Then Kari went ashore and was absent for some time. At length among the trees and undergrowth I heard the sound of people talking in a strange tongue. Presently they appeared on the bank of the creek, a great number of them, very curious people, brown-skinned with long, lank black hair and large eyes, but not over-tall in stature; men, women and children together.
Among them were some who wore white robes whom I took to be their gentlefolk, but the most of them had only cloths or girdles about their middles. Leading the throng was Kari, who, as it appeared from the bushes, waved his hand and pointed me out seated in the shining armour on the ship, the visor up to show my face and the long sword in my hand. They stared, then, with a low, sighing exclamation, one and all fell upon their faces and rubbed their brows upon the ground.
As they lay there Kari addressed them, waving his arms and pointing towards me from time to time. Afterwards I learned that he was telling them I was a god, for which lie may his soul be forgiven.
The end of it was that he bade them rise and led certain of them who wore the white robes across the planks to the ship. Here, while they hung back, he advanced towards me, bowing and kissing the air till he drew near, then he went upon his knees and laid his hands upon my steel-clad feet. More, from the bosom of his robe he drew out flowers which he placed upon my knees as though in offering.
“Now, Master,” he whispered to me, “rise and wave your sword and shout aloud, to show that you are alive and not an image.”
So up I sprang, circling Wave-Flame about my head and roaring like any bull of Bashan, for my voice was always loud and carried far. When they saw the bright sword whirling through the air and heard these bellowings, uttering cries of fear, those poor folk fled. Indeed most of them fell from the plank into the mud, where one stuck fast and was like to drown, had not Kari rescued him, which his brethren were in too great haste to do.
After they had gone Kari came and said that everything went well and that henceforward I was not a man but the Spirit of the Sea come to earth, such a spirit as had never been dreamed of even by the wizards.
Thus then did Hubert of Hastings become a god among those simple people, who had never before so much as heard of a white man, or seen armour or a sword of steel.
THE ROCKY ISLE
For another week or more I remained upon the Blanche waiting till my full strength returned, also because Kari said I must do so. When I asked him why, he replied for the reason that he wished news of my coming to spread far and wide throughout the land from one tribe to another, which it would do with great swiftness, flying, as he put it, like a bird. Meanwhile, every day I sat upon the poop in the armour for an hour or more, and both these people and others from afar came to look at me, bringing me presents in such quantity that we knew not what to do with them. Indeed, they built an altar and sacrificed wild creatures to me, and birds, burning them with fire. Both those that I had seen and the other folk from a long way off made this offering.