave has fallen on the beach. Listen to its roaring--listen to
the roaring of the shields! Stand, you men of the Halakazi--stand!
Surely they are but a few. So! it is done! By the head of Chaka! they
break--they are pushed back--now the wave of slaughter seethes along
the sands--now the foe is swept like floating weed, and from all the
line there comes a hissing like the hissing of thin waters. "S'gee!"
says the hiss. "S'gee! S'gee!"
There, my father, I am old. What have I do with the battle any more,
with the battle and its joy? Yet it is better to die in such a fight
as that than to live any other way. I have seen such--I have seen many
such. Oh! we could fight when I was a man, my father, but none that I
knew could ever fight like Umslopogaas the Slaughterer, son of Chaka,
and his blood-brother Galazi the Wolf! So, so! they swept them away,
those Halakazi; they swept them as a maid sweeps the dust of a hut, as
the wind sweeps the withered leaves. It was soon done when once it was
begun. Some were fled and some were dead, and this was the end of that
fight. No, no, not of all the war. The Halakazi were worsted in the
field, but many lived to win the great cave, and there the work must
be finished. Thither, then, went the Slaughterer presently, with such
of his impi as was left to him. Alas! many were killed; but how could
they have died better than in that fight? Also those who were left
were as good as all, for now they knew that they should not be
overcome easily while Axe and Club still led the way.
Now they stood before a hill, measuring, perhaps, three thousand paces
round its base. It was of no great height, and yet unclimbable, for,
after a man had gone up a little way, the sides of it were sheer,
offering no foothold except to the rock-rabbits and the lizards. No
one was to be seen without this hill, nor in the great kraal of the
Halakazi that lay to the east of it, and yet the ground about was
trampled with the hoofs of oxen and the feet of men, and from within
the mountain came a sound of lowing cattle.
"Here is the nest of Halakazi," quoth Galazi the Wolf.
"Here is the nest indeed," said Umslopogaas; "but how shall we come at
the eggs to suck them? There are no branches on this tree."
"But there is a hole in the trunk," answered the Wolf.
Now he led them a little way till they came to a place where the soil
was trampled as it is at the entrance to a cattle kraal, and they saw
that there was a low cave which led into the cliff, like an archway
such as you white men build. but this archway was filled up with great
blocks of stone placed upon each other in such a fashion that it could
not be forced from without. After the cattle were driven in it had
been filled up.
"We cannot enter here," said Galazi. "Follow me."
So they followed him, and came to the north side of the mountain, and
there, two spear-casts away, a soldier was standing. But when he saw
them he vanished suddenly.
"There is the place," said Galazi, "and the fox has gone to earth in
Now they ran to the spot and saw a little hole in the rock, scarcely
bigger than an ant-bear's burrow, and through the hole came sounds and
"Now where is the hyena who will try a new burrow?" cried Umslopogaas.
"A hundred head of cattle to the man who wins through and clears the
Then two young men sprang forward who were flushed with victory and
desired nothing more than to make a great name and win cattle,
"Here are hyenas, Bulalio."
"To earth, then!" said Umslopogaas, "and let him who wins through hold
the path awhile till others follow."
The two young men sprang at the hole, and he who reached it first went
down upon his hands and knees and crawled in, lying on his shield and
holding his spear before him. For a little while the light in the
burrow vanished, and they heard the sound of his crawling. Then came
the noise of blows, and once more light crept through the hole. The
man was dead.
"This one had a bad snake," said the second soldier; "his snake
deserted him. Let me see if mine is better."
So down he went on his hands and knees, and crawled as the first had
done, only he put his shield over his head. For awhile they heard him
crawling, then once more came the sound of blows echoing on the
ox-hide shield, and after the blows groans. He was dead also, yet it
seemed that they had left his body in the hole, for now no light came
through. This was the cause, my father: when they struck the man he
had wriggled back a little way and died there, and none had entered
from the farther side to drag him out.
Now the soldiers stared at the mouth of the passage and none seemed to
love the look of it, for this was but a poor way to die. Umslopogaas
and Galazi also looked at it, thinking.
"Now I am named Wolf," said Galazi, "and a wolf should not fear the
dark; also, these are my people, and I must be the first to visit
them," and he went down on his hands and knees without more ado. But
Umslopogaas, having peered once more down the burrow, said: "Hold,
Galazi; I will go first! I have a plan. Do you follow me. And you, my
children, shout loudly, so that none may hear us move; and, if we win
through, follow swiftly, for we cannot hold the mouth of that place
for long. Hearken, also! this is my counsel to you: if I fall choose
another chief--Galazi the Wolf, if he is still living."
"Nay, Slaughterer, do not name me," said the Wolf, "for together we
live or die."
"So let it be, Galazi. Then choose you some other man and try this
road no more, for if we cannot pass it none can, but seek food and sit
down here till those jackals bolt; then be ready. Farewell, my
"Farewell, father," they answered, "go warily, lest we be left like
cattle without a herdsman, wandering and desolate."
Then Umslopogaas crept into the hole, taking no shield, but holding
Groan-Maker before him, and at his heels crept Galazi. When he had
covered the length of six spears he stretched out his hand, and, as he
trusted to do, he found the feet of that man who had gone before and
died in the place. Then Umslopogaas the way did this: he put his head
beneath the dead man's legs and thrust himself onward till all the
body was on his back, and there he held it with one hand, gripping its
two wrists in his hand. Then he crawled forward a little space and saw
that he was coming to the inner mouth of the burrow, but that the
shadow was deep there because of a great mass of rock which lay before
the burrow shutting out the light. "This is well for me," thought
Umslopogaas, "for now they will not know the dead from the living. I
may yet look upon the son again." Now he heard the Halakazi soldiers
"The Zulu rats do not love this run," said one, "they fear the rat-
catcher's stick. This is good sport," and a man laughed.
Then Umslopogaas pushed himself forward as swiftly as he could,
holding the dead man on his back, and suddenly came out of the hole
into the open place in the dark shadow of the great rock.
"By the Lily," cried a soldier, "here's a third! Take this, Zulu rat!"
And he struck the dead man heavily with a kerrie. "And that!" cried
another, driving his spear through him so that it pricked Umslopogaas
beneath. "And that! and this! and that!" said others, as they smote
Now Umslopogaas groaned heavily in the deep shadow and lay still. "No
need to waste more blows," said the man who had struck first. "This
one will never go back to Zululand, and I think that few will care to
follow him. Let us make an end: run, some of you, and find stones to
stop the burrow, for now the sport is done."
He turned as he spoke and so did the others, and this was what the
Slaughter sought. With a swift movement, he freed himself from the
dead man and sprang to his feet. They heard the sound and turned
again, but as they turned Groan-Maker pecked softly, and that man who
had sworn by the Lily was no more a man. Then Umslopogaas leaped
forwards, and, bounding on to the great rock, stood there like a buck
against the sky.
"A Zulu rat is not so easily slain, O ye weasels!" he cried, as they
came at him from all sides at once with a roar. He smote to the right
and the left, and so swiftly that men could scarcely see the blows
fall, for he struck with Groan-Maker's beak. But though men scarcely
saw the blows, yet, my father, men fell beneath them. Now foes were
all around, leaping up at the Slaughterer as rushing water leaps to
hide a rock--everywhere shone spears, thrusting at him from this side
and from that. Those in front and to the side Groan-Maker served to
stay, but one wounded Umslopogaas in the neck, and another was lifted
to pierce his back when the strength of its holder was bowed to the
dust--to the dust, to become of the dust.
For now the Wolf was through the hole also, and the Watcher grew very
busy; he was so busy that soon the back of the Slaughterer had nothing
to fear--yet those had much to fear who stood behind his back. The
pair fought bravely, making a great slaughter, and presently, one by
one, plumed heads of the People of the Axe showed through the burrow
and strong arms mingled in the fray. Swiftly they came, leaping into
battle as otters leap to the water--now there were ten of them, now
there were twenty--and now the Halakazi broke and fled, since they did
not bargain for this. Then the rest of the Men of the Axe came through
in peace, and the evening grew towards the dark before all had passed
THE FINDING OF NADA
Umslopogaas marshalled his companies.
"There is little light left," he said, "but it must serve us to start
these conies from their burrows. Come, my brother Galazi, you know
where the conies hide, take my place and lead us."
So Galazi led the impi. Turning a corner of the glen, he came with
them to a large open space that had a fountain in its midst, and this
place was full of thousands of cattle. Then he turned again to the
left, and brought them to the inner side of the mountain, where the
cliff hung over, and here was the mouth of a great cave. Now the cave
was dark, but by its door was stacked a pile of resinous wood to serve
"Here is that which will give us light," said Galazi, and one man of
every two took a torch and lit it at a fire that burned near the mouth
of the cave. Then they rushed in, waving the flaring torches and with
assegais aloft. Here for the last time the Halakazi stood against
them, and the torches floated up and down upon the wave of war. But
they did not stand for very long, for all the heart was out of them.
Wow! yes, many were killed--I do not know how many. I know this only,
that the Halakazi are no more a tribe since Umslopogaas, who is named
Bulalio, stamped them with his feet--they are nothing but a name now.
The People of the Axe drove them out into the open and finished the
fight by starlight among the cattle.
In one corner of the cave Umslopogaas saw a knot of men clustering
round something as though to guard it. He rushed at the men, and with
him went Galazi and others. But when Umslopogaas was through, by the
light of his torch he perceived a tall and slender man, who leaned
against the wall of the cave and held a shield before his face.
"You are a coward!" he cried, and smote with Groan-Maker. The great
axe pierced the hide, but, missing the head behind, rang loudly
against the rock, and as it struck a sweet voice said:--
"Ah! soldier, do not kill me! Why are you angry with me?"
Now the shield had come away from its holder's hands upon the blade of
the axe, and there was something in the notes of the voice that caused
Umslopogaas to smite no more: it was as though a memory of childhood
had come to him in a dream. His torch was burning low, but he thrust
it forward to look at him who crouched against the rock. The dress was
the dress of a man, but this was no man's form--nay, rather that of a
lovely woman, well-nigh white in colour. She dropped her hands from
before her face, and now he could see her well. He saw eyes that shone
like stars, hair that curled and fell upon the shoulders, and such
beauty as was not known among our people. And as the voice had spoken
to him of something that was lost, so did the eyes seem to shine
across the blackness of many years, and the beauty to bring back he
knew not what.
He looked at the girl in all her loveliness, and she looked at him in
his fierceness and his might, red with war and wounds. They both
looked long, while the torchlight flared on them, on the walls of the
cave, and the broad blade of Groan-Maker, and from around rose the
sounds of the fray.
"How are you named, who are so fair to see?" he asked at length.
"I am named the Lily now: once I had another name. Nada, daughter of
Mopo, I was once; but name and all else are dead, and I go to join
them. Kill me and make an end. I will shut my eyes, that I may not see
the great axe flash."
Now Umslopogaas gazed upon her again, and Groan-Maker fell from his
"Look on me, Nada, daughter of Mopo," he said in a low voice; "look at
me and say who am I."
She looked once more and yet again. Now her face was thrust forward as
one who gazes over the edge of the world; it grew fixed and strange.
"By my heart," she said, "by my heart, you are Umslopogaas, my brother
who is dead, and whom dead as living I have loved ever and alone."
Then the torch flared out, but Umslopogaas took hold of her in the
darkness and pressed her to him and kissed her, the sister whom he
found after many years, and she kissed him.
"You kiss me now," she said, "yet not long ago that great axe shore my
locks, missing me but by a finger's-breadth--and still the sound of
fighting rings in my ears! Ah! a boon of you, my brother--a boon: let
there be no more death since we are met once more. The people of the
Halakazi are conquered, and it is their just doom, for thus, in this
same way, they killed those with whom I lived before. Yet they have
treated me well, not forcing me into wedlock, and protecting me from
Dingaan; so spare them, my brother, if you may."
Then Umslopogaas lifted up his voice, commanding that the killing
should cease, and sent messengers running swiftly with these words:
"This is the command of Bulalio: that he should lifts hand against one
more of the people of the Halakazi shall be killed himself"; and the
soldiers obeyed him, though the order came somewhat late, and no more
of the Halakazi were brought to doom. They were suffered to escape,
except those of the women and children who were kept to be led away as
captives. And they ran far that night. Nor did they come together
again to be a people, for they feared Galazi the Wolf, who would be
chief over them, but they were scattered wide in the world, to sojourn
Now when the soldiers had eaten abundantly of the store of the
Halakazi, and guards had been sent to ward the cattle and watch
against surprise, Umslopogaas spoke long with Nada the Lily, taking
her apart, and he told her all his story. She told him also the tale
which you know, my father, of how she had lived with the little people
that were subject to the Halakazi, she and her mother Macropha, and
how the fame of her beauty had spread about the land. Then she told
him how the Halakazi had claimed her, and of how, in the end, they had
taken her by force of arms, killing the people of that kraal, and
among them her own mother. Thereafter, she had dwelt among the
Halakazi, who named her anew, calling her the Lily, and they had
treated her kindly, giving her reverence because of her sweetness and
beauty, and not forcing her into marriage.
"And why would you not wed, Nada, my sister?" asked Umslopogaas, "you
who are far past the age of marriage?"
"I cannot tell you," she answered, hanging her head; "but I have no
heart that way. I only seek to be left alone."
Now Umslopogaas thought awhile and spoke. "Do you not know then, Nada,
why it is that I have made this war, and why the people of the
Halakazi are dead and scattered and their cattle the prize of my arm?
I will tell you: I am come here to win you, whom I knew only by report
as the Lily maid, the fairest of women, to be a wife to Dingaan. The
reason that I began this war was to win you and make my peace with
Dingaan, and now I have carried it through to the end."
Now when she heard these words, Nada the Lily trembled and wept, and,
sinking to the earth, she clasped the knees of Umslopogaas in
supplication: "Oh, do not this cruel thing by me, your sister," she
prayed; "take rather that great axe and make an end of me, and of the
beauty which has wrought so much woe, and most of all to me who wear
it! Would that I had not moved my head behind the shield, but had
suffered the axe to fall upon it. To this end I was dressed as a man,
that I might meet the fate of a man. Ah! a curse be on my woman's
weakness that snatched me from death to give me up to shame!"
Thus she prayed to Umslopogaas in her low sweet voice, and his heart
was shaken in him, though, indeed, he did not now purpose to give Nada
to Dingaan, as Baleka was given to Chaka, perhaps in the end to meet
the fate of Baleka.
"There are many, Nada," he said, "who would think it no misfortune
that they should be given as a wife to the first of chiefs."
"Then I am not of their number," she answered; "nay, I will die first,
by my own hand if need be."
Now Umslopogaas wondered how it came about that Nada looked upon
marriage thus, but he did not speak of the matter; he said only, "Tell
me then, Nada, how I can deliver myself of this charge. I must go to
Dingaan as I promised our father Mopo, and what shall I say to Dingaan
when he asks for the Lily whom I went out to pluck and whom his heart
desires? What shall I say to save myself alive from the wrath of
Then Nada thought and answered, "You shall say this, my brother. You
shall tell him that the Lily, being clothed in the war-dress of a
warrior, fell by chance in the fray. See, now, none of your people
know that you have found me; they are thinking of other things than
maids in the hour of their victory. This, then, is my plan: we will
search now by the starlight till we find the body of a fair maid, for,
doubtless, some were killed by hazard in the fight, and on her we will
set a warrior's dress, and lay by her the corpse of one of your own
men. To-morrow, at the light, you shall take the captains of your
soldiers and, having laid the body of the girl in the dark of the
cave, you shall show it to them hurriedly, and tell them that this was
the Lily, slain by one of your own people, whom in your wrath you slew
also. They will not look long on so common a sight, and if by hazard
they see the maid, and think her not so very fair, they will deem that
it is death which has robbed her of her comeliness. So the tale which
you must tell to Dingaan shall be built up firmly, and Dingaan shall
believe it to be true."
"And how shall this be, Nada?" asked Umslopogaas. "How shall this be
when men see you among the captives and know you by your beauty? Are
there, then, two such Lilies in the land?"
"I shall not be known, for I shall not be seen, Umslopogaas. You must
set me free to-night. I will wander hence disguised as a youth and
covered with a blanket, and if any meet me, who shall say that I am
"And where will you wander, Nada? to your death? Must we, then, meet
after so many years to part again for ever?"
"Where was it that you said you lived, my brother? Beneath the shade
of a Ghost Mountain, that men may know by a shape of stone which is
fashioned like an old woman frozen into stone, was it not? Tell me of
the road thither."
So Umslopogaas told her the road, and she listened silently.
"Good," she said. "I am strong and my feet are swift; perhaps they may
serve to bring me so far, and perhaps, if I win the shadow of that
mountain, you will find me a hut to hide in, Umslopogaas, my brother."
"Surely it shall be so, my sister," answered Umslopogaas, "and yet the
way is long and many dangers lie in the path of a maid journeying
alone, without food or shelter," and as he spoke Umslopogaas thought
of Zinita his wife, for he guessed that she would not love Nada,
although she was only his sister.
"Still, it must be travelled, and the dangers must be braved," she
answered, smiling. "Alas! there is no other way."
Then Umslopogaas summoned Galazi the Wolf and told him all this story,
for Galazi was the only man whom he could trust. The Wolf listened in
silence, marvelling the while at the beauty of Nada, as the starlight
showed it. When everything was told, he said only that he no longer
wondered that the people of the Halakazi had defied Dingaan and
brought death upon themselves for the sake of this maid. Still, to be
plain, his heart thought ill of the matter, for death was not done
with yet: there before them shone the Star of Death, and he pointed to
Now Nada trembled at his words of evil omen, and the Slaughterer grew
angry, but Galazi would neither add to them nor take away from them.
"I have spoken that which my heart hears," he answered.
Then they rose and went to search among the dead for a girl who would
suit their purpose; soon they found one, a tall and fair maiden, and
Galazi bore her in his arms to the great cave. Here in the cave were
none but the dead, and, tossed hither and thither in their last sleep,
they looked awful in the glare of the torches.
"They sleep sound," said the Lily, gazing on them; "rest is sweet."
"We shall soon win it, maiden," answered Galazi, and again Nada
Then, having arrayed her in the dress of a warrior, and put a shield
and spear by her, they laid down the body of the girl in a dark place
in the cave, and, finding a dead warrior of the People of the Axe,
placed him beside her. Now they left the cave, and, pretending that
they visited the sentries, Umslopogaas and Galazi passed from spot to
spot, while the Lily walked after them like a guard, hiding her face
with a shield, holding a spear in her hand, and having with her a bag
of corn and dried flesh.
So they passed on, till at length they came to the entrance in the
mountain side. The stones that had blocked it were pulled down so as
to allow those of the Halakazi to fly who had been spared at the
entreaty of Nada, but there were guards by the entrance to watch that
none came back. Umslopogaas challenged them, and they saluted him, but
he saw that they were worn out with battle and journeying, and knew
little of what they saw or said. Then he, Galazi, and Nada and passed
through the opening on to the plain beyond.
Here the Slaughterer and the Lily bade each other farewell, while
Galazi watched, and presently the Wolf saw Umslopogaas return as one
who is heavy at heart, and caught sight of the Lily skimming across
the plain lightly like a swallow.
"I do not know when we two shall meet again," said Umslopogaas so soon
as she had melted into the shadows of the night.
"May you never meet," answered Galazi, "for I am sure that if you meet
that sister of yours will bring death on many more than those who now
lie low because of her loveliness. She is a Star of Death, and when
she sets the sky shall be blood red."
Umslopogaas did not answer, but walked slowly through the archway in
the mountain side.
"How is this, chief?" said he who was captain of the guard. "Three
went out, but only two return."
"Fool!" answered Umslopogaas. "Are you drunk with Halakazi beer, or
blind with sleep? Two went out, and two return. I sent him who was
with us back to the camp."
"So be it, father," said the captain. "Two went out, and two return.
All is well!"
THE STAMPING OF THE FIRE
On the morrow the impi awoke refreshed with sleep, and, after they had
eaten, Umslopogaas mustered them. Alas! nearly half of those who had
seen the sun of yesterday would wake no more forever. The Slaughterer
mustered them and thanked them for that which they had done, winning
fame and cattle. They were merry, recking little of those who were
dead, and sang his praises and the praises of Galazi in a loud song.
When the song was ended Umslopogaas spoke to them again, saying that
the victory was great, and the cattle they had won were countless. Yet
something was lacking--she was lacking whom he came to seek to be a
gift to Dingaan the king, and for whose sake this war was made. Where
now was the Lily? Yesterday she had been here, clad in a moocha like a
man and bearing a shield; this he knew from the captives. Where, then,
was she now?
Then all the soldiers said that they had seen nothing of her. When
they had done, Galazi spoke a word, as was agreed between him and
Umslopogaas. He said that when they stormed the cave he had seen a man
run at a warrior in the cave to kill him. Then as he came, he who was
about to be slain threw down the shield and cried for mercy, and
Galazi knew that this was no warrior of the Halakazi, but a very
beautiful girl. So he called to the man to let her alone and not to
touch her, for the order was that no women should be killed. But the
soldier, being made with the lust of fight, shouted that maid or man
she should die, and slew her. Thereon, he--Galazi--in his wrath ran up
and smote the man with the Watcher and killed him also, and he prayed
that he had done no wrong.
"You have done well, my brother," said Umslopogaas. "Come now, some of
you, and let us look at this dead girl. Perhaps it is the Lily, and if
so that is unlucky for us, for I do not know what tale we shall tell
to Dingaan of the matter."
So the captains went with Umslopogaas and Galazi, and came to the spot
where the girl had been laid, and by her the man of the People of the
"All is as the Wolf, my brother, has told," said Umslopogaas, waving
the torch in his hand over the two who lay dead. "Here, without a
doubt, lies she who was named the Lily, whom we came to win, and by
her that fool who slew her, slain himself by the blow of the Watcher.
An ill sight to see, and an ill tale for me to tell at the kraal of
Dingaan. Still, what is is, and cannot be altered; and this maid who
was the fairest of the fair is now none to lovely to look on. Let us
away!" And he turned swiftly, then spoke again, saying:--
"Bind up this dead girl in ox hides, cover her with salt, and let her
be brought with us." And they did so.
Then the captains said: "Surely it is so, my father; now it cannot be
altered, and Dingaan must miss his bride." So said they all except
that man who had been captain of the guard when Umslopogaas and Galazi
and another passed through the archway. This man, indeed, said
nothing, yet he was not without his thoughts. For it seemed to him
that he had seen three pass through the archway, and not two. It
seemed to him, moreover, that the kaross which the third wore had
slipped aside as she pressed past him, and that beneath it he had seen
the shape of a beautiful woman, and above it had caught the glint of a
woman's eye--an eye full and dark, like a buck's.
Also, this captain noted that Bulalio called none of the captives to
swear to the body of the Lily maid, and that he shook the torch to and
fro as he held it over her--he whose hand was of the steadiest. All of
this he kept in his mind, forgetting nothing.
Now it chanced afterwards, on the homeward march, my father, that
Umslopogaas had cause to speak angrily to this man, because he tried
to rob another of his share of the spoil of the Halakazi. He spoke
sharply to him, degrading him from his rank, and setting another over
him. Also he took cattle from the man, and gave them to him whom he
would have robbed.
And thereafter, though he was justly served, this man thought more and
more of the third who had passed through the arch of the cave and had
not returned, and who seemed to him to have a fair woman's shape, and
eyes which gleamed like those of a woman.
On that day, then, Umslopogaas began his march to the kraal
Umgugundhlovu, where Dingaan sat. But before he set his face
homewards, in the presence of the soldiers, he asked Galazi the Wolf
if he would come back with him, or if he desired to stay to be chief
of the Halakazi, as he was by right of birth and war. Then the Wolf
laughed, and answered that he had come out to seek for vengeance, and
not for the place of a chief, also that there were few of the Halakazi
people left over whom he might rule if he wished. Moreover, he added
this: that, like twin trees, they two blood-brethren had grown up side
by side till their roots were matted together, and that, were one of
them dug up and planted in Swazi soil, he feared lest both should
wither, or, at the last, that he, Galazi, would wither, who loved but
one man and certain wolves.
So Umslopogaas said no more of the chieftainship, but began his
journey. With him he brought a great number of cattle, to be a gift
for Dingaan, and a multitude of captives, young women and children,
for he would appease the heart of Dingaan, because he did not bring
her whom he sought--the Lily, flower of flowers. Yet, because he was
cautious and put little faith in the kindness of kings, Umslopogaas,
so soon as he reached the borders of Zululand, sent the best of the
cattle and the fairest of the maids and children on to the kraal of
the People of the Axe by the Ghost Mountain. And he who had been
captain of the guard but now was a common soldier noticed this also.
Now it chanced that on a certain morning I, Mopo, sat in the kraal
Umgugundhlovu in attendance on Dingaan. For still I waited on the
king, though he had spoken no word to me, good or bad, since the
yesterday, when I foretold to him that in the blood of the white men
whom he had betrayed grew the flower of his own death. For, my father,
it was on the morrow of the slaying of the Amaboona that Umslopogaas
came to the kraal Umgugundhlovu.
Now the mind of Dingaan was heavy, and he sought something to lighten
it. Presently he bethought himself of the white praying man, who had
come to the kraal seeking to teach us people of the Zulu to worship
other gods than the assegai and the king. Now this was a good man, but
no luck went with his teaching, which was hard to understand; and,
moreover, the indunas did not like it, because it seemed to set a
master over the master, and a king over the king, and to preach of
peace to those whose trade was war. Still, Dingaan sent for the white
man that he might dispute with him, for Dingaan thought that he
himself was the cleverest of all men.
Now the white man came, but his face was pale, because of that which
he had seen befall the Boers, for he was gentle and hated such sights.
The king bade him be seated and spoke to him saying:--
"The other day, O White Man, thou toldest me of a place of fire
whither those go after death who have done wickedly in life. Tell me
now of thy wisdom, do my fathers lie in that place?"
"How can I know, King," answered the prayer-doctor, "who may not judge
of the deeds of men? This I say only: that those who murder and rob
and oppress the innocent and bear false witness shall lie in that
place of fire."
"It seems that my fathers have done all these things, and if they are
in this place I would go there also, for I am minded to be with my
fathers at the last. Yet I think that I should find a way to escape if
ever I came there."
Now Dingaan had set this trap for the prayer-doctor. In the centre of
that open space where he had caused the Boers to be fallen upon he had
built up a great pyre of wood--brushwood beneath, and on top of the
brushwood logs, and even whole trees. Perhaps, my father, there were
sixty full wagonloads of dry wood piled together there in the centre
of the place.
"Thou shalt see with thine eyes, White Man," he answered, and bidding
attendants set fire to the pile all round, he summoned that regiment
of young men which was left in the kraal. Maybe there were a thousand
and half a thousand of them--not more--the same that had slain the
Now the fire began to burn fiercely, and the regiment filed in and
took its place in ranks. By the time that all had come, the pyre was
everywhere a sheet of raging flame, and, though we sat a hundred paces
from it, its heat was great when the wind turned our way.
"Now, Doctor of Prayers, is thy hot place hotter than yonder fire?"
said the king.
He answered that he did not know, but the fire was certainly hot.
"Then I will show thee how I will come out of it if ever I go to lie
in such a fire--ay, though it be ten times as big and fierce. Ho! my
children!" he cried to the soldiers, and, springing up, "You see
yonder fire. Run swiftly and stamp it flat with your feet. Where there
was fire let there be blackness and ashes."
Now the White Man lifted his hands and prayed Dingaan not to do this
thing that should be the death of many, but the king bade him be
silent. Then he turned his eyes upward and prayed to his gods. For a
moment also the soldiers looked on each other in doubt, for the fire
raged furiously, and spouts of flame shot high toward the heaven, and
above it and about it the hot air danced. But their captain called to
them loudly: "Great is the king! Hear the words of the king, who
honours you! Yesterday we ate up the Amaboona--it was nothing, they
were unarmed. There is a foe more worthy of our valour. Come, my
children, let us wash in the fire--we who are fiercer than the fire!
Great is the king who honours us!"
Thus he spoke and ran forward, and, with a roar, after him sprang the
soldiers, rank by rank. They were brave men indeed; moreover, they
knew that if death lay before them death also awaited him who lagged
behind, and it is far better to die with honour than ashamed. On they
went, as to the joy of battle, their captain leading them, and as they
went they sang the Ingomo, the war-chant of the Zulu. Now the captain
neared the raging fire; we saw him lift his shield to keep off its
heat. Then he was gone--he had sprung into the heart of the furnace,
and but little of him was ever found again. After him went the first
company. In they went, beating at the flames with their ox-hide
shields, stamping them out with their naked feet, tearing down the
burning logs and casting them aside. Not one man of that company
lived, my father; they fell down like moths which flutter through a
candle, and where they fell they perished. But after them came other
companies, and it was well for those in this fight who were last to
grapple with the foe. Now a great smoke was mixed with the flame, now
the flame grew less and less, and the smoke more and more; and now
blackened men, hairless, naked, and blistered, white with the
scorching of the fire, staggered out on the farther side of the
flames, falling to earth here and there. After them came others; now
there was no flame, only a great smoke in which men moved dimly; and
presently, my father, it was done: they had conquered the fire, and
that with but very little hurt to the last seven companies, though
every man had trodden it. How many perished?--nay, I know not, they
were never counted; but what between the dead and the injured that
regiment was at half strength till the king drafted more men into it.
"See, Doctor of Prayers," said Dingaan, with a laugh, "thus shall I
escape the fires of that land of which thou tellest, if such there be
indeed: I will bid my impis stamp them out."
Then the praying man went from the kraal saying that he would teach no
more among the Zulus, and afterwards he left the land. When he had
gone the burnt wood and the dead were cleared away, the injured were
doctored or killed according to their hurts, and those who had little
harm came before the king and praised him.
"New shields and headresses must be found for you, my children," said
Dingaan, for the shields were black and shrivelled, and of heads of
hair and plumes there were but few left among that regiment.
"Wow!" said Dingaan again, looking at the soldiers who still lived:
"shaving will be easy and cheap in that place of fire of which the
white man speaks."
Then he ordered bear to be brought to the men, for the heat had made
Now though you may not guess it, my father, I have told you this tale
because it has something to do with my story; for scarcely had the
matter been ended when messengers came, saying that Bulalio, chief of
the People of the Axe, and his impi were without, having returned with
much spoil from the slaying of the Halakazi in Swaziland. Now when I
heard this my heart leapt for joy, seeing that I had feared greatly
for the fate of Umslopogaas, my fosterling. Dingaan also was very
glad, and, springing up, danced to and fro like a child.
"Now at last we have good tidings," he said, at once forgetting the
stamping of the fire, "and now shall my eyes behold that Lily whom my
hand has longed to pluck. Let Bulalio and his people enter swiftly."
For awhile there was silence; then from far away, without the high
fence of the great place, there came a sound of singing, and through
the gates of the kraal rushed two great men, wearing black plumes upon
their heads, having black shields in their left hands, and in their
right, one an axe and one a club; while about their shoulders were
bound wolf-skins. They ran low, neck and neck, with outstretched
shields and heads held forward, as a buck runs when he is hard pressed
by dogs, and no such running had been seen in the kraal Umgugundhlovu
as the running of the Wolf-Brethren. Half across the space they ran,
and halted suddenly, and, as they halted, the dead ashes of the fire
flew up before their feet in a little cloud.
"By my head! look, these come armed before me!" said Dingaan,
frowning, "and to do this is death. Now say who is that man, great and
fierce, who bears an axe aloft? Did I not know him dead I should say
it was the Black One, my brother, as he was in the days of the smiting
of Zwide: so was his head set on his shoulders and so he was wont to
look round, like a lion."
"I think that is Bulalio the Slaughterer, chief of the People of the
Axe, O King," I answered.
"And who is the other with him? He is a great man also. Never have I
seen such a pair!"
"I think that is Galazi the Wolf, he who is blood-brother to the
Slaughterer, and his general," I said again.
Now after these two came the soldiers of the People of the Axe, armed
with short sticks alone. Four by four they came, all holding their
heads low, and with black shields outstretched, and formed themselves
into companies behind the Wolf-Brethren, till all were there. Then,
after them, the crowd of the Halakazi slaves were driven in,--women,
boys, and maids, a great number--and they stood behind the ranks
huddled together like frightened calves.
"A gallant sight, truly!" said Dingaan, as he looked upon the
companies of black-plumed and shielded warriors. "I have no better
soldiers in my impis, and yet my eyes behold these for the first
time," and again he frowned.
Now suddenly Umslopogaas lifted his axe and started forward at full
speed, and after him thundered the companies. On they rushed, and
their plumes lay back upon the wind, till it seemed as though they
must stamp us flat. But when he was within ten paces of the king
Umslopogaas lifted Groan-Maker again, and Galazi held the Watcher on
high, and every man halted where he was, while once more the dust flew
up in clouds. They halted in long, unbroken lines, with outstretched
shields and heads held low; no man's head rose more than the length of
a dance kerrie from the earth. So they stood one minute, then, for the
third time, Umslopogaas lifted Groan-Maker, and in an instant every
man straightened himself, each shield was tossed on high, and from
every throat was roared the royal salute, "Bayete!"
"A pretty sight forsooth," quoth Dingaan; "but these soldiers are too
well drilled who have never done me service nor the Black One who was
before me, and this Slaughterer is too good a captain, I say. Come
hither, ye twain!" he cried aloud.
Then the Wolf-Brethren strode forward and stood before the king, and
for awhile they looked upon each other.
THE LILY IS BROUGHT TO DINGAAN
"How are you named?" said Dingaan.
"We are named Bulalio the Slaughterer and Galazi the Wolf, O King,"
"Was it thou who didst send a certain message to the Black One who is
"Yea, O King, I sent a message, but from all I have heard, Masilo, my
messenger, gave more than the message, for he stabbed the Black One.
Masilo had an evil heart."
Now Dingaan winced, for he knew well that he himself and one Mopo had
stabbed the Black One, but he thought that this outland chief had not
heard the tale, so he said no more of the message.
"How is it that ye dare to come before me armed? Know ye not the rule
that he who appears armed before the king dies?"
"We have not heard that law, O King," said Umslopogaas. "Moreover,
there is this to be told: my virtue of the axe I bear I rule alone. If
I am seen without the axe, then any man may take my place who can, for
the axe is chieftainess of the People of the Axe, and he who holds it
is its servant."
"A strange custom," said Dingaan, "but let it pass. And thou, Wolf,
what hast thou to say of that great club of thine?"
"There is this to be told of the club, O King," answered Galazi: "by
virtue of the club I guard my life. If I am seen without the club,
then may any man take my life who can, for the club is my Watcher, not
I Watcher of the club."
"Never wast thou nearer to the losing of both club and life," said
"It may be so, O King," answered the Wolf. "When the hour is, then,
without a doubt, the Watcher shall cease from his watching."
"Ye are a strange pair," quoth Dingaan. "Where have you been now, and
what is your business at the Place of the Elephant?"
"We have been in a far country, O King!" answered Umslopogaas. "We
have wandered in a distant land to search for a Flower to be a gift to
a king, and in our searching we have trampled down a Swazi garden, and
yonder are some of those who tended it"--and he pointed to the
captives--"and without are the cattle that ploughed it."
"Good, Slaughterer! I see the gardeners, and I hear the lowing of the
cattle, but what of the Flower? Where is this Flower ye went so far to
dig in Swazi soil? Was it a Lily-bloom, perchance?"
"It was a Lily-bloom, O King! and yet, alas! the Lily has withered.
Nothing is left but the stalk, white and withered as are the bones of
"What meanest thou?" said Dingaan, starting to his feet.
"That the king shall learn," answered Umslopogaas; and, turning, he
spoke a word to the captains who were behind him. Presently the ranks
opened up, and four men ran forward from the rear of the companies. On
their shoulders they bore a stretcher, and upon the stretcher lay
something wrapped about with raw ox-hides, and bound round with
rimpis. The men saluted, and laid their burden down before the king.
"Open!" said the Slaughterer; and they opened, and there within the
hides, packed in salt, lay the body of a girl who once was tall and
"Here lies the Lily's stalk, O King!" said Umslopogaas, pointing with
the axe, "but if her flower blooms on any air, it is not here."
Now Dingaan stared at the sight of death, and bitterness of heart took
hold of him, since he desired above all things to win the beauty of
the Lily for himself.
"Bear away this carrion and cast it to the dogs!" he cried, for thus
he could speak of her whom he would have taken to wife, when once he
deemed her dead. "Take it away, and thou, Slaughterer, tell me how it
came about that the maid was slain. It will be well for thee if thou
hast a good answer, for know thy life hangs on the words."
So Umslopogaas told the king all that tale which had been made ready
against the wrath of Dingaan. And when he had finished Galazi told his
story, of how he had seen the soldier kill the maid, and in his wrath
had killed the soldier. Then certain of the captains who had seen the
soldier and the maid lying in one death came forward and spoke to it.
Now Dingaan was very angry, and yet there was nothing to be done. The
Lily was dead, and by no fault of any except of one, who was also dead
and beyond his reach.
"Get you hence, you and your people," he said to the Wolf-Brethren. "I
take the cattle and the captives. Be thankful that I do not take all
your lives also--first, because ye have dared to make war without my
word, and secondly, because, having made war, ye have so brought it
about that, though ye bring me the body of her I sought, ye do not
bring the life."
Now when the king spoke of taking the lives of all the People of the
Axe, Umslopogaas smiled grimly and glanced at his companies. Then
saluting the king, he turned to go. But as he turned a man sprang
forwards from the ranks and called to Dingaan, saying:--
"Is it granted that I may speak truth before the king, and afterwards
sleep in the king's shadow?"
Now this was that man who had been captain of the guard on the night
when three passed out through the archway and two returned, that same
man whom Umslopogaas had degraded from his rank.
"Speak on, thou art safe," answered Dingaan.
"O King, thy ears have been filled with lies," said the soldier.
"Hearken, O King! I was captain of the guard of the gate on that night
of the slaying of the Halakazi. Three came to the gate of the mountain
--they were Bulalio, the Wolf Galazi, and another. That other was tall
and slim, bearing a shield high--so. As the third passed the gate, the
kaross he wore brushed against me and slipped aside. Beneath that
kaross was no man's breast, O King, but the shape of a woman, almost
white in colour, and very fair. In drawing back the kaross this third
one moved the shield. Behind that shield was no man's face, O King,
but the face of a girl, lovelier than the moon, and having eyes
brighter than the stars. Three went out at the mountain gate, O King,
only two returned, and, peeping after them, it seemed that I saw the
third running swiftly across the plains, as a young maid runs, O King.
This also, Elephant, Bulalio yonder denied me when, as captain of the
guard, I asked for the third who had passed the gate, saying that only
two had passed. Further, none of the captives were called to swear to
the body of the maid, and now it is too late, and that man who lay
beside her was not killed by Galazi in the cave. He was killed outside
the cave by a blow of a Halakazi kerrie. I saw him fall with my own
eyes, and slew the man who smote him. One thing more, King of the
World, the best of the captives and the cattle are not here for a gift
to thee--they are at the kraal of Bulalio, Chief of the People of the
Axe. I have spoken, O King, yes, because my heart loves not lies. I
have spoken the truth, and now do thou protect me from these Wolf-
Brethren, O King, for they are very fierce."
Now all this while that the traitor told his tale Umslopogaas, inch by
inch, was edging near to him and yet nearer, till at length he might
have touched him with an outstretched spear. None noted him except I,
Mopo, alone, and perhaps Galazi, for all were watching the face of
Dingaan as men watch a storm that is about to burst.
"Fear thou not the Wolf-Brethren, soldier," gasped Dingaan, rolling
his red eyes; "the paw of the Lion guards thee, my servant."
Ere the words had left the king's lips the Slaughterer leapt. He
leaped full on to the traitor, speaking never a word, and oh! his eyes
were awful. He leaped upon him, he seized him with his hands, lifting
no weapon, and in his terrible might he broke him as a child breaks a
stick--nay, I know not how, it was too swift to see. He broke him,
and, hurling him on high, cast him dead at the feet of Dingaan, crying
in a great voice:--
"Take thy servant, King! Surely he 'sleeps in thy shadow'!"
Then there was silence, only through the silence was heard a gasp of
fear and wonder, for no such deed as this had been wrought in the
presence of the king--no, not since the day of Senzangacona the Root.
Now Dingaan spoke, and his voice came thick with rage, and his limbs
"Slay him!" he hissed. "Slay the dog and all those with him!"
"Now we come to a game which I can play," answered Umslopogaas. "Ho,
People of the Axe! Will you stand to be slaughtered by these singed
rats?" and he pointed with Groan-Maker at those warriors who had
escaped without hurt in the fire, but whose faces the fire had
Then for answer a great shout went up, a shout and a roar of laughter.
And this was the shout:--
"No, Slaughterer, not so are we minded!" and right and left they faced
to meet the foe, while from all along the companies came the crackling
of the shaken shields.
Back sprang Umslopogaas to head his men; forward leaped the soldiers
of the king to work the king's will, if so they might. And Galazi the
Wolf also sprang forward, towards Dingaan, and, as he sprang, swung up
the Watcher, crying in a great voice:--
Again there was silence, for men saw that the shadow of the Watcher
lay dark upon the head of Dingaan.
"It is a pity that many should die when one will suffice," cried the
Wolf again. "Let a blow be struck, and where his shadow lies there
shall the Watcher be, and lo! the world will lack a king. A word,
Now Dingaan looked up at the great man who stood above him, and felt
the shadow of the shining club lie cold upon his brow, and again he
shook--this time it was with fear.
"Begone in peace!" he said.
"A good word for thee, King," said the Wolf, grinning, and slowly he
drew himself backwards towards the companies, saying, "Praise the
king! The king bids his children go in peace."
But when Dingaan felt that his brow was no longer cold with the shadow
of death his rage came back to him, and he would have called to the
soldiers to fall upon the People of the Axe, only I stayed him,
"Thy death is in it, O King; the Slaughterer will grind such men as
thou hast here beneath his feet, and then once more shall the Watcher
look upon thee."
Now Dingaan saw that this was true, and gave no command, for he had
only those men with him whom the fire had left. All the rest were gone
to slaughter the Boers in Natal. Still, he must have blood, so he
turned on me.
"Thou art a traitor, Mopo, as I have known for long, and I will serve
thee as yonder dog served his faithless servant!" and he thrust at me
with the assegai in his hand.
But I saw the stroke, and, springing high into the air, avoided it.
Then I turned and fled very swiftly, and after me came certain of the
soldiers. The way was not far to the last company of the People of the
Axe; moreover, it saw me coming, and, headed by Umslopogaas, who
walked behind them all, ran to meet me. Then the soldiers who followed
to kill me hung back out of reach of the axe.
"Here with the king is no place for me any more, my son," I said to
"Fear not, my father, I will find you a place," he answered.
Then I called a message to the soldiers who followed me, saying:--
"Tell this to the king: that he has done ill to drive me from him, for
I, Mopo, set him on the throne and I alone can hold him there. Tell
him this also, that he will do yet worse to seek me where I am, for
that day when we are once more face to face shall be his day of death.
Thus speaks Mopo the inyanga, Mopo the doctor, who never yet
prophesied that which should not be."
Then we marched from the kraal Umgugundhlovu, and when next I saw that
kraal it was to burn all of it which Dingaan had left unburnt, and
when next I saw Dingaan--ah! that is to be told of, my father.
We marched from the kraal, none hindering us, for there were none to
hinder, and after we had gone a little way Umslopogaas halted and
"Now it is in my mind to return whence we came and slay this Dingaan,
ere he slay me."
"Yet it is well to leave a frightened lion in his thicket, my son, for
a lion at bay is hard to handle. Doubt not that every man, young and
old, in Umgugundhlovu now stands armed about the gates, lest such a
thought should take you, my son; and though just now he was afraid,
yet Dingaan will strike for his life. When you might have killed you
did not kill; now the hour has gone."
"Wise words!" said Galazi. "I would that the Watcher had fallen where
his shadow fell."
"What is your counsel now, father?" asked Umslopogaas.
"This, then: that you two should abide no more beneath the shadow of
the Ghost Mountain, but should gather your people and your cattle, and
pass to the north on the track of Mosilikatze the Lion, who broke away
from Chaka. There you may rule apart or together, and never dream of
"I will not do that, father," he answered. "I will dwell beneath the
shadow of the Ghost Mountain while I may."
"And so will I," said Galazi, "or rather among its rocks. What! shall
my wolves lack a master when they would go a-hunting? Shall Greysnout
and Blackfang, Blood and Deathgrip, and their company black and grey,
howl for me in vain?"
"So be it, children. Ye are young and will not listen to the counsel
of the old. Let it befall as it chances."
I spoke thus, for I did not know then why Umslopogaas would not leave
his kraals. It was for this reason: because he had bidden Nada to meet
Afterwards, when he found her he would have gone, but then the sky was
clear, the danger-clouds had melted for awhile.
Oh! that Umslopogaas my fosterling had listened to me! Now he would
have reigned as a king, not wandered an outcast in strange lands I
know not where; and Nada should have lived, not died, nor would the
People of the Axe have ceased to be a people.
This of Dingaan. When he heard my message he grew afraid once more,
for he knew me to be no liar.
Therefore he held his hand for awhile, sending no impi to smite
Umslopogaas, lest it might come about that I should bring him his
death as I had promised. And before the fear had worn away, it
happened that Dingaan's hands were full with the war against the
Amaboona, because of his slaughter of the white people, and he had no
soldiers to spare with whom to wreak vengeance on a petty chief living
Yet his rage was great because of what had chanced, and, after his
custom, he murdered many innocent people to satisfy it.
MOPO TELLS HIS TALE
Now afterwards, as we went upon our road, Umslopogaas told me all
there was to tell of the slaying of the Halakazi and of the finding of
When I heard that Nada, my daughter, still lived, I wept for joy,
though like Umslopogaas I was torn by doubt and fear, for it is far
for an unaided maid to travel from Swaziland to the Ghost Mountain.
Yet all this while I said nothing to Umslopogaas of the truth as to
his birth, because on the journey there were many around us, and the
very trees have ears, and the same wind to which we whispered might
whisper to the king. Still I knew that the hour had come now when I
must speak, for it was in my mind to bring it about that Umslopogaas
should be proclaimed the son of Chaka, and be made king of the Zulus
in the place of Dingaan, his uncle. Yet all these things had gone
cross for us, because it was fated so, my father. Had I known that
Umslopogaas still lived when I slew Chaka, then I think that I could
have brought it about that he should be king. Or had things fallen out
as I planned, and the Lily maid been brought to Dingaan, and
Umslopogaas grew great in his sight, then, perhaps, I could have
brought it about. But all things had gone wrong. The Lily was none
other than Nada; and how could Umslopogaas give Nada, whom he thought
his sister, and who was my daughter, to Dingaan against her will?
Also, because of Nada, Dingaan and Umslopogaas were now at bitter
enmity, and for this same cause I was disgraced and a fugitive, and my
counsels would no longer be heard in the ear of the king.
So everything must be begun afresh: and as I walked with the impi
towards the Ghost Mountain, I thought much and often of the manner in
which this might be done. But as yet I said nothing.
Now at last we were beneath the Ghost Mountain, and looked upon the
face of the old Witch who sits there aloft forever waiting for the
world to die; and that same night we came to the kraal of the People
of the Axe, and entered it with a great singing. But Galazi did not
enter at that time; he was away to the mountain to call his flock of
wolves, and as we passed its foot we heard the welcome that the wolves
howled in greeting to him.
Now as we drew near the kraal, all the women and children came out to
meet us, headed by Zinita, the head wife of Umslopogaas. They came
joyfully, but when they found how many were wanting who a moon before
had gone thence to fight, their joy was turned to mourning, and the
voice of their weeping went up to heaven.
Umslopogaas greeted Zinita kindly; and yet I thought that there was
something lacking. At first she spoke to him softly, but when she
learned all that had come to pass, her words were not soft, for she
reviled me and sang a loud song at Umslopogaas.
"See now, Slaughterer," she said, "see now what has came about because
you listened to this aged fool!"--that was I, my father--"this fool
who calls himself 'Mouth'! Ay, a mouth he is, a mouth out of which
proceed folly and lies! What did he counsel you to do?--to go up
against these Halakazi and win a girl for Dingaan! And what have you
done?--you have fallen upon the Halakazi, and doubtless have killed
many innocent people with that great axe of yours, also you have left
nearly half of the soldiers of the Axe to whiten in the Swazi caves,
and in exchange have brought back certain cattle of a small breed, and
girls and children whom we must nourish!
"Nor does the matter end here. You went, it seems, to win a girl whom
Dingaan desired, yet when you find that girl you let her go, because,
indeed, you say she was your sister and would not wed Dingaan.
Forsooth, is not the king good enough for this sister of yours? Now
what is the end of the tale? You try to play tricks on the king,
because of your sister, and are found out. Then you kill a man before
Dingaan and escape, bringing this fool of an aged Mouth with you, that
he may teach you his own folly. So you have lost half of your men, and
you have gained the king for a foe who shall bring about the death of
all of us, and a fool for a councillor. Wow! Slaughterer, keep to your
trade and let others find you wit."
Thus she spoke without ceasing, and there was some truth in her words.
Zinita had a bitter tongue. I sat silent till she had finished, and
Umslopogaas also remained silent, though his anger was great, because
there was no crack in her talk through which a man might thrust a
"Peace, woman!" I said at length, "do not speak ill of those who are
wise and who had seen much before you were born."
"Speak no ill of him who is my father," growled Umslopogaas. "Ay!
though you do not know it, this Mouth whom you revile is Mopo, my
"Then there is a man among the People of the Axe who has a fool for a
father. Of all tidings this is the worst."
"There is a man among the People of the Axe who has a jade and a scold
for a wife," said Umslopogaas, springing up. "Begone, Zinita!--and
know this, that if I hear you snarl such words of him who is my
father, you shall go further than your own hut, for I will put you
away and drive you from my kraal. I have suffered you too long."
"I go," said Zinita. "Oh! I am well served! I made you chief, and now
you threaten to put me away."
"My own hands made me chief," said Umslopogaas, and, springing up, he
thrust her from the hut.
"It is a poor thing to be wedded to such a woman, my father," he said
"Yes, a poor thing, Umslopogaas, yet these are the burdens that men
must bear. Learn wisdom from it, Umslopogaas, and have as little to do
with women as may be; at the least, do not love them overmuch, so
shall you find the more peace." Thus I spoke, smiling, and would that
he had listened to my counsel, for it is the love of women which has
brought ruin on Umslopogaas!
All this was many years ago, and but lately I have heard that
Umslopogaas is fled into the North, and become a wanderer to his death
because of the matter of a woman who had betrayed him, making it seem
that he had murdered one Loustra, who was his blood brother, just as
Galazi had been. I do not know how it came about, but he who was so
fierce and strong had that weakness like his uncle Dingaan, and it has
destroyed him at the last, and for this cause I shall behold him no
Now, my father, for awhile we were silent and alone in the hut, and as
we sat I thought I heard a rat stir in the thatch.
Then I spoke. "Umslopogaas, at length the hour has come that I should
whisper something into your ear, a word which I have held secret ever
since you were born."
"Speak on, my father," he said, wondering.
I crept to the door of the hut and looked out. The night was dark and
I could see none about, and could hear no one move, yet, being
cautious, I walked round the hut. Ah, my father, when you have a
secret to tell, be not so easily deceived. It is not enough to look
forth and to peer round. Dig beneath the floor, and search the roof
also; then, having done all this, go elsewhere and tell your tale. The
woman was right: I was but a fool, for all my wisdom and my white
hairs. Had I not been a fool I would have smoked out that rat in the
thatch before ever I opened my lips. For the rat was Zinita, my father
--Zinita, who had climbed the hut, and now lay there in the dark, her
ear upon the smoke-hole, listening to every word that passed. It was a
wicked thing to do, and, moreover, the worst of omens, but there is
little honour among women when they learn that which others wish to
hide away from them, nor, indeed, do they then weight omens.
So having searched and found nothing, I spoke to Umslopogaas, my
fosterling, not knowing that death in a woman's shape lay on the hut
above us. "Hearken," I said, "you are no son of mine, Umslopogaas,
though you have called me father from a babe. You spring from a
loftier stock, Slaughterer."
"Yet I was well pleased with my fathering, old man," said Umslopogaas.
"The breed is good enough for me. Say, then, whose son am I?"
Now I bent forward and whispered to him, yet, alas! not low enough.
"You are the son of the Black One who is dead, yea, sprung from the
blood of Chaka and of Baleka, my sister."
"I still have some kinship with you then, Mopo, and that I am glad of.
Wow! who would have guessed that I was the son of the Silwana, of that
hyena man? Perhaps it is for this reason that, like Galazi, I love the
company of the wolves, though no love grows in my heart for my father
or any of his house."
"You have little cause to love him, Umslopogaas, for he murdered your
mother, Baleka, and would have slain you also. But you are the son of
Chaka and of no other man."
"Well, his eyes must be keen indeed, my uncle, who can pick his own
father out of a crowd. And yet I once heard this tale before, though I
had long forgotten it."
"From whom did you hear it, Umslopogaas? An hour since, it was known
to one alone, the others are dead who knew it. Now it is known to two"
--ah! my father, I did not guess of the third;--"from whom, then, did
you hear it?"
"It was from the dead; at least, Galazi the Wolf heard it from the
dead One who sat in the cave on Ghost Mountain, for the dead One told
him that a man would come to be his brother who should be named
Umslopogaas Bulalio, son of Chaka, and Galazi repeated it to me, but I
had long forgotten it."
"It seems that there is wisdom among the dead," I answered, "for lo!
to-day you are named Umslopogaas Bulalio, and to-day I declare you the
son of Chaka. But listen to my tale."
Then I told him all the story from the hour of his birth onwards, and
when I spoke of the words of his mother, Baleka, after I had told my
dream to her, and of the manner of her death by the command of Chaka,
and of the great fashion in which she had died, then, I say,
Umslopogaas wept, who, I think, seldom wept before or after. But as my
tale drew it its end I saw that he listened ill, as a man listens who
has a weightier matter pressing on his heart, and before it was well
done he broke in:--
"So, Mopo, my uncle, if I am the son of Chaka and Baleka, Nada the
Lily is no sister to me."
"Nay, Umslopogaas, she is only your cousin."
"Over near of blood," he said; "yet that shall not stand between us,"
and his face grew glad.
I looked at him in question.
"You grow dull, my uncle. This is my meaning: that I will marry Nada
if she still lives, for it comes upon me now that I have never loved
any woman as I love Nada the Lily," and while he spoke, I heard the
rat stir in the thatch of the hut.
"Wed her if you will, Umslopogaas," I answered, "yet I think that one
Zinita, your Inkosikasi, will find words to say in the matter."
"Zinita is my head wife indeed, but shall she hold me back from taking
other wives, after the lawful custom of our people?" he asked angrily,
and his anger showed that he feared the wrath of Zinita.
"The custom is lawful and good," I said, "but it has bred trouble at
times. Zinita can have little to say if she continues in her place and
you still love her as of old. But enough of her. Nada is not yet at
your gates, and perhaps she will never find them. See, Umslopogaas, it
is my desire that you should rule in Zululand by right of blood, and,
though things point otherwise, yet I think a way can be found to bring
"How so?" he asked.
"Thus: Many of the great chiefs who are friends to me hate Dingaan and
fear him, and did they know that a son of Chaka lived, and that son
the Slaughterer, he well might climb to the throne upon their
shoulders. Also the soldiers love the name of Chaka, though he dealt
cruelly with them, because at least he was brave and generous. But
they do not love Dingaan, for his burdens are the burdens of Chaka but
his gifts are the gifts of Dingaan; therefore they would welcome
Chaka's son if once they knew him for certain. But it is here that the
necklet chafes, for there is but my word to prove it. Yet I will try."
"Perhaps it is worth trying and perhaps it is not, my uncle," answered
Umslopogaas. "One thing I know: I had rather see Nada at my gates to-
night than hear all the chiefs in the land crying 'Hail, O King!'"
"You will live to think otherwise, Umslopogaas; and now spies must be
set at the kraal Umgugundhlovu to give us warning of the mind of the
king, lest he should send an impi suddenly to eat you up. Perhaps his
hands may be too full for that ere long, for those white Amaboona will
answer his assegais with bullets. And one more word: let nothing be
said of this matter of your birth, least of all to Zinita your wife,
or to any other woman."
"Fear not, uncle," he answered; "I know how to be silent."
Now after awhile Umslopogaas left me and went to the hut of Zinita,
his Inkosikasi, where she lay wrapped in her blankets, and, as it
"Greeting, my husband," she said slowly, like one who wakens. "I have
dreamed a strange dream of you. I dreamed that you were called a king,
and that all the regiments of the Zulus filed past giving you the
royal salute, Bayete."
Umslopogaas looked at her wondering, for he did not know if she had
learned something or if this was an omen. "Such dreams are dangerous,"
he said, "and he who dreams them does well to lock them fast till they
"Or fulfilled," said Zinita, and again Umslopogaas looked at her
Now after this night I began my work, for I established spies at the
kraal of Dingaan, and from them I learned all that passed with the
At first he gave orders that an impi should be summoned to eat up the
People of the Axe, but afterwards came tidings that the Boers, to the
number of five hundred mounted men, were marching on the kraal
Umgugundhlovu. So Dingaan had no impi to spare to send to the Ghost
Mountain, and we who were beneath its shadow dwelt there in peace.
This time for Boers were beaten, for Bogoza, the spy, led them into an
ambush; still few were killed, and they did but draw back that they
might jump the further, and Dingaan knew this. At this time also the
English white men of Natal, the people of George, who attacked Dingaan
by the Lower Tugela, were slain by our soldiers, and those with them.
Also, by the help of certain witch-doctors, I filled the land with
rumours, prophecies, and dark sayings, and I worked cunningly on the
minds of many chiefs that were known to me, sending them messages
hardly to be understood, such as should prepare their thoughts for the
coming of one who should be declared to them. They listened, but the
task was long, for the men dwelt far apart, and some of them were away
with the regiments.
So the time went by, till many days had passed since we reached the
Ghost Mountain. Umslopogaas had no more words with Zinita, but she
always watched him, and he went heavily. For he awaited Nada, and Nada
did not come.
But at length Nada came.
THE COMING OF NADA
One night--it was a night of full moon--I sat alone with Umslopogaas
in my hut, and we spoke of the matter of our plots; then, when we had
finished that talk, we spoke of Nada the Lily.
"Alas! my uncle," said Umslopogaas sadly, "we shall never look more on
Nada; she is surely dead or in bonds, otherwise she had been here long
ago. I have sought far and wide, and can hear no tidings and find
"All that is hidden is not lost," I answered, yet I myself believed
that there was an end of Nada.
Then we were silent awhile, and presently, in the silence, a dog
barked. We rose, and crept out of the hut to see what it might be that
stirred, for the night drew on, and it was needful to be wary, since a
dog might bark at the stirring of a leaf, or perhaps it might be the
distant footfall of an impi that it heard.
We had not far to look, for standing gazing at the huts, like one who
is afraid to call, was a tall slim man, holding an assegai in one hand
and a little shield in the other. We could not see the face of the
man, because the light was behind him, and a ragged blanket hung about
his shoulders. Also, he was footsore, for he rested on one leg. Now we
were peering round the hut, and its shadow hid us, so that the man saw
nothing. For awhile he stood still, then he spoke to himself, and his
voice was strangely soft.
"Here are many huts," said the voice, "now how may I know which is the
house of my brother? Perhaps if I call I shall bring soldiers to me,
and be forced to play the man before them, and I am weary of that.
Well, I will lie here under the fence till morning; it is a softer bed
than some I have found, and I am word out with travel--sleep I must,"
and the figure sighed and turned so that the light of the moon fell
full upon its face.
My father, it was the face of Nada, my daughter, whom I had not seen
for so many years, yet across the years I knew it at once; yes, though
the bud had become a flower I knew it. The face was weary and worn,
but ah! it was beautiful, never before nor since have I seen such
beauty, for there was this about the loveliness of my daughter, the
Lily: it seemed to flow from within--yes, as light will flow through
the thin rind of a gourd, and in that she differed from the other
women of our people, who, when they are fair are fair with the flesh
Now my heart went out to Nada as she stood in the moonlight, one
forsaken, not having where to lay her head, Nada, who alone was left
alive of all my children. I motioned to Umslopogaas to hide himself in
the shadow, and stepped forward.
"Ho!" I said roughly, "who are you, wanderer, and what do you here?"
Now Nada started like a frightened bird, but quickly gathered up her
thoughts, and turned upon me in a lordly way.
"Who are you that ask me?" she said, feigning a man's voice.
"One who can use a stick upon thieves and night-prowlers, boy. Come,
show your business or be moving. You are not of this people; surely
that moocha is of a Swazi make, and here we do not love Swazis."
"Were you not old, I would beat you for your insolence," said Nada,
striving to look brave and all the while searching a way to escape.
"Also, I have no stick, only a spear, and that is for warriors, not
for an old umfagozan like you." Ay, my father, I lived to hear my
daughter name me an umfagozan--a low fellow!
Now making pretence to be angry, I leaped at her with my kerrie up,
and, forgetting her courage, she dropped her spear, and uttered a
little scream. But she still held the shield before her face. I seized
her by the arm, and struck a blow upon the shield with my kerrie--it
would scarcely have crushed a fly, but this brave warrior trembled
"Where now is your valour, you who name my umfagozan?" I said: "you
who cry like a maid and whose arm is soft as a maid's."
She made no answer, but hugged her tattered blanket round her, and
shifting my grip from her arm, I seized it and rent it, showing her
breast and shoulder; then I let her go, laughing, and said:--
"Lo! here is the warrior that would beat an old umfagozan for his
insolence, a warrior well shaped for war! Now, my pretty maid who
wander at night in the garment of a man, what tale have you to tell?
Swift with it, lest I drag you to the chief as his prize! The old man
seeks a new wife, they tell me?"
Now when Nada saw that I had discovered her she threw down the shield
after the spear, as a thing that was of no more use, and hung her head
sullenly. But when I spoke of dragging her to the chief then she flung
herself upon the ground, and clasped my knees, for since I called him
old, she thought that this chief could not be Umslopogaas.
"Oh, my father," said the Lily, "oh, my father, have pity on me! Yes,
yes! I am a girl, a maid--no wife--and you who are old, you, perchance
have daughters such as I, and in their name I ask for pity. My father,
I have journeyed far, I have endured many things, to find my way to a
kraal where my brother rules, and now it seems I have come to the
wrong kraal. Forgive me that I spoke to you so, my father; it was but
a woman's feint, and I was hard pressed to hide my sex, for my father,
you know it is ill to be a lonely girl among strange men."
Now I said nothing in answer, for this reason only: that when I heard
Nada call me father, not knowing me, and saw her clasp my knees and
pray to me in my daughter's name, I, who was childless save for her,
went nigh to weeping. But she thought that I did not answer her
because I was angry, and about to drag her to this unknown chief, and
implored me the more even with tears.
"My father," she said, "do not this wicked thing by me. Let me go and
show me the path that I shall ask: you who are old, you know that I am
too fair to be dragged before this chief of yours. Hearken! All I knew
are dead, I am alone except for this brother I seek. Oh! if you betray
me may such a fate fall upon your own daughter also! May she also know
the day of slavery, and the love that she wills not!" and she ceased,
Now I turned my head and spoke towards the hut, "Chief," I said, "your
Ehlose is kind to you to-night, for he has given you a maid fair as
the Lily of the Halakazi"--here Nada glanced up wildly. "Come, then,
and take the girl."
Now Nada turned to snatch up the assegai from the ground, but whether
to kill me, or the chief she feared so much, or herself, I do not
know, and as she turned, in her woe she called upon the name of
Umslopogaas. She found the assegai, and straightened herself again.
And lo! there before her stood a tall chief leaning on an axe; but the
old man who threatened her was gone--not very far, in truth, but round
the corner of the hut.
Now Nada the Lily looked, then rubbed her eyes, and looked again.
"Surely I dream?" she said at last. "But now I spoke to an old man,
and in his place there stands before me the shape of one whom I desire
"I thought, Maiden, that the voice of a certain Nada called upon one
Umslopogaas," said he who leaned upon the axe.
"Ay, I called: but where is the old man who treated me so scurvily?
Nay, what does it matter?--where he is, there let him stop. At least,
you are Umslopogaas, my brother, or should be by your greatness and
the axe. To the man I cannot altogether swear in this light; but to
the axe I can swear, for once it passed so very near my eyes."
Thus she spoke on, gaining time, and all the while she watched
Umslopogaas till she was sure that it was he and no other. Then she
ceased talking, and, flinging herself on him, she kissed him.
"Now I trust that Zinita sleeps sound," murmured Umslopogaas, for
suddenly he remembered that Nada was no sister of his, as she thought.
Nevertheless, he took her by the hand and said, "Enter, sister. Of all
maidens in the world you are the most welcome here, for know I
believed you dead."
But I, Mopo, ran into the hut before her, and when she entered she
found me sitting by the fire.
"Now, here, my brother," said Nada, pointing at me with her finger,
"here is that old umfagozan, that low fellow, who, unless I dream, but