Swallow: a tale of the great trek eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 380 pages of information about Swallow.

So Suzanne, accompanied only by Sihamba, and mounted upon the great schimmel that had come safe and well through all the journey, though the black horse had died of sickness, rode out a hundred paces in front of the army and met the man.  There she spoke to him well and wisely, pointing out to him that without doubt a trick had been played upon Sigwe which he was mad to avenge.  The captain answered that they were well able to fight.  She replied that this might be so, that they might even conquer Sigwe and drive him back, but it could not be done without great loss to themselves, and that if his tribe were at all weakened the Zulus, who hated them, would hear of it, and take the opportunity to stamp them out.

Well, the end of it was that the Endwandwe yielded, and upon the promise of Suzanne—­for they would take no other—­that no spear should be lifted against them, they sent the true Batwa, a beautiful but sullen girl, to Sigwe, taking back the old Batwa, who departed cursing him and all his race.  With her they returned also the thousand head of cattle which he had paid and twelve hundred more by way of fine, for the balance was remitted by agreement.

And so came to an end the war of Sigwe with the Endwandwe, which among the Kaffirs is still spoken of as the “War of the White Swallow,” or sometimes as “The War of the Clean Spear,” because no blood at all was shed in it, and not a man was killed by violence, although when Sigwe passed through that country on his journey home, by means of a clever trick the Pondo chief re-captured most of the cattle that had been taken from him.



So the cattle were handed over, and the girl Batwa was given to Sigwe, whom by the way she made unhappy for the rest of his days.  Indeed, she brought about his ruin, for being ambitious she persuaded him to make war upon the white people in the Transkei, of which the end was that from a great chief he became a very small one.  When all was accomplished Sigwe waited upon Suzanne.

“Lady Swallow,” he said, “in three days I begin my homeward march, and now I have come to ask whither you wish to go, since you cannot stop here in the veldt alone.”

“I would return with you to the Transkei,” she answered, “and seek out my own home.”

“Lady,” he said shamefacedly, “alas! that may not be.  You remember the dream of the diviner, and you know how that all which she foretold, and more, has come to pass, for you, the White Swallow, appeared and flew in front of my impi, and from that hour we have had the best of luck.  By your wisdom we outwitted the Pondos and seized their cattle; by your wisdom we have conquered the Endwandwe without lifting a single spear, and that Batwa, whom I desired, is mine; while of the great force which came out with me to war but twenty-one are dead, twelve by drowning, eight by sickness, and one by snakebite.  All things have gone well, and she who dreamed the dream of the White Swallow is the greatest of diviners.

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Swallow: a tale of the great trek from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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