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The Ghost Kings   By: (1856-1925)

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First Page:

THE GHOST KINGS

By

H. Rider Haggard

First published July 1908. Reprinted March 1909.

Cheap Edition December 1911.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

1. THE GIRL

2. THE BOY

3. GOOD BYE

4. ISHMAEL

5. NOIE

6. THE CASTING OF THE LOTS

7. THE MESSAGE OF THE KING

8. MR. DOVE VISITS ISHMAEL

9. THE TAKING OF NOIE

10. THE OMEN OF THE STAR

11. ISHMAEL VISITS THE Inkosazana

12. RACHEL SEES A VISION

13. RICHARD COMES

14. WHAT CHANCED AT RAMAH

15. RACHEL COMES HOME

16. THE THREE DAYS

17. RACHEL LOSES HER SPIRIT

18. THE CURSE OF THE Inkosazana

19. RACHEL FINDS HER SPIRIT

20. THE MOTHER OF THE TREES

21. THE CITY OF THE DEAD

22. IN THE SANCTUARY

23. THE DREAM IN THE NORTH

24. THE END AND THE BEGINNING

EXTRACT

FROM LETTER HEADED "THE KING'S KRAAL, ZULULAND, 12TH MAY, 1855."

"The Zulus about here have a strange story of a white girl who in Dingaan's day was supposed to 'hold the spirit' of some legendary goddess of theirs who is also white. This girl, they say, was very beautiful and brave, and had great power in the land before the battle of the Blood River, which they fought with the emigrant Boers. Her title was Lady of the Zulus, or more shortly, Zoola, which means Heaven.

"She seems to have been the daughter of a wandering, pioneer missionary, but the king, I mean Dingaan, murdered her parents, of whom he was jealous, after which she went mad and cursed the nation, and it is to this curse that they still attribute the death of Dingaan, and their defeats and other misfortunes of that time.

"Ultimately, it appears, in order to be rid of this girl and her evil eye, they sold her to the doctors of a dwarf people, who lived far away in a forest and worshipped trees, since when nothing more has been heard of her. But according to them the curse stopped behind.

"If I can find out anything more of this curious story I will let you know, but I doubt if I shall be able to do so. Although fifteen years or so have passed since Dingaan's death in 1840 the Kaffirs are very shy of talking about this poor lady, and, I think, only did so to me because I am neither an official nor a missionary, but one whom they look upon as a friend because I have doctored so many of them. When I asked the Indunas about her at first they pretended total ignorance, but on my pressing the question, one of them said that 'all that tale was unlucky and "went beyond" with Mopo.' Now Mopo, as I think I wrote to you, was the man who stabbed King Chaka, Dingaan's brother. He is supposed to have been mixed up in the death of Dingaan also, and to be dead himself. At any rate he vanished away after Panda came to the throne."

CHAPTER I

THE GIRL

The afternoon was intensely, terribly hot. Looked at from the high ground where they were encamped above the river, the sea, a mile or two to her right for this was the coast of Pondo land to little Rachel Dove staring at it with sad eyes, seemed an illimitable sheet of stagnant oil. Yet there was no sun, for a grey haze hung like a veil beneath the arch of the sky, so dense and thick that its rays were cut off from the earth which lay below silent and stifled. Tom, the Kaffir driver, had told her that a storm was coming, a father of storms, which would end the great drought. Therefore he had gone to a kloof in the mountains where the oxen were in charge of the other two native boys since on this upland there was no pasturage to drive them back to the waggon. For, as he explained to her, in such tempests cattle are apt to take fright and rush away for miles, and without cattle their plight would be even worse than it was at present.

At least this was what Tom said, but Rachel, who had been brought up among natives and understood their mind, knew that his real reason was that he wished to be out of the way when the baby was buried. Kaffirs do not like death, unless it comes by the assegai in war, and Tom, a good creature, had been fond of that baby during its short little life. Well, it was buried now; he had finished digging its resting place in the hard soil before he went... Continue reading book >>




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