King Solomon's Mines HTML version

We Enter Kukuanaland
All that afternoon we travelled along the magnificent roadway, which trended steadily in
a north-westerly direction. Infadoos and Scragga walked with us, but their followers
marched about one hundred paces ahead.
"Infadoos," I said at length, "who made this road?"
"It was made, my lord, of old time, none know how or when, not even the wise woman
Gagool, who has lived for generations. We are not old enough to remember its making.
None can fashion such roads now, but the king suffers no grass to grow upon it."
"And whose are the writings on the wall of the caves through which we have passed on
the road?" I asked, referring to the Egyptian-like sculptures that we had seen.
"My lord, the hands that made the road wrote the wonderful writings. We know not who
wrote them."
"When did the Kukuana people come into this country?"
"My lord, the race came down here like the breath of a storm ten thousand thousand
moons ago, from the great lands which lie there beyond," and he pointed to the north.
"They could travel no further because of the high mountains which ring in the land, so
say the old voices of our fathers that have descended to us the children, and so says
Gagool, the wise woman, the smeller out of witches," and again he pointed to the snow-
clad peaks. "The country, too, was good, so they settled here and grew strong and
powerful, and now our numbers are like the sea sand, and when Twala the king calls up
his regiments their plumes cover the plain so far as the eye of man can reach."
"And if the land is walled in with mountains, who is there for the regiments to fight
"Nay, my lord, the country is open there towards the north, and now and again warriors
sweep down upon us in clouds from a land we know not, and we slay them. It is the third
part of the life of a man since there was a war. Many thousands died in it, but we
destroyed those who came to eat us up. So since then there has been no war."
"Your warriors must grow weary of resting on their spears, Infadoos."
"My lord, there was one war, just after we destroyed the people that came down upon us,
but it was a civil war; dog ate dog."
"How was that?"
"My lord the king, my half-brother, had a brother born at the same birth, and of the same
woman. It is not our custom, my lord, to suffer twins to live; the weaker must always die.
But the mother of the king hid away the feebler child, which was born the last, for her
heart yearned over it, and that child is Twala the king. I am his younger brother, born of
another wife."