The Ivory Child eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 335 pages of information about The Ivory Child.

I could not answer this riddle, so instead I gave him some water which he asked for, and he continued: 

“Baas, have you any messages for the two Shining ones, for her whose name is holy and her sister, and for the child of her whose name is holy, the Missie Marie, and for your reverend father, the Predikant?  If so, tell it quickly before my head grows too empty to hold the words.”

I will confess, however foolish it may seem, that I gave him certain messages, but what they were I shall not write down.  Let them remain secret between me and him.  Yes, between me and him and perhaps those to whom they were to be delivered.  For after all, in his own words, who can know exactly where fancies end and truth begin, and whether at times fancies are not the veritable truths in this universal mystery of which the individual life of each of us is so small a part?

Hans repeated what I had spoken to him word for word, as a native does, repeated it twice over, after which he said he knew it by heart and remained silent for a long while.  Then he asked me to lift him up in the doorway of the cell so that he might look at the sun setting for the last time, “for, Baas,” he added, “I think I am going far beyond the sun.”

He stared at it for a while, remarking that from the look of the sky there should be fine weather coming, “which will be good for your journey towards the Black Water, Baas, with all that ivory to carry.”

I answered that perhaps I should never get the ivory from the graveyard of the elephants, as the Black Kendah might prevent this.

“No, no, Baas,” he replied, “now that Jana is dead the Black Kendah will go away.  I know it, I know it!”

Then he wandered for a space, speaking of sundry adventures we had shared together, till quite before the last indeed, when his mind returned to him.

“Baas,” he said, “did not the captain Mavovo name me Light-in-Darkness, and is not that my name?  When you too enter the Darkness, look for that Light; it will be shining very close to you.”

He only spoke once more.  His words were: 

“Baas, I understand now what your reverend father, the Predikant, meant when he spoke to me about Love last night.  It had nothing to do with women, Baas, at least not much.  It was something a great deal bigger, Baas, something as big as what I feel for you!”

Then Hans died with a smile on his wrinkled face.

I wept!

CHAPTER XXI

HOMEWARDS

There is not much more to write of this expedition, or if that statement be not strictly true, not much more that I wish to write, though I have no doubt that Ragnall, if he had a mind that way, could make a good and valuable book concerning many matters on which, confining myself to the history of our adventure, I have scarcely touched.  All the affinities between this Central African Worship of the Heavenly Child and its Guardian and that of Horus and Isis in Egypt from which it was undoubtedly descended, for instance.  Also the part which the great serpent played therein, as it may be seen playing a part in every tomb upon the Nile, and indeed plays a part in our own and other religions.  Further, our journey across the desert to the Red Sea was very interesting, but I am tired of describing journeys—­and of making them.

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The Ivory Child from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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