Child of Storm eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Child of Storm.

Great heaven! how they did fight, more like devils than human beings.  After that first howl which shaped itself to the word “Saduko,” they were silent as bulldogs.  Though they were so few, at first their terrible rush drove back the Amakoba.  Then, as these recovered from their surprise, the weight of numbers began to tell, for they, too, were brave men who did not give way to panic.  Scores of them went down at once, but the remainder pushed the Amangwane before them up the hill.  I took little share in the fight, but was thrust backward with the others, only firing when I was obliged to save my own life.  Foot by foot we were pushed back till at length we drew near to the crest of the pass.

Then, while the issue hung in the balance, there was another shout of “Saduko!” and that chief himself, followed by his thirty, rushed upon the Amakoba.

This charge decided the battle, for not knowing how many more were coming, those who were left of the Amakoba turned and fled, nor did we pursue them far.

We mustered on the hill-top, not more than two hundred of us now, the rest were fallen or desperately wounded, my poor hunter, whom I had lent to Saduko, being among the dead.  Although wounded, he died fighting to the last, then fell down, shouting to me: 

“Chief, have I done well?” and expired.

I was breathless and spent, but as in a dream I saw some Amangwane drag up a gaunt old savage, crying: 

“Here is Bangu, Bangu the Butcher, whom we have caught alive.”

Saduko stepped up to him.

“Ah!  Bangu,” he said, “now say, why should I not kill you as you would have killed the little lad Saduko long ago, had not Zikali saved him?  See, here is the mark of your spear.”

“Kill,” said Bangu.  “Your Spirit is stronger than mine.  Did not Zikali foretell it?  Kill, Saduko.”

“Nay,” answered Saduko.  “If you are weary I am weary, too, and wounded as well.  Take a spear, Bangu, and we will fight.”

So they fought there in the moonlight, man to man; fought fiercely while all watched, till presently I saw Bangu throw his arms wide and fall backwards.

Saduko was avenged.  I have always been glad that he slew his enemy thus, and not as it might have been expected that he would do.

CHAPTER VII

SADUKO BRINGS THE MARRIAGE GIFT

We reached my wagons in the early morning of the following day, bringing with us the cattle and our wounded.  Thus encumbered it was a most toilsome march, and an anxious one also, for it was always possible that the remnant of the Amakoba might attempt pursuit.  This, however, they did not do, for very many of them were dead or wounded, and those who remained had no heart left in them.  They went back to their mountain home and lived there in shame and wretchedness, for I do not believe there were fifty head of cattle left among the tribe, and Kafirs without cattle are nothing.  Still, they did not starve, since there were plenty of women to work the fields, and we had not touched their corn.  The end of them was that Panda gave them to their conqueror, Saduko, and he incorporated them with the Amangwane.  But that did not happen until some time afterwards.

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Child of Storm from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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