“Farewell to you also, Yellow Man,” he went on to Hans, who had appeared, hovering about like a dog that is doubtful of its welcome; “well are you named Light-in-Darkness, and glad am I to have met you, who have learned from you how a snake moves and strikes, and how a jackal thinks and avoids the snare. Yes, farewell, for the spirit within me does not tell me that you and I shall meet again.”
Then he lifted the great axe, and gave me a formal salute, naming me “Chief and Father, Great Chief and Father, from of old” (Baba! Koos y umcool! Koos y pagate!), thereby acknowledging my superiority over him, a thing that he had never done before, and as he did, so did Goroko and the other Zulus, adding to their salute many titles of praise. In another minute he had gone with the King’s captain, to whose side I noted he clung lovingly, his long, thin fingers playing about the horn handle of the axe that was named Inkosikaas and Groan-maker.
“I am glad we have seen the last of him and his axe, Baas,” remarked Hans, spitting reflectively. “It is very well to sleep in the same hut with a tame lion sometimes, but after you have done so for many moons, you begin to wonder when you will wake up at night to find him pulling the blankets off you and combing your hair with his claws. Yes, I am very glad that this half-tame lion is gone, since sometimes I have thought that I should be obliged to poison it that we might sleep in peace. You know he called me a snake, Baas, and poison is a snake’s only spear. Shall I tell the boys to inspan the oxen, Baas? I think the further we get from that King’s captain and his men, the more comfortably shall we travel, especially now when we no longer have the Great Medicine to protect us.”
“You suggested giving it to him, Hans,” I said.
“Yes, Baas, I had rather that Umslopogaas went away with the Great Medicine, than that you kept the Great Medicine and he stopped with us here. Never travel with a traitor, Baas, at any rate in the land of the king whom he wishes to kill. Kings are very selfish people, Baas, and do not like being killed, especially by someone who wants to sit upon their stool and to take the royal salute. No one gives the royal salute to a dead king, Baas, however great he was before he died, and no one thinks the worse of a king who was a traitor before he became a king.”
ALLAN DELIVERS THE MESSAGE
Once more I sat in the Black Kloof face to face with old Zikali.
“So you have got back safely, Macumazahn,” he said. “Well, I told you you would, did I not? As for what happened to you upon the journey, let it be, for now that I am old long stories tire me and I daresay that there is nothing wonderful about this one. Where is the charm I lent you? Give it back now that it has served its turn.”
“I have not got it, Zikali. I passed it on to Umslopogaas of the Axe to save his life from the King’s men.”