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Excerpt: ...cruelty, for though he destroyed many for sport alone, also he slew on this day all those whom he hated or whom he feared. At length the night came down, the sun sank red that day, all the sky was like blood, and blood was all the earth beneath. Then the killing ceased, because none had now the strength to kill, and the people lay panting in heaps upon the ground, the living and the dead together. I looked at them, and saw that if they were not allowed to eat and drink, before day dawned again the most of them would be dead, and I spoke to the king, for I cared little in that hour if I lived or died; even my hope of vengeance was forgotten in the sickness of my heart. "A mourning indeed, O King," I said, "a merry mourning for true-hearted men, but for wizards a mourning such as they do not love. I think that thy sorrows are avenged, O King, thy sorrows and mine also." "Not so, Mopo," answered the king, "this is but the beginning; our mourning was merry to-day, it shall be merrier to-morrow." "To-morrow, O King, few will be left to mourn; for the land will be swept of men." "Why, Mopo, son of Makedama? But a few have perished of all the thousands who are gathered together. Number the people and they will not be missed." "But a few have died beneath the assegai and the kerrie, O King. Yet hunger and thirst shall finish the spear's work. The people have neither eaten nor drunk for a day and a night, and for a day and a night they have wailed and moaned. Look without, Black One, there they lie in heaps with the dead. By to-morrow's light they also will be dead or dying." Now, Chaka thought awhile, and he saw that the work would go too far, leaving him but a small people over whom to rule. "It is hard, Mopo," he said, "that thou and I must mourn alone over our woes while these dogs feast and make merry. Yet, because of the gentleness of my heart, I will deal gently with them. Go out, son of Makedama, and bid my children eat and drink if they have the...
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Stephen Coan is an assistant editor of The Natal Witness.
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