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King Solomon's Mines H. Rider Haggard

The Legend Of Solomon's Mines

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"Then he began to wander again, and in an hour it was all over.

"God rest him! he died very quietly, and I buried him deep, with big boulders on his breast; so I do not think that the jackals can have dug him up. And then I came away."

"Ay, but the document?" said Sir Henry, in a tone of deep interest.

"Yes, the document; what was in it?" added the captain.

"Well, gentlemen, if you like I will tell you. I have never showed it to anybody yet except to a drunken old Portuguese trader who translated it for me, and had forgotten all about it by the next morning. The original rag is at my home in Durban, together with poor Dom Jose's translation, but I have the English rendering in my pocketbook, and a facsimile of the map, if it can be called a map. Here it is."


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    "I, Jose da Silvestra, who am now dying of hunger in the little
    cave here no snow is on the north side of the nipple of the
    southernmost of the two mountains I have named Sheba's Breasts,
    write this in the year 1590 with a cleft bone upon a remnant of my
    raiment, my blood being the ink. If my slave should find it when
    he comes, and should bring it to Delagoa, let my friend (name
    illegible) bring the matter to the knowledge of the king, that he
    may send an army which, if they live through the desert and the
    mountains, and can overcome the brave Kukuanes and their devilish
    arts, to which end many priests should be brought, will make him
    the richest king since Solomon. With my own eyes I have seen the
    countless diamonds stored in Solomon's treasure chamber behind the
    white Death; but through the treachery of Gagool the witch-finder
    I might bring nought away, scarcely my life. Let him who comes
    follow the map, and climb the snow of Sheba's left breast till he
    reaches the nipple, on the north side of which is the great road
    Solomon made, from whence three days' journey to the King's
    Palace. Let him kill Gagool. Pray for my soul. Farewell.

Jose da Silvestra."[2]

When I had finished reading the above, and shown the copy of the map, drawn by the dying hand of the old Dom with his blood for ink, there followed a silence of astonishment.

"Well," said Captain Good, "I have been round the world twice, and put in at most ports, but may I be hung for a mutineer if ever I heard a yarn like this out of a story book, or in it either, for the matter of that."

"It's a queer tale, Mr. Quatermain," said Sir Henry. "I suppose you are not hoaxing us? It is, I know, sometimes thought allowable to take in a greenhorn."

"If you think that, Sir Henry," I said, much put out, and pocketing my paper--for I do not like to be thought one of those silly fellows who consider it witty to tell lies, and who are for ever boasting to newcomers of extraordinary hunting adventures which never happened-- "if you think that, why, there is an end to the matter," and I rose to go.

Sir Henry laid his large hand upon my shoulder. "Sit down, Mr. Quatermain," he said, "I beg your pardon; I see very well you do not wish to deceive us, but the story sounded so strange that I could hardly believe it."

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King Solomon's Mines
H. Rider Haggard

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