Part 6 out of 6
a very little while ago brought shame upon me--ay, my brother, he
struck me, a maid, with his kerrie, and that only because I said that
I would stab him for his insolence, and he did worse: he swore that he
would drag me to some old chief of his to be a gift to him, and this
he was about to do, had you not come. Will you suffer these things to
go unpunished, my brother?"
Now Umslopogaas smiled grimly, and I answered:--
"What was it that you called me just now, Nada, when you prayed me to
protect you? Father, was it not?" and I turned my face towards the
blaze of the fire, so that the full light fell upon it.
"Yes, I called you father, old man. It is not strange, for a homeless
wanderer must find fathers where she can--and yet! no, it cannot be--
so changed--and that white hand? And yet, oh! who are you? Once there
was a man named Mopo, and he had a little daughter, and she was called
Nada--Oh! my father, my father, I know you now!"
"Ay, Nada, and I knew you from the first; through all your man's
wrappings I knew you after these many years."
So the Lily fell upon my neck and sobbed there, and I remember that I
Now when she had sobbed her fill of joy, Umslopogaas brought Nada the
Lily mass to eat and mealie porridge. She ate the curdled milk, but
the porridge she would not eat, saying that she was too weary.
Then she told us all the tale of her wanderings since she had fled
away from the side of Umslopogaas at the stronghold of the Halakazi,
and it was long, so long that I will not repeat it, for it is a story
by itself. This I will say only: that Nada was captured by robbers,
and for awhile passed herself off among them as a youth. But, in the
end, they found her out and would have given her as a wife to their
chief, only she persuaded them to kill the chief and make her their
ruler. They did this because of that medicine of the eyes which Nada
had only among women, for as she ruled the Halakazi so she ruled the
robbers. But, at the last, they all loved her, and she gave it out
that she would wed the strongest. Then some of them fell to fighting,
and while they killed each other--for it came about that Nada brought
death upon the robbers as on all others--she escaped, for she said
that she did not wish to look upon their struggle but would await the
upshot in a place apart.
After that she had many further adventures, but at length she met an
old woman who guided her on her way to the Ghost Mountain. And who
this old woman was none could discover, but Galazi swore afterwards
that she was the Stone Witch of the mountain, who put on the shape of
an aged woman to guide Nada to Umslopogaas, to be the sorrow and the
joy of the People of the Axe. I do not know, my father, yet it seems
to me that the old witch would scarcely have put off her stone for so
small a matter.
Now, when Nada had made an end of her tale, Umslopogaas told his, of
how things had gone with Dingaan. When he told her how he had given
the body of the girl to the king, saying that it was the Lily's stalk,
she said it had been well done; and when he spoke of the slaying of
the traitor she clapped her hands, though Nada, whose heart was
gentle, did not love to hear of deeds of death. At last he finished,
and she was somewhat sad, and said it seemed that her fate followed
her, and that now the People of the Axe were in danger at the hands of
Dingaan because of her.
"Ah! my brother," she cried, taking Umslopogaas by the hand, "it were
better I should die than that I should bring evil upon you also."
"That would not mend matters, Nada," he answered. "For whether you be
dead or alive, the hate of Dingaan. Also, Nada, know this: I am not
When the Lily heard these words she uttered a little cry, and, letting
fall the hand of Umslopogaas, clasped mine, shrinking up against me.
"What is this tale, father?" she asked. "He who was my twin, he with
whom I have been bred up, says that he has deceived me these many
years, that he is not my brother; who, then, is he, father?"
"He is your cousin, Nada."
"Ah," she answered, "I am glad. It would have grieved me had he whom I
loved been shown to be but a stranger in whom I have no part," and she
smiled a little in the eyes and at the corners of her mouth. "But tell
me this tale also."
So I told her the tale of the birth of Umslopogaas, for I trusted her.
"Ah," she said, when I had finished, "ah! you come of a bad stock,
Umslopogaas, though it is a kingly one. I shall love you little
henceforth, child of the hyena man."
"Then that is bad news," said Umslopogaas, "for know, Nada, I desire
now that you should love me more than ever--that you should be my wife
and love me as your husband!"
Now the Lily's face grew sad and sweet, and all the hidden mockery
went out of her talk--for Nada loved to mock.
"Did you not speak to me on that night in the Halakazi caves,
Umslopogaas, of one Zinita, who is your wife, and Inkosikaas of the
People of the Axe?"
Then the brow of Umslopogaas darkened: "What of Zinita?" he said. "It
is true she is my chieftainess; is it not allowed a man to take more
than one wife?"
"So I trust," answered Nada, smiling, "else men would go unwed for
long, for few maids would marry them who then must labour alone all
their days. But, Umslopogaas, if there are twenty wives, yet one must
be first. Now this has come about hitherto: that wherever I have been
it has been thrust upon me to be first, and perhaps it might be thus
once more--what then, Umslopogaas?"
"Let the fruit ripen before you pluck it, Nada," he answered. "If you
love me and will wed me, it is enough."
"I pray that it may not be more than enough," she said, stretching out
her hand to him. "Listen, Umslopogaas: ask my father here what were
the words I spoke to him many years ago, before I was a woman, when,
with my mother, Macropha, I left him to go among the Swazi people. It
was after you had been borne away by the lion, Umslopogaas, I told my
father that I would marry no man all my life, because I loved only
you, who were dead. My father reproached me, saying that I must not
speak thus of my brother, but it was my heart which spoke, and it
spoke truly; for see, Umslopogaas, you are no brother to me! I have
kept that vow. How many men have sort me in wedlock since I became a
woman, Umslopogaas? I tell you that they are as the leaves upon a
tree. Yet I have given myself to none, and this has been my fortune:
that none have sought to constrain me to marriage. Now I have my
reward, for he whom I lost is found again, and to him alone I give my
love. Yet, Umslopogaas, beware! Little luck has come to those who have
loved me in the past; no, not even to those who have but sought to
look on me."
"I will bear the risk, Nada," the Slaughterer answered, and gathering
her to his great breast he kissed her.
Presently she slipped from his arms and bade him begone, for she was
weary and would rest.
So he went.
THE WAR OF THE WOMEN
Now on the morrow at daybreak, leaving his wolves, Galazi came down
from the Ghost Mountain and passed through the gates of the kraal.
In front of my hut he saw Nada the Lily and saluted her, for each
remembered the other. Then he walked on to the place of assembly and
spoke to me.
"So the Star of Death has risen on the People of the Axe, Mopo," he
said. "Was it because of her coming that my grey people howled so
strangely last night? I cannot tell, but I know this, the Star shone
first on me this morning, and that is my doom. Well, she is fair
enough to be the doom of many, Mopo," and he laughed and passed on,
swinging the Watcher. But his words troubled me, though they were
foolish; for I could not but remember that wherever the beauty of Nada
had pleased the sight of men, there men had been given to death.
Then I went to lead Nada to the place of assembly and found her
awaiting me. She was dressed now in some woman's garments that I had
brought her; her curling hair fell upon her shoulders; on her wrist
and neck and knee were bracelets of ivory, and in her hand she bore a
lily bloom which she had gathered as she went to bathe in the river.
Perhaps she did this, my father, because she wished here, as
elsewhere, to be known as the Lily, and it is the Zulu fashion to name
people from some such trifle. But who can know a woman's reason, or
whether a thing is by chance alone, my father? Also she had begged me
of a cape I had; it was cunningly made by Basutus, of the whitest
feathers of the ostrich; this she put about her shoulders, and it hung
down to her middle. It had been a custom with Nada from childhood not
to go about as do other girls, naked except for their girdles, for she
would always find some rag or skin to lie upon her breast. Perhaps it
was because her skin was fairer than that of other women, or perhaps
because she knew that she who hides her beauty often seems the
loveliest, or because there was truth in the tale of her white blood
and the fashion came to her with the blood. I do not know, my father;
at the least she did so.
Now I took Nada by the hand and led her through the morning air to the
place of assembly, and ah! she was sweeter than the air and fairer
than the dawn.
There were many people in the place of assembly, for it was the day of
the monthly meeting of the council of the headmen, and there also were
all the women of the kraal, and at their head stood Zinita. Now it had
got about that the girl whom the Slaughterer went to seek in the caves
of the Halakazi had come to the kraal of the People of the Axe, and
all eyes watched for her.
"Wow!" said the men as she passed smiling, looking neither to the
right nor to the left, yet seeing all--"Wow! but this flower is fair!
Little wonder that the Halakazi died for her!"
The women looked also, but they said nothing of the beauty of Nada;
they scarcely seemed to see it.
"That is she for whose sake so many of our people lie unburied," said
"Where, then, does she find her fine clothes?" quoth another, "she who
came here last night a footsore wanderer?"
"Feathers are not enough for her: look! she must bear flowers also.
Surely they are fitter to her hands than the handle of a hoe," said a
"Now I think that the chief of the People of the Axe will find one to
worship above the axe, and that some will be left mourning," put in a
fourth, glancing at Zinita and the other women of the household of the
Thus they spoke, throwing words like assegais, and Nada heard them
all, and knew their meaning, but she never ceased from smiling. Only
Zinita said nothing, but stood looking at Nada from beneath her bent
brows, while by one hand she held the little daughter of Umslopogaas,
her child, and with the other played with the beads about her neck.
Presently, we passed her, and Nada, knowing well who this must be,
turned her eyes full upon the angry eyes of Zinita, and held them
there awhile. Now what there was in the glance of Nada I cannot say,
but I know that Zinita, who was afraid of few things, found something
to fear in it. At the least, it was she who turned her head away, and
the Lily passed on smiling, and greeted Umslopogaas with a little nod.
"Hail, Nada!" said the Slaughterer. Then he turned to his headmen and
spoke: "This is she whom we went to the caves of the Halakazi to seek
for Dingaan. Ou! the story is known now; one told it up at the kraal
Umgugundhlovu who shall tell it no more. She prayed me to save her
from Dingaan, and so I did, and all would have gone well had it not
been for a certain traitor who is done with, for I took another to
Dingaan. Look on her now, my friends, and say if I did not well to win
her--the Lily flower, such as there is no other in the world, to be
the joy of the People of the Axe and a wife to me."
With one accord the headmen answered: "Indeed you did well,
Slaughterer," for the glamour of Nada was upon them and they would
cherish her as others had cherished her. Only Galazi the Wolf shook
his head. But he said nothing, for words do not avail against fate.
Now as I found afterwards, since Zinita, the head wife of Umslopogaas,
had learned of what stock he was, she had known that Nada was no
sister to him. Yet when she heard him declare that he was about to
take the Lily to wife she turned upon him, saying:--
"How can this be, Lord?"
"Why do you ask, Zinita?" he answered. "Is it not allowed to a man to
take another wife if he will?"
"Surely, Lord," she said; "but men do not wed their sisters, and I
have heard that it was because this Nada was your sister that you
saved her from Dingaan, and brought the wrath of Dingaan upon the
People of the Axe, the wrath that shall destroy them."
"So I thought then, Zinita," he answered; "now I know otherwise. Nada
is daughter to Mopo yonder indeed, but he is no father to me, though
he has been named so, nor was the mother of Nada my mother. That is
Then Zinita looked at me and muttered, "O fool of a Mouth, not for
nothing did I fear evil at your hands."
I heard the words and took no note, and she poke again to Umslopogaas,
saying: "Here is a mystery, O Lord Bulalio. Will it then please you to
declare to us who is your father?"
"I have no father," he answered, waxing wroth; "the heavens above are
my father. I am born of Blood and Fire, and she, the Lily, is born of
Beauty to be my mate. Now, woman, be silent." He thought awhile, and
added, "Nay, if you will know, my father was Indabazimbi the Witch-
finder, the smeller-out of the king, the son of Arpi." This
Umslopogaas said at a hazard, since, having denied me, he must declare
a father, and dared not name the Black One who was gone. But in after
years the saying was taken up in the land, and it was told that
Umslopogaas was the son of Indabazimbi the Witch-finder, who had long
ago fled the land; nor did he deny it. For when all this game had been
played out he would not have it known that he was the son of Chaka, he
who no longer sought to be a king, lest he should bring down the wrath
of Panda upon him.
When the people heard this they thought that Umslopogaas mocked
Zinita, and yet in his anger he spoke truth when he said first that he
was born of the "heavens above," for so we Zulus name the king, and so
the witch-doctor Indabazimbi named Chaka on the day of the great
smelling out. But they did not take it in this sense. They held that
he spoke truly when he gave it out that he was born of Indabazimbi the
Witch-doctor, who had fled the land, whither I do not know.
Then Nada turned to Zinita and spoke to her in a sweet and gentle
voice: "If I am not sister to Bulalio, yet I shall soon be sister to
you who are the Chief's Inkosikaas, Zinita. Shall that not satisfy
you, and will you not greet me kindly and with a kiss of peace, who
have come from far to be your sister, Zinita?" and Nada held out her
hands towards her, though whether she did this from the heart or
because she would put herself in the right before the people I do not
know. But Zinita scowled, and jerked at her necklace of beads,
breaking the string on which they were threaded, so that the beads
rolled upon the black earthen floor this way and that.
"Keep your kisses for our lord, girl," Zinita said roughly. "As my
beads are scattered so shall you scatter this People of the Axe."
Now Nada turned away with a little sigh, and the people murmured, for
they thought that Zinita had treated her badly. Then she stretched out
her hand again, and gave the lily in it to Umslopogaas, saying:--
"Here is a token of our betrothal, Lord, for never a head of cattle
have my father and I to send--we who are outcasts; and, indeed, the
bridegroom must pay the cattle. May I bring you peace and love, my
Umslopogaas took the flower, and looked somewhat foolish with it--he
who was wont to carry the axe, and not a flower; and so that talk was
Now as it chanced, this was that day of the year when, according to
ancient custom, the Holder of the Axe must challenge all and sundry to
come up against him to fight in single combat for Groan-Maker and the
chieftainship of the people. Therefore, when the talk was done,
Umslopogaas rose and went through the challenge, not thinking that any
would answer him, since for some years none had dared to stand before
his might. Yet three men stepped forward, and of these two were
captains, and men whom the Slaughterer loved. With all the people, he
looked at them astonished.
"How is this?" he said in a low voice to that captain who was nearest
and who would do battle with him.
For answer the man pointed to the Lily, who stood by. Then Umslopogaas
understood that because of the medicine of Nada's beauty all men
desired to win her, and, since he who could win the axe would take her
also, he must look to fight with many. Well, fight he must or be
Of the fray there is little to tell. Umslopogaas killed first one man
and then the other, and swiftly, for, growing fearful, the third did
not come up against him.
"Ah!" said Galazi, who watched, "what did I tell you, Mopo? The curse
begins to work. Death walks ever with that daughter of yours, old
"I fear so," I answered, "and yet the maiden is fair and good and
"That will not mend matters," said Galazi.
Now on that day Umslopogaas took Nada the Lily to wife, and for awhile
there was peace and quiet. But this evil thing came upon Umslopogaas,
that, from the day when he wedded Nada, he hated even to look upon
Zinita, and not at her alone, but on all his other wives also. Galazi
said it was because Nada had bewitched him, but I know well that the
only witcheries she used were the medicine of her eyes, her beauty,
and her love. Still, it came to pass that henceforward, and until she
had long been dead, the Slaughterer loved her, and her alone, and that
is a strange sickness to come upon a man.
As may be guessed, my father, Zinita and the other women took this
ill. They waited awhile, indeed, thinking that it would wear away,
then they began to murmur, both to their husband and in the ears of
other people, till at length there were two parties in the town, the
party of Zinita and the party of Nada.
The party of Zinita was made up of women and of certain men who loved
and feared their wives, but that of Nada was the greatest, and it was
all of men, with Umslopogaas at the head of them, and from this
division came much bitterness abroad, and quarrelling in the huts. Yet
neither the Lily nor Umslopogaas heeded it greatly, nor indeed,
anything, so lost and well content were they in each other's love.
Now on a certain morning, after they had been married three full
moons, Nada came from her husband's hut when the sun was already high,
and went down through the rock gully to the river to bathe. On the
right of the path to the river lay the mealie-fields of the chief, and
in them laboured Zinita and the other women of Umslopogaas, weeding
the mealie-plants. They looked up and saw Nada pass, then worked on
sullenly. After awhile they saw her come again fresh from the bath,
very fair to see, and having flowers twined among her hair, and as she
walked she sang a song of love. Now Zinita cast down her hoe.
"Is this to be borne, my sisters?" she said.
"No," answered another, "it is not to be borne. What shall we do--
shall we fall upon her and kill her now?"
"It would be more just to kill Bulalio, our lord," answered Zinita.
"Nada is but a woman, and, after the fashion of us women, takes all
that she can gather. But he is a man and a chief, and should know
wisdom and justice."
"She has bewitched him with her beauty. Let us kill her," said the
"Nay," answered Zinita, "I will speak with her," and she went and
stood in the path along which the Lily walked singing, her arms folded
across her breast.
Now Nada saw her and, ceasing her song, stretched out her hand to
welcome her, saying, "Greeting, sister." But Zinita did not take it.
"It is not fitting, sister," she said, "that my hand, stained with
toil, should defile yours, fresh with the scent of flowers. But I am
charged with a message, on my own behalf and the behalf of the other
wives of our Lord Bulalio; the weeds grow thick in yonder corn, and we
women are few; now that your love days are over, will not you come and
help us? If you brought no hoe from your Swazi home, surely we will
buy you one."
Now Nada saw what was meant, and the blood poured to her head. Yet she
"I would willingly do this, my sister, though I have never laboured in
the fields, for wherever I have dwelt the men have kept me back from
all work, save such as the weaving of flowers or the stringing of
beads. But there is this against it--Umslopogaas, my husband, charged
me that I should not toil with my hands, and I may not disobey my
"Our husband charged you so, Nada? Nay, then it is strange. See, now,
I am his head wife, his Inkosikaas--it was I who taught him how to win
the axe. Yet he has laid no command on me that I should not labour in
the fields after the fashion of women, I who have borne him children;
nor, indeed, has he laid such a command upon any of our sisters, his
other wives. Can it then be that Bulalio loves you better than us,
Now the Lily was in a trap, and she knew it. So she grew bold.
"One must be most loved, Zinita," she said, "as one must be most fair.
You have had your hour, leave me mine; perhaps it will be short.
Moreover this: Umslopogaas and I loved each other much long years
before you or any of his wives saw him, and we love each other to the
end. There is no more to say."
"Nay, Nada, there is still something to say; there is this to say:
Choose one of two things. Go and leave us to be happy with our lord,
or stay and bring death on all."
Now Nada thought awhile, and answered: "Did I believe that my love
would bring death on him I love, it might well chance that I would go
and leave him, though to do so would be to die. But, Zinita, I do not
believe it. Death chiefly loves the weak, and if he falls it will be
on the Flower, not on the Slayer of Men," and she slipped past Zinita
and went on, singing no more.
Zinita watched her till she was over the ridge, and her face grew evil
as she watched. Then she returned to the women.
"The Lily flouts us all, my sisters," she said. "Now listen: my
counsel is that we declare a feast of women to be held at the new moon
in a secret place far away. All the women and the children shall come
to it except Nada, who will not leave her lover, and if there be any
man whom a woman loves, perhaps, my sisters, that man would do well to
go on a journey about the time of the new moon, for evil things may
happen at the town of the People of the Axe while we are away
celebrating our feast."
"What, then, shall befall, my sister?" asked one.
"Nay, how can I tell?" she answered. "I only know that we are minded
to be rid of Nada, and thus to be avenged on a man who has scorned our
love--ay, and on those men who follow after the beauty of Nada. Is it
not so, my sisters?"
"It is so," they answered.
"Then be silent on the matter, and let us give out our feast."
Now Nada told Umslopogaas of those words which she had bandied with
Zinita, and the Slaughterer was troubled. Yet, because of his
foolishness and of the medicine of Nada's eyes, he would not turn from
his way, and was ever at her side, thinking of little else except of
her. Thus, when Zinita came to him, and asked leave to declare a feast
of women that should be held far away, he consented, and gladly, for,
above all things, he desired to be free from Zinita and her angry
looks for awhile; nor did he suspect a plot. Only he told her that
Nada should not go to the feast; and in a breath both Zinita and Nada
answered that is word was their will, as indeed it was, in this
Now I, Mopo, saw the glamour that had fallen upon my fosterling, and
spoke of it with Galazi, saying that a means must be found to wake
him. Then I took Galazi fully into my mind, and told him all that he
did not know of Umslopogaas, and that was little. Also, I told him of
my plans to bring the Slaughterer to the throne, and of what I had
done to that end, and of what I proposed to do, and this was to go in
person on a journey to certain of the great chiefs and win them over.
Galazi listened, and said that it was well or ill, as the chance might
be. For his part, he believed that the daughter would pull down faster
than I, the father, could build up, and he pointed to Nada, who walked
past us, following Umslopogaas.
Yet I determined to go, and that was on the day before Zinita won
leave to celebrate the feast of women. So I sought Umslopogaas and
told him, and he listened indifferently, for he would be going after
Nada, and wearied of my talk of policy. I bade him farewell and left
him; to Nada also I bade farewell. She kissed me, yet the name of her
husband was mingled with her good-bye.
"Now madness has come upon these two," I said to myself. "Well, it
will wear off, they will be changed before I come again."
I guessed little, my father, how changed they would be.
ZINITA COMES TO THE KING
Dingaan the king sat upon a day in the kraal Umgugundhlovu, waiting
till his impis should return from the Income that is now named the
Blood River. He had sent them thither to destroy the laager of the
Boers, and thence, as he thought, they would presently return with
victory. Idly he sat in the kraal, watching the vultures wheel above
the Hill of Slaughter, and round him stood a regiment.
"My birds are hungry," he said to a councillor.
"Doubtless there shall soon be meat to feed them, O King!" the
As he spoke one came near, saying that a woman sought leave to speak
to the king upon some great matter.
"Let her come," he answered; "I am sick for tidings, perhaps she can
tell of the impi."
Presently the woman was led in. She was tall and fair, and she held
two children by the hand.
"What is thine errand?" asked Dingaan.
"Justice, O King," she answered.
"Ask for blood, it shall be easier to find."
"I ask blood, O King."
"The blood of whom?"
"The blood of Bulalio the Slaughterer, Chief of the People of the Axe,
the blood of Nada the Lily, and of all those who cling to her."
Now Dingaan sprang up and swore an oath by the head of the Black One
who was gone.
"What?" he cried, "does the Lily, then, live as the soldier thought?"
"She lives, O King. She is wife to the Slaughterer, and because of her
witchcraft he has put me, his first wife, away against all law and
honour. Therefore I ask vengeance on the witch and vengeance also on
him who was my husband."
"Thou art a good wife," said the king. "May my watching spirit save me
from such a one. Hearken! I would gladly grant thy desire, for I, too,
hate this Slaughterer, and I, too, would crush this Lily. Yet, woman,
thou comest in a bad hour. Here I have but one regiment, and I think
that the Slaughterer may take some killing. Wait till my impis return
from wiping out the white Amaboona, and it shall be as thou dost
desire. Whose are those children?"
"They are my children and the children of Bulalio, who was my
"The children of him whom thou wouldst cause to be slain."
"Surely, woman, thou art as good a mother as wife!" said Dingaan. "Now
I have spoken--begone!"
But the heart of Zinita was hungry for vengeance, vengeance swift and
terrible, on the Lily, who lay in her place, and on her husband, who
had thrust her aside for the Lily's sake. She did not desire to wait--
no, not even for an hour.
"Hearken, O King!" she cried, "the tale is not yet all told. This man,
Bulalio, plots against thy throne with Mopo, son of Makedama, who was
"He plots against my throne, woman? The lizard plots against the cliff
on which it suns itself? Then let him plot; and as for Mopo, I will
catch him yet!"
"Yes, O King! but that is not all the tale. This man has another name
--he is named Umslopogaas, son of Mopo. But he is no son of Mopo: he
is son to the Black One who is dead, the mighty king who was thy
brother, by Baleka, sister to Mopo. Yes, I know it from the lips of
Mopo. I know all the tale. He is heir to thy throne by blood, O King,
and thou sittest in his place."
For a little while Dingaan sat astounded. Then he commanded Zinita to
draw near and tell him that tale.
Now behind the stool on which he sat stood two councillors, nobles
whom Dingaan loved, and these alone had heard the last words of
Zinita. He bade these nobles stand in front of him, out of earshot and
away from every other man. Then Zinita drew near, and told Dingaan the
tale of the birth of Umslopogaas and all that followed, and, by many a
token and many a deed of Chaka's which he remembered, Dingaan the king
knew that it was a true story.
When at length she had done, he summoned the captain of the regiment
that stood around: he was a great man named Faku, and he also summoned
certain men who do the king's bidding. To the captain of the impi he
spoke sharply, saying:--
"Take three companies and guides, and come by night to the town of the
People of the Axe, that is by Ghost Mountain, and burn it, and slay
all the wizards who sleep therein. Most of all, slay the Chief of the
People, who is named Bulalio the Slaughterer or Umslopogaas. Kill him
by torture if you may, but kill him and bring his head to me. Take
that wife of his, who is known as Nada the Lily, alive if ye can, and
bring her to me, for I would cause her to be slain here. Bring the
cattle also. Now go, and go swiftly, this hour. If ye return having
failed in one jot of my command, ye die, every one of you--ye die, and
The captain saluted, and, running to his regiment, issued a command.
Three full companies leapt forward at his word, and ran after him
through the gates of the kraal Umgugundhlovu, heading for the Ghost
Then Dingaan called to those who do the king's bidding, and, pointing
to the two nobles, his councillors, who had heard the words of Zinita,
commanded that they should be killed.
The nobles heard, and, having saluted the king, covered their faces,
knowing that they must die because they had learned too much. So they
were killed. Now it was one of these councillors who had said that
doubtless meat would soon be found to feed the king's birds.
Then the king commanded those who do his bidding that they should take
the children of Zinita and make away with them.
But when Zinita heard this she cried aloud, for she loved her
children. Then Dingaan mocked her.
"What?" he said, "art thou a fool as well as wicked? Thou sayest that
thy husband, whom thou hast given to death, is born of one who is
dead, and is heir to my throne. Thou sayest also that these children
are born of him; therefore, when he is dead, they will be heirs to my
throne. Am I then mad that I should suffer them to live? Woman, thou
hast fallen into thine own trap. Take them away!"
Now Zinita tasted of the cup which she had brewed for other lips, and
grew distraught in her misery, and wrung her hands, crying that she
repented her of the evil and would warn Umslopogaas and the Lily of
that which awaited them. And she turned to run towards the gates. But
the king laughed and nodded, and they brought her back, and presently
she was dead also.
Thus, then, my father, prospered the wickedness of Zinita, the head
wife of Umslopogaas, my fosterling.
Now these were the last slayings that were wrought at the kraal
Umgugundhlovu, for just as Dingaan had made an end of them and once
more grew weary, he lifted his eyes and saw the hillsides black with
men, who by their dress were of his own impi--men whom he had sent out
against the Boers.
And yet where was the proud array, where the plumes and shields, where
the song of victory? Here, indeed, were soldiers, but they walked in
groups like women and hung their heads like chidden children.
Then he learned the truth. The impi had been defeated by the banks of
the Income; thousands had perished at the laager, mowed down by the
guns of the Boers, thousands more had been drowned in the Income, till
the waters were red and the bodies of the slain pushed each other
under, and those who still lived walked upon them.
Dingaan heard, and was seized with fear, for it was said that the
Amaboona followed fast on the track of the conquered.
That day he fled to the bush on the Black Umfolozi river, and that
night the sky was crimson with the burning of the kraal Umgugundhlovu,
where the Elephant should trumpet no more, and the vultures were
scared from the Hill of Slaughter by the roaring of the flames.
* * * * *
Galazi sat on the lap of the stone Witch, gazing towards the wide
plains below, that were yet white with the moon, though the night grew
towards the morning. Greysnout whined at his side, and Deathgrip
thrust his muzzle into his hand; but Galazi took no heed, for he was
brooding on the fall of Umslopogaas from the man that he had been to
the level of a woman's slave, and on the breaking up of the People of
the Axe, because of the coming of Nada. For all the women and the
children were gone to this Feast of Women, and would not return for
long, and it seemed to Galazi that many of the men had slipped away
also, as though they smelt some danger from afar.
"Ah, Deathgrip," said Galazi aloud to the wild brute at his side,
"changed is the Wolf King my brother, all changed because of a woman's
kiss. Now he hunts no more, no more shall Groan-Maker be aloft; it is
a woman's kiss he craves, not the touch of your rough tongue, it is a
woman's hand he holds, not the smooth haft of horn, he, who of all
men, was the fiercest and the first; for this last shame has overtaken
him. Surely Chaka was a great king though an evil, and he showed his
greatness when he forbade marriage to the warriors, marriage that
makes the heart soft and turns blood to water."
Now Galazi ceased, and gazed idly towards the kraal of the People of
the Axe, and as he looked his eyes caught a gleam of light that seemed
to travel in and out of the edge of the shadow of Ghost Mountain as a
woman's needle travels through a skin, now seen and now lost in the
He started and watched. Ah! there the light came out from the shadow.
Now, by Chaka's head, it was the light of spears!
One moment more Galazi watched. It was a little impi, perhaps they
numbered two hundred men, running silently, but not to battle, for
they wore no plumes. Yet they went out to kill, for they ran in
companies, and each man carried assegais and a shield.
Now Galazi had heard tell of such impis that hunt by night, and he
knew well that these were the king's dogs, and their game was men, a
big kraal of sleeping men, otherwise there had been fewer dogs. Is a
whole pack sent out to catch an antelope on its form? Galazi wondered
whom they sought. Ah! now they turned to the ford, and he knew. It was
his brother Umslopogaas and Nada the Lily and the People of the Axe.
These were the king's dogs, and Zinita had let them slip. For this
reason she had called a feast of women, and taken the children with
her; for this reason so many had been summoned from the kraal by one
means or another: it was that they might escape the slaughter.
Galazi bounded to his feet. For one moment he thought. Might not these
hunters be hunted? Could he not destroy them by the jaws of the wolves
as once before they had destroyed a certain impi of the king's? Ay, if
he had seen them but one hour before, then scarcely a man of them
should have lived to reach the stream, for he would have waylaid them
with his wolves. But now it might not be; the soldiers neared the
ford, and Galazi knew well that his grey people would not hunt on the
further plain, though for this he had heard one reason only, that
which was given him by the lips of the dead in a dream.
What, then, might be done? One thing alone: warn Umslopogaas. Yet how?
For him who could swim a rushing river, there was, indeed, a swifter
way to the place of the People of the Axe--a way that was to the path
of the impi as is the bow-string to the strung bow. And yet they had
travelled well-nigh half the length of the bow. Still, he might do it,
he whose feet were the swiftest in the land, except those of
Umslopogaas. At the least, he would try. Mayhap, the impi would tarry
to drink at the ford.
So Galazi thought in his heart, and his thought was swift as the
light. Then with a bound he was away down the mountain side. From
boulder to boulder he leapt like a buck, he crashed through the brake
like a bull, he skimmed the level like a swallow. The mountain was
travelled now; there in front of him lay the yellow river foaming in
its flood, so he had swum it before when he went to see the dead. Ah!
a good leap far out into the torrent; it was strong, but he breasted
it. He was through, he stood upon the bank shaking the water from him
like a dog, and now he was away up the narrow gorge of stones to the
long slope, running low as his wolves ran.
Before him lay the town--one side shone silver with the sinking moon,
one was grey with the breaking dawn. Ah! they were there, he saw them
moving through the grass by the eastern gate; he saw the long lines of
slayers creep to the left and the right.
How could he pass them before the circle of death was drawn? Six
spear-throws to run, and they had but such a little way! The mealie-
plants were tall, and at a spot they almost touched the fence. Up the
path! Could Umslopogaas, his brother, move more fast, he wondered,
than the Wolf who sped to save him? He was there, hidden by the mealie
stalks, and there, along the fence to the right and to the left, the
"Wow! What was that?" said one soldier of the king to another man as
they joined their guard completing the death circle. "Wow! something
great and black crashed through the fence before me."
"I heard it, brother," answered the other man. "I heard it, but I saw
nothing. It must have been a dog: no man could leap so high."
"More like a wolf," said the first; "at the least, let us pray that it
was not an Esedowan who will put us into the hole in its back. Is
your fire ready, brother? Wow! these wizards shall wake warm; the
signal should be soon."
 A fabulous animal, reported by the Zulus to carry off human beings
in a hole in its back.
Then arose the sound of a great voice crying, "Awake, ye sleepers, the
foe is at your gates!"
THE END OF THE PEOPLE, BLACK AND GREY
Galazi rushed through the town crying aloud, and behind him rose a
stir of men. All slept and no sentinels were set, for Umslopogaas was
so lost in his love for Lily that he forgot his wisdom, and thought no
more of war or death or of the hate of Dingaan. Presently the Wolf
came to the large new hut which Umslopogaas had caused to be built for
Nada the Lily, and entered it, for there he knew that he should find
his brother Bulalio. On the far side of the hut the two lay sleeping,
and the head of Umslopogaas rested on the Lily's breast, and by his
side gleamed the great axe Groan-Maker.
"Awake!" cried the Wolf.
Now Umslopogaas sprang to his feet grasping at his axe, but Nada threw
her arms wide, murmuring; "Let me sleep on, sweet is sleep."
"Sound shall ye sleep, anon!" gasped Galazi. "Swift, brother, bind on
the wolf's hide, take shield! Swift, I say--for the Slayers of the
king are at your gates!"
Now Nada sprang up also, and they did his bidding like people in a
dream; and, while they found their garments and a shield, Galazi took
beer and drank it, and got his breath again. They stood without the
hut. Now the heaven was grey, and east and west and north and south
tongues of flame shot up against the sky, for the town had been fired
by the Slayers.
Umslopogaas looked and his sense came back to him: he understood.
"Which way, brother?" he said.
"Through the fire and the impi to our Grey People on the mountain,"
said Galazi. "There, if we can win it, we shall find succour."
"What of my people in the kraal," asked Umslopogaas.
"They are not many, brother; the women and the children are gone. I
have roused the men--most will escape. Hence, ere we burn!"
Now they ran towards the fence, and as they went men joined them to
the number of ten, half awakened, fear-stricken, armed--some with
spears, some with clubs--and for the most part naked. They sped on
together towards the fence of the town that was now but a ring of
fire, Umslopogaas and Galazi in front, each holding the Lily by a
hand. They neared the fence--from without came the shouts of the
Slayers--lo! it was afire. Nada shrank back in fear, but Umslopogaas
and Galazi dragged her on. They rushed at the blazing fence, smiting
with axe and club. It broke before them, they were through but little
harmed. Without were a knot of the Slayers, standing back a small
space because of the heat of the flames. The Slayers saw them, and
crying, "This is Bulalio, kill the wizard!" sprang towards them with
uplifted spears. Now the People of the Axe made a ring round Nada, and
in the front of it were Umslopogaas and Galazi. Then they rushed on
and met those of the Slayers who stood before them, and the men of
Dingaan were swept away and scattered by Groan-Maker and the Watcher,
as dust is swept of a wind, as grass is swept by a sickle.
They were through with only one man slain, but the cry went up that
the chief of the wizards and the Lily, his wife, had fled. Then, as it
was these whom he was chiefly charged to kill, the captain called off
the impi from watching for the dwellers in the town, and started in
pursuit of Umslopogaas. Now, at this time nearly a hundred men of the
People of the Axe had been killed and of the Slayers some fifty men,
for, having been awakened by the crying of Galazi, the soldiers of the
axe fought bravely, though none saw where his brother stood, and none
knew whither their chief had fled except those ten who went with the
Meanwhile, the Wolf-Brethren and those with them were well away, and
it had been easy for them to escape, who were the swiftest-footed of
any in the land. But the pace of a regiment is the pace of its
slowest-footed soldier, and Nada could not run with the Wolf-Brethren.
Yet they made good speed, and were halfway down the gorge that led to
the river before the companies of Dingaan poured into it. Now they
came to the end of it, and the foe was near--this end of the gorge is
narrow, my father, like the neck of a gourd--then Galazi stopped and
"Halt! ye People of the Axe," he said, "and let us talk awhile with
these who follow till we get our breath again. But you, my brother,
pass the river with the Lily in your hand. We will join you in the
forest; but if perchance we cannot find you, you know what must be
done: set the Lily in the cave, then return and call up the grey impi.
Wow! my brother, I must find you if I may, for if these men of Dingaan
have a mind for sport there shall be such a hunting on the Ghost
Mountain as the old Witch has not seen. Go now, my brother!"
"It is not my way to turn and run while others stand and fight,"
growled Umslopogaas; "yet, because of Nada, it seems that I must."
"Oh! heed me not, my love," said Nada, "I have brought thee sorrow--I
am weary, let me die; kill me and save yourselves!"
For answer, Umslopogaas took her by the hand and fled towards the
river; but before he reached it he heard the sounds of the fray, the
war-cry of the Slayers as they poured upon the People of the Axe, the
howl of his brother, the Wolf, when the battle joined--ay, and the
crash of the Watcher as the blow went home.
"Well bitten, Wolf!" he said, stopping; "that one shall need no more;
oh! that I might"--but again he looked at Nada, and sped on.
Now they had leaped into the foaming river, and here it was well that
the Lily could swim, else both had been lost. But they won through and
passed forward to the mountain's flank. Here they walked on among the
trees till the forest was almost passed, and at length Umslopogaas
heard the howling of a wolf.
Then he must set Nada on his shoulders and carry her as once Galazi
had carried another, for it was death for any except the Wolf-Brethren
to walk on the Ghost Mountain when the wolves were awake.
Presently the wolves flocked around him, and leaped upon him in joy,
glaring with fierce eyes at her who sat upon his shoulders. Nada saw
them, and almost fell from her seat, fainting with fear, for they were
many and dreadful, and when they howled her blood turned to ice.
But Umslopogaas cheered her, telling her that these were his dogs with
whom he went out hunting, and with whom he should hunt presently. At
length they came to the knees of the Old Witch and the entrance to the
cave. It was empty except for a wolf or two, for Galazi abode here
seldom now; but when he was on the mountain would sleep in the forest,
which was nearer the kraal of his brother the Slaughterer.
"Here you must stay, sweet," said Umslopogaas when he had driven out
the wolves. "Here you must rest till this little matter of the Slayers
is finished. Would that we had brought food, but we had little time to
seek it! See, now I will show you the secret of the stone; thus far I
will push it, no farther. Now a touch only is needed to send it over
the socket and home; but then they must be two strong men who can pull
it back again. Therefore push it no farther except in the utmost need,
lest it remain where it fall, whether you will it or not. Have no
fear, you are safe here; none know of this place except Galazi, myself
and the wolves, and none shall find it. Now I must be going to find
Galazi, if he still lives; if not, to make what play I can against the
Slayers, alone with the wolves."
Now Nada wept, saying that she feared to be left, and that she should
never see him more, and her grief rung his heart. Nevertheless,
Umslopogaas kissed her and went, closing the stone after him in that
fashion of which he had spoken. When the stone was shut the cave was
almost dark, except for a ray of light that entered by a hole little
larger than a man's hand, that, looked at from within, was on the
right of the stone. Nada sat herself so that this ray struck full on
her, for she loved light, and without it she would pine as flowers do.
There she sat and thought in the darksome cave, and was filled with
fear and sorrow. And while she brooded thus, suddenly the ray went
out, and she heard a noise as of some beast that smells at prey. She
looked, and in the gloom she saw the sharp nose and grinning fangs of
a wolf that were thrust towards her through the little hole.
Nada cried aloud in fear, and the fangs were snatched back, but
presently she heard a scratching without the cave, and saw the stone
shake. Then she thought in her foolishness that the wolf knew how to
open the stone, and that he would do this, and devour her, for she had
heard the tale that all these wolves were the ghosts of evil men,
having the understanding of men. So, in her fear and folly, she seized
the rock and dragged on it as Umslopogaas had shown her how to do. It
shook, it slipped over the socket ledge, and rolled home like a pebble
down the mouth of a gourd.
"Now I am safe from the wolves," said Nada. "See, I cannot so much as
stir the stone from within." And she laughed a little, then ceased
from laughing and spoke again. "Yet it would be ill if Umslopogaas
came back no more to roll away that rock, for then I should be like
one in a grave--as one who is placed in a grave being yet strong and
quick." She shuddered as she thought of it, but presently started up
and set her ear to the hole to listen, for from far down the mountain
there rose a mighty howling and a din of men.
When Umslopogaas had shut the cave, he moved swiftly down the
mountain, and with him went certain of the wolves; not all, for he had
not summoned them. His heart was heavy, for he feared that Galazi was
no more. Also he was mad with rage, and plotted in himself to destroy
the Slayers of the king, every man of them; but first he must learn
what they would do. Presently, as he wended, he heard a long, low howl
far away in the forest; then he rejoiced, for he knew the call--it was
the call of Galazi, who had escaped the spears of the Slayers.
Swiftly he ran, calling in answer. He won the place. There, seated on
a stone, resting himself, was Galazi, and round him surged the numbers
of the Grey People. Umslopogaas came to him and looked at him, for he
seemed somewhat weary. There were flesh wounds on his great breast and
arms, the little shield was well-nigh hewn to strips, and the Watcher
showed signs of war.
"How went it, brother?" asked Umslopogaas.
"Not so ill, but all those who stood with me in the way are dead, and
with them a few of the foe. I alone am fled like a coward. They came
on us thrice, but we held them back till the Lily was safe; then, all
our men being down, I ran, Umslopogaas, and swam the torrent, for I
was minded to die here in my own place."
Now, though he said little of it, I must tell you, my father, that
Galazi had made a great slaughter there in the neck of the donga.
Afterwards I counted the slain, and they were many; the nine men of
the People of the Axe were hidden in them.
"Perhaps it shall be the Slayers who die, brother."
"Perhaps, at least, there shall be death for some. Still it is in my
mind, Slaughterer, that our brotherhood draws to an end, for the fate
of him who bears the Watcher, and which my father foretold, is upon
me. If so, farewell. While it lasted our friendship has been good, and
its ending shall be good. Moreover, it would have endured for many a
year to come had you not sought, Slaughterer, to make good better, and
to complete our joy of fellowship and war with the love of women. From
that source flow these ills, as a river from a spring; but so it was
fated. If I fall in this fray may you yet live on to fight in many
another, and at the last to die gloriously with axe aloft; and may you
find a brisker man and a better Watcher to serve you in your need.
Should you fall and I live on, I promise this: I will avenge you to
the last and guard the Lily whom you love, offering her comfort, but
no more. Now the foe draws on, they have travelled round about by the
ford, for they dared not face the torrent, and they cried to me that
they are sworn to slay us or be slain, as Dingaan, the king,
commanded. So the fighting will be of the best, if, indeed, they do
not run before the fangs of the Grey People. Now, Chief, speak your
word that I may obey it."
Thus Galazi spoke in the circle of the wolves, while Umslopogaas
leaned upon his Axe Groan-Maker, and listened to him, ay, and wept as
he listened, for after the Lily and me, Mopo, he loved Galazi most
dearly of all who lived. Then he answered:--
"Were it not for one in the cave above, who is helpless and tender, I
would swear to you, Wolf, that if you fall, on your carcase I will
die; and I do swear that, should you fall, while I live Groan-Maker
shall be busy from year to year till every man of yonder impi is as
you are. Perchance I did ill, Galazi, when first I hearkened to the
words of Zinita and suffered women to come between us. May we one day
find a land where there are no women, and war only, for in that land
we shall grow great. But now, at the least, we will make a good end to
this fellowship, and the Grey People shall fight their fill, and the
old Witch who sits aloft waiting for the world to die shall smile to
see that fight, if she never smiled before. This is my word: that we
fall upon the men of Dingaan twice, once in the glade of the forest
whither they will come presently, and, if we are beaten back, then we
must stand for the last time on the knees of the Witch in front of the
cave where Nada is. Say, Wolf, will the Grey Folk fight?"
"To the last, brother, so long as one is left to lead them, after that
I do not know! Still they have only fangs to set against spears.
Slaughterer, your plan is good. Come, I am rested."
So they rose and numbered their flock, and all were there, though it
was not as it had been years ago when first the Wolf-Brethren hunted
on Ghost Mountain; for many of the wolves had died by men's spears
when they harried the kraals of men, and no young were born to them.
Then, as once before, the pack was halved, and half, the she-wolves,
went with Umslopogaas, and half, the dog-wolves, went with Galazi.
Now they passed down the forest paths and hid in the tangle of the
thickets at the head of the darksome glen, one on each side of the
glen. Here they waited till they heard the footfall of the impi of the
king's Slayers, as it came slowly along seeking them. In front of the
impi went two soldiers watching for an ambush, and these two men were
the same who had talked together that dawn when Galazi sprang between
them. Now also they spoke as they peered this way and that; then,
seeing nothing, stood awhile in the mouth of the glen waiting the
coming of their company; and their words came to the ears of
"An awful place this, my brother," said one. "A place full of ghosts
and strange sounds, of hands that seem to press us back, and whinings
as of invisible wolves. It is named Ghost Mountain, and well named.
Would that the king had found other business for us than the slaying
of these sorcerers--for they are sorcerers indeed, and this is the
home of their sorceries. Tell me, brother, what was that which leaped
between us this morning in the dark! I say it was a wizard. Wow! they
are all wizards. Could any who was but a man have done the deeds which
he who is named the Wolf wrought down by the river yonder, and then
have escaped? Had the Axe but stayed with the Club they would have
eaten up our impi."
"The Axe had a woman to watch," laughed the other. "Yes, it is true
this is a place of wizards and evil things. Methinks I see the red
eyes of the Esedowana glaring at us through the dark of the trees and
smell their smell. Yet these wizards must be caught, for know this, my
brother: if we return to Umgugundhlovu with the king's command undone,
then there are stakes hardening in the fire of which we shall taste
the point. If we are all killed in the catching, and some, it seems,
are missing already, yet they must be caught. Say, my brother, shall
we draw on? The impi is nigh. Would that Faku, our captain yonder,
might find two others to take our place, for in this thicket I had
rather run last than first. Well, here leads the spoor--a wondrous
mass of wolf-spoor mixed with the footprints of men; perhaps they are
sometimes the one and sometimes the other--who knows, my brother? It
is a land of ghosts and wizards. Let us on! Let us on!"
Now all this while the Wolf-Brethren had much ado to keep their people
quiet, for their mouths watered and their eyes shone at the sight of
the men, and at length it could be done no more, for with a howl a
single she-wolf rushed from her laid and leapt at the throat of the
man who spoke, nor did she miss her grip. Down went wolf and man,
rolling together on the ground, and there they killed each other.
"The Esedowana! the Esedowana are upon us!" cried the other scout,
and, turning, fled towards the impi. But he never reached it, for with
fearful howlings the ghost-wolves broke their cover and rushed on him
from the right and the left, and lo! there was nothing of him left
except his spear alone.
Now a low cry of fear rose from the impi, and some turned to fly, but
Faku, the captain, a great and brave man, shouted to them, "Stand
firm, children of the king, stand firm, these are no Esedowana, these
are but the Wolf-Brethren and their pack. What! will ye run from dogs,
ye who have laughed at the spears of men? Ring round! Stand fast!"
The soldiers heard the voice of their captain, and they obeyed his
voice, forming a double circle, a ring within a ring. They looked to
the right, there, Groan-Maker aloft, the wolf fangs on his brow, the
worn wolf-hide streaming on the wind, Bulalio rushed upon them like a
storm, and with him came his red-eyed company. They looked to the left
--ah, well they know that mighty Watcher! Have they not heard his
strokes down by the river, and well they know the giant who wields it
like a wand, the Wolf King, with the strength of ten! Wow! They are
here! See the people black and grey, hear them howl their war-chant!
Look how they leap like water--leap in a foam of fangs against the
hedge of spears! The circle is broken; Groan-Maker has broken it! Ha!
Galazi also is through the double ring; now must men stand back to
back or perish!
How long did it last? Who can say? Time flies fast when blows fall
thick. At length the brethren are beaten back; they break out as they
broke in, and are gone, with such of their wolf-folk as were left
alive. Yet that impi was somewhat the worse, but one-third of those
lived who looked on the sun without the forest; the rest lay smitten,
torn, mangled, dead, hidden under the heaps of bodies of wild beasts.
"Now this is a battle of evil spirits that live in the shapes of
wolves, and as for the Wolf-Brethren, they are sorcerers of the
rarest," said Faku the captain, "and such sorcerers I love, for they
fight furiously. Yet I will slay them or be slain. At the least, if
there be few of us left, the most of the wolves are dead also, and the
arms of the wizards grow weary."
So he moved forward up the mountain with those of the soldiers who
remained, and all the way the wolves harried them, pulling down a man
here and a man there; but though they heard and saw them cheering on
their pack the Wolf-Brethren attacked them no more, for they saved
their strength for the last fight of all.
The road was long up the mountain, and the soldiers knew little of the
path, and ever the ghost-wolves harried on their flanks. So it was
evening before they came to the feet of the stone Witch, and began to
climb to the platform of her knees. There, on her knees as it were,
they saw the Wolf-Brethren standing side by side, such a pair as were
not elsewhere in the world, and they seemed afire, for the sunset beat
upon them, and the wolves crept round their feet, red with blood and
"A glorious pair!" quoth great Faku; "would that I fought with them
rather than against them! Yet, they must die!" Then he began to climb
to the knees of the Witch.
Now Umslopogaas glanced up at the stone face of her who sat aloft, and
it was alight with the sunset.
"Said I not that the old Witch should smile at this fray?" he cried.
"Lo! she smiles! Up, Galazi, let us spend the remnant of our people on
the foe, and fight this fight out, man to man, with no beast to spoil
it! Ho! Blood and Greysnout! ho! Deathgrip! ho! wood-dwellers grey and
black, at them, my children!"
The wolves heard; they were few and they were sorry to see, with
weariness and wounds, but still they were fierce. With a howl, for the
last time they leaped down upon the foe, tearing, harrying, and
killing till they themselves were dead by the spear, every one of them
except Deathgrip, who crept back sorely wounded to die with Galazi.
"Now I am a chief without a people," cried Galazi. "Well, it has been
my lot in life. So it was in the Halakazi kraals, so it is on Ghost
Mountain at the last, and so also shall it be even for the greatest
kings when they come to their ends, seeing that they, too, must die
alone. Say, Slaughterer, choose where you will stand, to the left or
to the right."
Now, my father, the track below separated, because of a boulder, and
there were two little paths which led to the platform of the Witch's
knees with, perhaps, ten paces between them. Umslopogaas guarded the
left-hand path and Galazi took the right. Then they waited, having
spears in their hands. Presently the soldiers came round the rock and
rushed up against them, some on one path and some on the other.
Then the brethren hurled their spears at them and killed three men.
Now the assegais were done, and the foe was on them. Umslopogaas bends
forward, his long arm shoots out, the axe gleams, and a man who came
on falls back.
"One!" cries Umslopogaas.
"One, my brother!" answers Galazi, as he draws back the Watcher from
A soldier rushes forward, singing. To and fro he moves in front of
Umslopogaas, his spear poised to strike. Groan-Maker swoops down, but
the man leaps back, the blow misses, and the Slaughterer's guard is
"A poor stroke, Sorcerer!" cries the man as he rushes in to stab him.
Lo! the axe wheels in the air, it circles swiftly low down by the
ground; it smites upward. Before the spearsman can strike the horn of
Groan-Maker has sped from chin to brain.
"But a good return, fool!" says Umslopogaas.
"Two!" cries Galazi, from the right.
"Two! my brother," answers Umslopogaas.
Again two men come on, one against each, to find no better luck. The
cry of "Three!" passes from brother to brother, and after it rises the
cry of "Four!"
Now Faku bids the men who are left to hold their shields together and
push the two from the mouths of the paths, and this they do, losing
four more men at the hands of the brethren before it is done.
"Now we are on the open! Ring them round and down with them!" cries
But who shall ring round Groan-Maker that shines on all sides at once,
Groan-Maker who falls heavily no more, but pecks and pecks and pecks
like a wood-bird on a tree, and never pecks in vain? Who shall ring
round those feet swifter than the Sassaby of the plains? Wow! He is
here! He is there! He is a sorcerer! Death is in his hand, and death
looks out of his eyes!
Galazi lives yet, for still there comes the sound of the Watcher as it
thunders on the shields, and the Wolf's hoarse cry of the number of
the slain. He has a score of wounds, yet he fights on! his leg is
almost hewn from him with an axe, yet he fights on! His back is
pierced again and again, yet he fights on! But two are left alive
before him, one twists round and spears him from behind. He heeds it
not, but smites down the foe in front. Then he turns and, whirling the
Watcher on high, brings him down for the last time, and so mightily
that the man before him is crushed like an egg.
Galazi brushes the blood from his eyes and glares round on the dead.
"All! Slaughterer," he cries.
"All save two, my brother," comes the answer, sounding above the clash
of steel and the sound of smitten shields.
Now the Wolf would come to him, but cannot, for his life ebbs.
"Fare you well, my brother! Death is good! Thus, indeed, I would die,
for I have made me a mat of men to lie on," he cried with a great
"Fare you well! Sleep softly, Wolf!" came the answer. "All save one!"
Now Galazi fell dying on the dead, but he was not altogether gone, for
he still spoke. "All save one! Ha! ha! ill for that one then when
Groan-Maker yet is up. It is well to have lived so to die. Victory!
And Galazi the Wolf struggled to his knees and for the last time shook
the Watcher about his head, then fell again and died.
Umslopogaas, the son of Chaka, and Faku, the captain of Dingaan, gazed
on each other. They alone were left standing upon the mountain, for
the rest were all down. Umslopogaas had many wounds. Faku was unhurt;
he was a strong man, also armed with an axe.
Faku laughed aloud. "So it has come to this, Slaughterer," he said,
"that you and I must settle whether the king's word be done or no.
Well, I will say that however it should fall out, I count it a great
fortune to have seen this fight, and the highest of honours to have
had to do with two such warriors. Rest you a little, Slaughterer,
before we close. That wolf-brother of yours died well, and if it is
given me to conquer in this bout, I will tell the tale of his end from
kraal to kraal throughout the land, and it shall be a tale forever."
THE LILY'S FAREWELL
Umslopogaas listened, but he made no answer to the words of Faku the
captain, though he liked them well, for he would not waste his breath
in talking, and the light grew low.
"I am ready, Man of Dingaan," he said, and lifted his axe.
Now for awhile the two circled round and round, each waiting for a
chance to strike. Presently Faku smote at the head of Umslopogaas, but
the Slaughterer lifted Groan-Maker to ward the blow. Faku crooked his
arm and let the axe curl downwards, so that its keen edge smote
Umslopogaas upon the head, severing his man's ring and the scalp
Made mad with the pain, the Slaughterer awoke, as it were. He grasped
Groan-maker with both hands and struck thrice. The first blow hewed
away the plumes and shield of Faku, and drive him back a spear's
length, the second missed its aim, the third and mightiest twisted in
his wet hands, so that the axe smote sideways. Nevertheless, it fell
full on the breast of the captain Faku, shattering his bones, and
sweeping him from the ledge of rock on to the slope beneath, where he
"It is finished with the daylight," said Umslopogaas, smiling grimly.
"Now, Dingaan, send more Slayers to seek your slain," and he turned to
find Nada in the cave.
But Faku the captain was not yet dead, though he was hurt to death. He
sat up, and with his last strength he hurled the axe in his hand at
him whose might had prevailed against him. The axe sped true, and
Umslopogaas did not see it fly. It sped true, and its point struck him
on the left temple, driving in the bone and making a great hole. Then
Faku fell back dying, and Umslopogaas threw up his arms and dropped
like an ox drops beneath the blow of the butcher, and lay as one dead,
under the shadow of a stone.
All day long Nada crouched in the cave listening to the sounds of war
that crept faintly up the mountain side; howling of wolves, shouting
of men, and the clamour of iron on iron. All day long she sat, and now
evening came apace, and the noise of battle drew near, swelled, and
sank, and died away. She heard the voices of the Wolf-Brethren as they
called to each other like bucks, naming the number of the slain. She
heard Galazi's cry of "Victory!" and her heart leapt to it, though she
knew that there was death in the cry. Then for the last time she heard
the faint ringing of iron on iron, and the light went out and all grew
All grew still as the night. There came no more shouting of men and no
more clash of arms, no howlings of wolves, no cries of pain or triumph
--all was quiet as death, for death had taken all.
For awhile Nada the Lily sat in the dark of the cave, saying to
herself, "Presently he will come, my husband, he will surely come; the
Slayers are slain--he does not but tarry to bind his wounds; a
scratch, perchance, here and there. Yes, he will come, and it is well,
for I am weary of my loneliness, and this place is grim and evil."
Thus she spoke to herself in hope, but nothing came except the
silence. Then she spoke again, and her voice echoed in the hollow
cave. "Now I will be bold, I will fear nothing, I will push aside the
stone and go out to find him. I know well he does but linger to tend
some who are wounded, perhaps Galazi. Doubtless Galazi is wounded. I
must go and nurse him, though he never loved me, and I do not love him
overmuch who would stand between me and my husband. This wild wolf-man
is a foe to women, and, most of all, a foe to me; yet I will be kind
to him. Come, I will go at once," and she rose and pushed at the rock.
Why, what was this? It did not stir. Then she remembered that she had
pulled it beyond the socket because of her fear of the wolf, and that
the rock had slipped a little way down the neck of the cave.
Umslopogaas had told her that she must not do this, and she had
forgotten his words in her foolishness. Perhaps she could move the
stone; no, not by the breadth of a grain of corn. She was shut in,
without food or water, and here she must bide till Umslopogaas came.
And if he did not come? Then she must surely die.
Now she shrieked aloud in her fear, calling on the name of
Umslopogaas. The walls of the cave answered "Umslopogaas!
Umslopogaas!" and that was all.
Afterwards madness fell upon Nada, my daughter, and she lay in the
cave for days and nights, nor knew ever how long she lay. And with her
madness came visions, for she dreamed that the dead One whom Galazi
had told her of sat once more aloft in his niche at the end of the
cave and spoke to her, saying:--
"Galazi is dead! The fate of him who bears the Watcher has fallen on
him. Dead are the ghost-wolves; I also am of hunger in this cave, and
as I died so shall you die, Nada the Lily! Nada, Star of Death!
because of whose beauty and foolishness all this death has come
This is seemed to Nada, in her madness, that the shadow of him who had
sat in the niche spoke to her from hour to hour.
It seemed to Nada, in her madness, that twice the light shone through
the hole by the rock, and that was day, and twice it went out, and
that was night. A third time the ray shone and died away, and lo! her
madness left her, and she awoke to know that she was dying, and that a
voice she loved spoke without the hole, saying in hollow accents:--
"Nada? Do you still live, Nada?"
"Yea," she answered hoarsely. "Water! give me water!"
Next she heard a sound as of a great snake dragging itself along
painfully. A while passed, then a trembling hand thrust a little gourd
of water through the hole. She drank, and now she could speak, though
the water seemed to flow through her veins like fire.
"Is it indeed you, Umslopogaas?" she said, "or are you dead, and do I
dream of you?"
"It is I, Nada," said the voice. "Hearken! have you drawn the rock
"Alas! yes," she answered. "Perhaps, if the two of us strive at it, it
"Ay, if our strength were what it was--but now! Still, let us try."
So they strove with a rock, but the two of them together had not the
strength of a girl, and it would not stir.
"Give over, Umslopogaas," said Nada; "we do but waste the time that is
left to me. Let us talk!"
For awhile there was no answer, for Umslopogaas had fainted, and Nada
beat her breast, thinking that he was dead.
Presently he spoke, however, saying, "It may not be; we must perish
here, one on each side of the stone, not seeing the other's face, for
my might is as water; nor can I stand upon my feet to go and seek for
"Are you wounded, Umslopogaas?" asked Nada.
"Ay, Nada, I am pierced to the brain with the point of an axe; no fair
stroke, the captain of Dingaan hurled it at me when I thought him
dead, and I fell. I do not know how long I have lain yonder under the
shadow of the rock, but it must be long, for my limbs are wasted, and
those who fell in the fray are picked clean by the vultures, all
except Galazi, for the old wolf Deathgrip lies on his breast dying,
but not dead, licking my brother's wounds, and scares the fowls away.
It was the beak of a vulture, who had smelt me out at last, that woke
me from my sleep beneath the stone, Nada, and I crept hither. Would
that he had not awakened me, would that I had died as I lay, rather
than lived a little while till you perish thus, like a trapped fox,
Nada, and presently I follow you."
"It is hard to die so, Umslopogaas," she answered, "I who am yet young
and fair, who love you, and hoped to give you children; but so it has
come about, and it may not be put away. I am well-nigh sped, husband;
horror and fear have conquered me, my strength fails, but I suffer
little. Let us talk no more of death, let us rather speak of our
childhood, when we wandered hand in hand; let us talk also of our
love, and of the happy hours that we have spent since your great axe
rang upon the rock in the Halakazi caves, and my fear told you the
secret of my womanhood. See, I thrust my hand through the hole; can
you not kiss it, Umslopogaas?"
Now Umslopogaas stooped his shattered head, and kissed the Lily's
little hand, then he held it in his own, and so they sat till the end
--he without, resting his back against the rock, she within, lying on
her side, her arm stretched through the little hole. They spoke of
their love, and tried to forget their sorrow in it; he told her also
of the fray which had been and how it went.
"Ah!" she said, "that was Zinita's work, Zinita who hated me, and
justly. Doubtless she set Dingaan on this path."
"A little while gone," quoth Umslopogaas; "and I hoped that your last
breath and mine might pass together, Nada, and that we might go
together to seek great Galazi, my brother, where he is. Now I hope
that help will find me, and that I may live a little while, because of
a certain vengeance which I would wreak."
"Speak not of vengeance, husband," she answered, "I, too, am near to
that land where the Slayer and the Slain, the Shedder of Blood and the
Avenger of Blood are lost in the same darkness. I would die with love,
and love only, in my heart, and your name, and yours only, on my lips,
so that if anywhere we live again it shall be ready to spring forth to
greet you. Yet, husband, it is in my heart that you will not go with
me, but that you shall live on to die the greatest of deaths far away
from here, and because of another woman. It seems that, as I lay in
the dark of this cave, I saw you, Umslopogaas, a great man, gaunt and
grey, stricken to the death, and the axe Groan-maker wavering aloft,
and many a man dead upon a white and shimmering way, and about you the
fair faces of white women; and you had a hole in your forehead,
husband, on the left side."
"That is like to be true, if I live," he answered, "for the bone of my
temple is shattered."
Now Nada ceased speaking, and for a long while was silent; Umslopogaas
was also silent and torn with pain and sorrow because he must lose the
Lily thus, and she must die so wretchedly, for one reason only, that
the cast of Faku had robbed him of his strength. Alas! he who had done
many deeds might not save her now; he could scarcely hold himself
upright against the rock. He thought of it, and the tears flowed down
his face and fell on to the hand of the Lily. She felt them fall and
"Weep not, my husband," she said, "I have been all too ill a wife to
you. Do not mourn for me, yet remember that I loved you well." And
again she was silent for a long space.
Then she spoke and for the last time of all, and her voice came in a
gasping whisper through the hole in the rock:--
"Farewell, Umslopogaas, my husband and my brother, I thank you for
your love, Umslopogaas. Ah! I die!"
Umslopogaas could make no answer, only he watched the little hand he
held. Twice it opened, twice it closed upon his own, then it opened
for the third time, turned grey, quivered, and was still forever!
Now it was at the hour of dawn that Nada died.
THE VENGEANCE OF MOPO AND HIS FOSTERLING
It chanced that on this day of Nada's death and at that same hour of
dawn I, Mopo, came from my mission back to the kraal of the People of
the Axe, having succeeded in my end, for that great chief whom I had
gone out to visit had hearkened to my words. As the light broke I
reached the town, and lo! it was a blackness and a desolation.
"Here is the footmark of Dingaan," I said to myself, and walked to and
fro, groaning heavily. Presently I found a knot of men who were of the
people that had escaped the slaughter, hiding in the mealie-fields
lest the Slayers should return, and from them I drew the story. I
listened in silence, for, my father, I was grown old in misfortune;
then I asked where were the Slayers of the king? They replied that
they did not know; the soldiers had gone up the Ghost Mountain after
the Wolf-Brethren and Nada the Lily, and from the forest had come a
howling of beasts and sounds of war; then there was silence, and none
had been seen to return from the mountain, only all day long the
vultures hung over it.
"Let us go up the mountain," I said.
At first they feared, because of the evil name of the place; but in
the end they came with me, and we followed on the path of the impi of
the Slayers and guessed all that had befallen it. At length we reached
the knees of stone, and saw the place of the great fight of the Wolf-
Brethren. All those who had taken part in that fight were now but
bones, because the vultures had picked them every one, except Galazi,
for on the breast of Galazi lay the old wolf Deathgrip, that was yet
alive. I drew near the body, and the great wolf struggled to his feet
and ran at me with bristling hair and open jaws, from which no sound
came. Then, being spent, he rolled over dead.
Now I looked round seeking the axe Groan-Maker among the bones of the
slain, and did not find it and the hope came into my heart that
Umslopogaas had escaped the slaughter. Then we went on in silence to
where I knew the cave must be, and there by its mouth lay the body of
a man. I ran to it--it was Umslopogaas, wasted with hunger, and in his
temple was a great wound and on his breast and limbs were many other
wounds. Moreover, in his hand he held another hand--a dead hand, that
was thrust through a hole in the rock. I knew its shape well--it was
the little hand of my child, Nada the Lily.
Now I understood, and, bending down, I felt the heart of Umslopogaas,
and laid the down of an eagle upon his lips. His heart still stirred
and the down was lifted gently.
I bade those with me drag the stone, and they did so with toil. Now
the light flowed into the cave, and by it we saw the shape of Nada my
daughter. She was somewhat wasted, but still very beautiful in her
death. I felt her heart also: it was still, and her breast grew cold.
Then I spoke: "The dead to the dead. Let us tend the living."
So we bore in Umslopogaas, and I caused broth to be made and poured it
down his throat; also I cleansed his great wound and bound healing
herbs upon it, plying all my skill. Well I knew the arts of healing,
my father; I who was the first of the izinyanga of medicine, and, had
it not been for my craft, Umslopogaas had never lived, for he was very
near his end. Still, there where he had once been nursed by Galazi the
Wolf, I brought him back to life. It was three days till he spoke,
and, before his sense returned to him, I caused a great hole to be dug
in the floor of the cave. And there, in the hole, I buried Nada my
daughter, and we heaped lily blooms upon her to keep the earth from
her, and then closed in her grave, for I was not minded that
Umslopogaas should look upon her dead, lest he also should die from
the sight, and because of his desire to follow her. Also I buried
Galazi the Wolf in the cave, and set the Watcher in his hand, and
there they both sleep who are friends at last, the Lily and the Wolf
together. Ah! when shall there be such another man and such another
At length on the third day Umslopogaas spoke, asking for Nada. I
pointed to the earth, and he remembered and understood. Thereafter the
strength of Umslopogaas gathered on him slowly, and the hole in his
skull skinned over. But now his hair was grizzled, and he scarcely
smiled again, but grew even more grim and stern than he had been
Soon we learned all the truth about Zinita, for the women and children
came back to the town of the People of the Axe, only Zinita and the
children of Umslopogaas did not come back. Also a spy reached me from
the Mahlabatine and told me of the end of Zinita and of the flight of
Dingaan before the Boers.
Now when Umslopogaas had recovered, I asked him what he would do, and
whether or not I should pursue my plots to make him king of the land.
But Umslopogaas shook his head, saying that he had no heart that way.
He would destroy a king indeed, but now he no longer desired to be a
king. He sought revenge alone. I said that it was well, I also sought
vengeance, and seeking together we would find it.
Now, my father, there is much more to tell, but shall I tell it? The
snow has melted, your cattle have been found where I told you they
should be, and you wish to be gone. And I also, I would be gone upon a
Listen, my father, I will be short. This came into my mind: to play
off Panda against Dingaan; it was for such an hour of need that I had
saved Panda alive. After the battle of the Blood River, Dingaan
summoned Panda to a hunt. Then it was that I journeyed to the kraal of
Panda on the Lower Tugela, and with me Umslopogaas. I warned Panda
that he should not go to this hunt, for he was the game himself, but
that he should rather fly into Natal with all his people. He did so,
and then I opened talk with the Boers, and more especially with that
Boer who was named Ungalunkulu, or Great Arm. I showed the Boer that
Dingaan was wicked and not to be believed, but Panda was faithful and
good. The end of it was that the Boers and Panda made war together on
Dingaan. Yes, I made that war that we might be revenged on Dingaan.
Thus, my father, do little things lead to great.
Were we at the big fight, the battle of Magongo? Yes, my father; we
were there. When Dingaan's people drove us back, and all seemed lost,
it was I who put into the mind of Nongalaza, the general, to pretend
to direct the Boers where to attack, for the Amaboona stood out of
that fight, leaving it to us black people. It was Umslopogaas who cut
his way with Groan-Maker through a wing of one of Dingaan's regiments
till he came to the Boer captain Ungalunkulu, and shouted to him to
turn the flank of Dingaan. That finished it, my father, for they
feared to stand against us both, the white and the black together.
They fled, and we followed and slew, and Dingaan ceased to be a king.
He ceased to be a king, but he still lived, and while he lived our
vengeance was hungry. So we went to the Boer captain and to Panda, and
spoke to them nicely, saying, "We have served you well, we have fought
for you, and so ordered things that victory is yours. Now grant us
this request, that we may follow Dingaan, who has fled into hiding,
and kill him wherever we find him, for he has worked us wrong, and we
would avenge it."
Then the white captain and Panda smiled and said, "Go children, and
prosper in your search. No one thing shall please us more than to know
that Dingaan is dead." And they gave us men to go with us.
Then we hunted that king week by week as men hunt a wounded buffalo.
We hunted him to the jungles of the Umfalozi and through them. But he
fled ever, for he knew that the avengers of blood were on his spoor.
After that for awhile we lost him. Then we heard that he had crossed
the Pongolo with some of the people who still clung to him. We
followed him to the place Kwa Myawo, and there we lay hid in the bush
watching. At last our chance came. Dingaan walked in the bush and with
him two men only. We stabbed the men and seized him.
Dingaan looked at us and knew us, and his knees trembled with fear.
Then I spoke:--
"What was that message which I sent thee, O Dingaan, who art no more a
king--that thou didst evil to drive me away, was it not? because I set
thee on thy throne and I alone could hold thee there?"
He made no answer, and I went on:--
"I, Mopo, son of Makedama, set thee on thy throne, O Dingaan, who wast
a king, and I, Mopo, have pulled thee down from thy throne. But my
message did not end there. It said that, ill as thou hadst done to
drive me away, yet worse shouldst thou do to look upon my face again,
for that day should be thy day of doom."
Still he made no answer. Then Umslopogaas spoke:--
"I am that Slaughterer, O Dingaan, no more a king, whom thou didst
send Slayers many and fierce to eat up at the kraal of the People of
the Axe. Where are thy Slayers now, O Dingaan? Before all is done thou
shalt look upon them."
"Kill me and make an end; it is your hour," said Dingaan.
"Not yet awhile, O son of Senzangacona," answered Umslopogaas, "and
not here. There lived a certain woman and she was named Nada the Lily.
I was her husband, O Dingaan, and Mopo here, he was her father. But,
alas! she died, and sadly--she lingered three days and nights before
she died. Thou shalt see the spot and hear the tale, O Dingaan. It
will wring thy heart, which was ever tender. There lived certain
children, born of another woman named Zinita, little children, sweet
and loving. I was their father, O Elephant in a pit, and one Dingaan
slew them. Of them thou shalt hear also. Now away, for the path is
Two days went by, my father, and Dingaan sat bound and alone in the
cave on Ghost Mountain. We had dragged him slowly up the mountain, for
he was heavy as an ox. Three men pushing at him and three others
pulling on a cord about his middle, we dragged him up, staying now and
again to show him the bones of those whom he had sent out to kill us,
and telling him the tale of that fight.
Now at length we were in the cave, and I sent away those who were with
us, for we wished to be alone with Dingaan at the last. He sat down on
the floor of the cave, and I told him that beneath the earth on which
he sat lay the bones of that Nada whom he had murdered and the bones
of Galazi the Wolf.
On the third day before the dawn we came again and looked upon him.
"Slay me," he said, "for the Ghosts torment me!"
"No longer art thou great, O shadow of a king," I said, "who now dost
tremble before two Ghosts out of all the thousands that thou hast
made. Say, then, how shall it fare with thee presently when thou art
of their number?"
Now Dingaan prayed for mercy.
"Mercy, thou hyena!" I answered, "thou prayest for mercy who showed
none to any! Give me back my daughter. Give this man back his wife and
children; then we will talk of mercy. Come forth, coward, and die the
death of cowards."
So, my father, we dragged him out, groaning, to the cleft that is
above in the breast of the old Stone Witch, that same cleft where
Galazi had found the bones. There we stood, waiting for the moment of
the dawn, that hour when Nada had died. Then we cried her name into
his ears and the names of the children of Umslopogaas, and cast him
into the cleft.
This was the end of Dingaan, my father--Dingaan, who had the fierce
heart of Chaka without its greatness.
MOPO ENDS HIS TALE
That is the tale of Nada the Lily, my father, and of how we avenged
her. A sad tale--yes, a sad tale; but all was sad in those days. It
was otherwise afterwards, when Panda reigned, for Panda was a man of
There is little more to tell. I left the land where I could stay no
longer who had brought about the deaths of two kings, and came here to
Natal to live near where the kraal Duguza once had stood.
The bones of Dingaan as they lay in the cleft were the last things my
eyes beheld, for after that I became blind, and saw the sun no more,
nor any light--why I do not know, perhaps from too much weeping, my
father. So I changed my name, lest a spear might reach the heart that
had planned the death of two kings and a prince--Chaka, Dingaan, and
Umhlangana of the blood royal. Silently and by night Umslopogaas, my
fosterling, led me across the border, and brought me here to Stanger;
and here as an old witch-doctor I have lived for many, many years. I
am rich. Umslopogaas craved back from Panda the cattle of which
Dingaan had robbed me, and drove them hither. But none were here who
had lived in the kraal Duguza, none knew, in Zweete the blind old
witch-doctor, that Mopo who stabbed Chaka, the Lion of the Zulu. None
know it now. You have heard the tale, and you alone, my father. Do not
tell it again till I am dead.
Umslopogaas? Yes, he went back to the People of the Axe and ruled
them, but they were never so strong again as they had been before they
smote the Halakazi in their caves, and Dingaan ate them up. Panda let
him be and liked him well, for Panda did not know that the Slaughterer
was son to Chaka his brother, and Umslopogaas let that dog lie, for
when Nada died he lost his desire to be great. Yet he became captain
of the Nkomabakosi regiment, and fought in many battles, doing mighty
deeds, and stood by Umbulazi, son of Panda, in the great fray on the
Tugela, when Cetywayo slew his brother Umbulazi.
After that also he plotted against Cetywayo, whom he hated, and had it
not been for a certain white man, a hunter named Macumazahn,
Umslopogaas would have been killed. But the white man saved him by his
wit. Yes, and at times he came to visit me, for he still loved me as
of old; but now he has fled north, and I shall hear his voice no more.
Nay, I do not know all the tale; there was a woman in it. Women were
ever the bane of Umslopogaas, my fostering. I forget the story of that
woman, for I remember only these things that happened long ago, before
I grew very old.
Look on this right hand of mine, my father! I cannot see it now; and
yet I, Mopo, son of Makedama, seem to see it as once I saw, red with
the blood of two kings. Look on--
Suddenly the old man ceased, his head fell forward upon his withered
breast. When the White Man to whom he told this story lifted it and
looked at him, he was dead!