King Solomon's Mines
The Legend Of Solomon's Mines
"What was it that you heard about my brother's journey at Bamangwato?" asked Sir
Henry, as I paused to fill my pipe before replying to Captain Good.
"I heard this," I answered, "and I have never mentioned it to a soul till to-day. I heard that
he was starting for Solomon's Mines."
"Solomon's Mines?" ejaculated both my hearers at once. "Where are they?"
"I don't know," I said; "I know where they are said to be. Once I saw the peaks of the
mountains that border them, but there were a hundred and thirty miles of desert between
me and them, and I am not aware that any white man ever got across it save one. But
perhaps the best thing I can do is to tell you the legend of Solomon's Mines as I know it,
you passing your word not to reveal anything I tell you without my permission. Do you
agree to that? I have my reasons for asking."
Sir Henry nodded, and Captain Good replied, "Certainly, certainly."
"Well," I began, "as you may guess, generally speaking, elephant hunters are a rough set
of men, who do not trouble themselves with much beyond the facts of life and the ways
of Kafirs. But here and there you meet a man who takes the trouble to collect traditions
from the natives, and tries to make out a little piece of the history of this dark land. It was
such a man as this who first told me the legend of Solomon's Mines, now a matter of
nearly thirty years ago. That was when I was on my first elephant hunt in the Matalebe
country. His name was Evans, and he was killed the following year, poor fellow, by a
wounded buffalo, and lies buried near the Zambesi Falls. I was telling Evans one night, I
remember, of some wonderful workings I had found whilst hunting koodoo and eland in
what is now the Lydenburg district of the Transvaal. I see they have come across these
workings again lately in prospecting for gold, but I knew of them years ago. There is a
great wide wagon road cut out of the solid rock, and leading to the mouth of the working
or gallery. Inside the mouth of this gallery are stacks of gold quartz piled up ready for
roasting, which shows that the workers, whoever they were, must have left in a hurry.
Also, about twenty paces in, the gallery is built across, and a beautiful bit of masonry it
"'Ay,' said Evans, 'but I will spin you a queerer yarn than that'; and he went on to tell me
how he had found in the far interior a ruined city, which he believed to be the Ophir of
the Bible, and, by the way, other more learned men have said the same long since poor
Evans's time. I was, I remember, listening open-eared to all these wonders, for I was
young at the time, and this story of an ancient civilisation and of the treasures which
those old Jewish or Phoenician adventurers used to extract from a country long since
lapsed into the darkest barbarism took a great hold upon my imagination, when suddenly
he said to me, 'Lad, did you ever hear of the Suliman Mountains up to the north-west of
the Mushakulumbwe country?' I told him I never had. 'Ah, well,' he said, 'that is where
Solomon really had his mines, his diamond mines, I mean.'
"'How do you know that?' I asked.