“I let go his ear and burst out laughing, the whole scene and his devout aspirations for the decease of the partner of his joys, or rather woes, were so intensely ridiculous.
“‘No, you old iniquity,’ I answered; ’I left her in the top of a thorn-tree, screaming like a thousand bluejays. The elephant put her there.’
“‘Alas! alas!’ he said, ’surely the back of the ox is shaped to the burden. Doubtless, my father, she will come down when she is tired;’ and without troubling himself further about the matter, he began to blow at the smouldering embers of the fire.
“And, as a matter of fact, she did appear a few minutes later, considerably scratched and startled, but none the worse.
“After that I made my way to my little camp, which, fortunately, the elephants had not walked over, and wrapping myself up in a blanket, was soon fast asleep.
“And so ended my first round with those three elephants.”
IV—THE LAST ROUND
“On the morrow I woke up full of painful recollections, and not without a certain feeling of gratitude to the Powers above that I was there to wake up. Yesterday had been a tempestuous day; indeed, what between buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephant, it had been very tempestuous. Having realized this fact, I next bethought me of those magnificent tusks, and instantly, early as it was, broke the tenth commandment. I coveted my neighbours tusks, if an elephant could be said to be my neighbour de jure, as certainly, so recently as the previous night, he had been de facto—a much closer neighbour than I cared for, indeed. Now when you covet your neighbour’s goods, the best thing, if not the most moral thing, to do is to enter his house as a strong man armed, and take them. I was not a strong man, but having recovered my eight-bore I was armed, and so was the other strong man—the elephant with the tusks. Consequently I prepared for a struggle to the death. In other words, I summoned my faithful retainers, and told them that I was now going to follow those elephants to the edge of the world, if necessary. They showed a certain bashfulness about the business, but they did not gainsay me, because they dared not. Ever since I had prepared with all due solemnity to execute the rebellious Gobo they had conceived a great respect for me.
“So I went up to bid adieu to the old head man, whom I found alternately contemplating the ruins of his kraal and, with the able assistance of his last wife, thrashing the jealous lady who had slept in the mealie hut, because she was, as he declared, the fount of all his sorrows.
“Leaving them to work a way through their domestic differences, I levied a supply of vegetable food from the kraal in consideration of services rendered, and left them with my blessing. I do not know how they settled matters, because I have not seen them since.