Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 eBook

James Richardson (explorer of the Sahara)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1.

Whilst speaking to Yusuf on this subject, En-Noor the Kailouee, who, by the bye, must not be confounded with the Sultan of Aheer bearing the same name, came in and told us that he had just seen Wataitee, who was exceedingly exasperated, and who threatened to stop the caravan in the morning if his demands were not complied with.  What is to be done?  Were we to aim at satisfying all the unjust claims made upon us, we should not only be beggared immediately, but should have whole crowds of fresh suppliants coming in every day.  Wataitee seems to expect that I should give him something like a hundred reals in money for his pretended extra services, and goes thundering about, “that the lands, and rocks, and mountains of Ghat do not belong to God, but to the Azgher, to whom the Creator has given them once and for ever, and who are the sovereign and omnipotent rulers of this portion of earth—­this large tract of Sahara.”  There has often been detected in the speeches of African princes a certain degree of blasphemy and resistance to the omnipotent sovereignty of the Deity they adore; and this kind of language was not new to me.  The possessors of lawless power seem easily to identify themselves with gods.

To us, naked rocks, and treeless valleys, and bare stony plains, are objects without interest, except in a geological point of view.  But it is very different with the Haghar and Azgher.  In their eyes, a plain of stones and sand holds the place of a heath of growing bloom; a barren valley is a vale of fertility; rocks and mountains are always objects of beauty; whilst wells are treasured of wealth, as indeed they are verily in the desert.  A Tuarick may be said to know every stone of his arid kingdom.

Taking these things into consideration, and making a merit of necessity, we agreed together to offer him thirty reals.  He had already come down to fifty, and now accepted the thirty, but said they must be the large ones, or douros (dollars).  It was arranged that I should pay the money to En-Noor in Aheer; for all now had become convinced that not one of us three had any dollars worth speaking of left.  I believe I have some six or seven, whilst the Germans have none.  If we had brought a thousand with us, they would all have been scattered to the wind in these Tuarick countries.  Our servants, being persuaded that we have no dollars left, have sworn to the fact; so that my candid declaration, “That if they were to kill me, they could not find ten dollars to pay them for their trouble,” is now believed.

14th.—­Wataitee came early to my tent, and asked me for a bit of sugar.  I gave him half a loaf, with which he was apparently well satisfied; for afterwards he asked if I had any letters to take to Ghat.  I consigned to him a letter for Mr. Bidwell and my wife.  Wataitee amused Barth by recounting to him numerous dues which he had failed to pay.  Amongst the rest, a tax to see the Kasar Janoon; fifty dollars for drinking of the

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Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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