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Chapter XXXVI 


MOPO ENDS HIS TALE

That is the tale of Nada the Lily, my father, and of how we avenged her. A sad tale--yes, a sad tale; but all was sad in those days. It was otherwise afterwards, when Panda reigned, for Panda was a man of peace.

There is little more to tell. I left the land where I could stay no longer who had brought about the deaths of two kings, and came here to Natal to live near where the kraal Duguza once had stood.

The bones of Dingaan as they lay in the cleft were the last things my eyes beheld, for after that I became blind, and saw the sun no more, nor any light--why I do not know, perhaps from too much weeping, my father. So I changed my name, lest a spear might reach the heart that had planned the death of two kings and a prince--Chaka, Dingaan, and Umhlangana of the blood royal. Silently and by night Umslopogaas, my fosterling, led me across the border, and brought me here to Stanger; and here as an old witch-doctor I have lived for many, many years. I am rich. Umslopogaas craved back from Panda the cattle of which Dingaan had robbed me, and drove them hither. But none were here who had lived in the kraal Duguza, none knew, in Zweete the blind old witch-doctor, that Mopo who stabbed Chaka, the Lion of the Zulu. None know it now. You have heard the tale, and you alone, my father. Do not tell it again till I am dead.

Umslopogaas? Yes, he went back to the People of the Axe and ruled them, but they were never so strong again as they had been before they smote the Halakazi in their caves, and Dingaan ate them up. Panda let him be and liked him well, for Panda did not know that the Slaughterer was son to Chaka his brother, and Umslopogaas let that dog lie, for when Nada died he lost his desire to be great. Yet he became captain of the Nkomabakosi regiment, and fought in many battles, doing mighty deeds, and stood by Umbulazi, son of Panda, in the great fray on the Tugela, when Cetywayo slew his brother Umbulazi.

After that also he plotted against Cetywayo, whom he hated, and had it not been for a certain white man, a hunter named Macumazahn, Umslopogaas would have been killed. But the white man saved him by his wit. Yes, and at times he came to visit me, for he still loved me as of old; but now he has fled north, and I shall hear his voice no more. Nay, I do not know all the tale; there was a woman in it. Women were ever the bane of Umslopogaas, my fostering. I forget the story of that woman, for I remember only these things that happened long ago, before I grew very old.

Look on this right hand of mine, my father! I cannot see it now; and yet I, Mopo, son of Makedama, seem to see it as once I saw, red with the blood of two kings. Look on--

Suddenly the old man ceased, his head fell forward upon his withered breast. When the White Man to whom he told this story lifted it and looked at him, he was dead!

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