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|King Solomon's Mines||H. Rider Haggard|
Twala The King
|Page 6 of 9||
"White people, whence come ye, and what seek ye?"
"We come from the Stars, ask us not how. We come to see this land."
"Ye journey from far to see a little thing. And that man with you," pointing to Umbopa, "does he also come from the Stars?"
"Even so; there are people of thy colour in the heavens above; but ask not of matters too high for thee, Twala the king."
"Ye speak with a loud voice, people of the Stars," Twala answered in a tone which I scarcely liked. "Remember that the Stars are far off, and ye are here. How if I make you as him whom they bore away?"
I laughed out loud, though there was little laughter in my heart.
"O king," I said, "be careful, walk warily over hot stones, lest thou shouldst burn thy feet; hold the spear by the handle, lest thou should cut thy hands. Touch but one hair of our heads, and destruction shall come upon thee. What, have not these"--pointing to Infadoos and Scragga, who, young villain that he was, was employed in cleaning the blood of the soldier off his spear--"told thee what manner of men we are? Hast thou seen the like of us?" and I pointed to Good, feeling quite sure that he had never seen anybody before who looked in the least like him as he then appeared.
"It is true, I have not," said the king, surveying Good with interest.
"Have they not told thee how we strike with death from afar?" I went on.
"They have told me, but I believe them not. Let me see you kill. Kill me a man among those who stand yonder"--and he pointed to the opposite side of the kraal--"and I will believe."
"Nay," I answered; "we shed no blood of men except in just punishment; but if thou wilt see, bid thy servants drive in an ox through the kraal gates, and before he has run twenty paces I will strike him dead."
"Nay," laughed the king, "kill me a man and I will believe."
"Good, O king, so be it," I answered coolly; "do thou walk across the open space, and before thy feet reach the gate thou shalt be dead; or if thou wilt not, send thy son Scragga" (whom at that moment it would have given me much pleasure to shoot).
On hearing this suggestion Scragga uttered a sort of howl, and bolted into the hut.
Twala frowned majestically; the suggestion did not please him.
"Let a young ox be driven in," he said.
Two men at once departed, running swiftly.
"Now, Sir Henry," said I, "do you shoot. I want to show this ruffian that I am not the only magician of the party."
Sir Henry accordingly took his "express," and made ready.
"I hope I shall make a good shot," he groaned.
"You must," I answered. "If you miss with the first barrel, let him have the second. Sight for 150 yards, and wait till the beast turns broadside on."
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|King Solomon's Mines
H. Rider Haggard
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