Following the line of her outstretched hand Hadden’s eyes fell upon two withered mimosa trees which grew over the fall almost at right angles to its rocky edge. These trees were joined together by a rude platform made of logs of wood lashed down with riems of hide. Upon this platform stood three figures; notwithstanding the distance and the spray of the fall, he could see that they were those of two men and a girl, for their shapes stood out distinctly against the fiery red of the sunset sky. One instant there were three, the next there were two—for the girl had gone, and something dark rushing down the face of the fall, struck the surface of the pool with a heavy thud, while a faint and piteous cry broke upon his ear.
“What is the meaning of that?” he asked, horrified and amazed.
“Nothing,” answered the Bee with a laugh. “Do you not know, then, that this is the place where faithless women, or girls who have loved without the leave of the king, are brought to meet their death, and with them their accomplices. Oh! they die here thus each day, and I watch them die and keep the count of the number of them,” and drawing a tally-stick from the thatch of the hut, she took a knife and added a notch to the many that appeared upon it, looking at Nahoon the while with a half-questioning, half-warning gaze.
“Yes, yes, it is a place of death,” she muttered. “Up yonder the quick die day by day and down there”—and she pointed along the course of the river beyond the pool to where the forest began some two hundred yards from her hut—“the ghosts of them have their home. Listen!”
As she spoke, a sound reached their ears that seemed to swell from the dim skirts of the forests, a peculiar and unholy sound which it is impossible to define more accurately than by saying that it seemed beastlike, and almost inarticulate.
“Listen,” repeated the Bee, “they are merry yonder.”
“Who?” asked Hadden; “the baboons?”
“No, Inkoos, the Amatongo—the ghosts that welcome her who has just become of their number.”
“Ghosts,” said Hadden roughly, for he was angry at his own tremors, “I should like to see those ghosts. Do you think that I have never heard a troop of monkeys in the bush before, mother? Come, Nahoon, let us be going while there is light to climb the cliff. Farewell.”
“Farewell Inkoos, and doubt not that your wish will be fulfilled. Go in peace Inkoos—to sleep in peace.”
THE END OF THE HUNT