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The Ghost Kings

by H. Rider Haggard

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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.

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Nay, King, she answered, "what I said then, I said once and for all. Read thou the saying as thou wilt, or let the Ghost-people interpret it to thee. Hear me, King and Councillors. Ye have kept me here when I would be gone, my business being ended, that I might be a judge among this people. Ye have told me that the rivers were in flood, that the beast I rode was sick, that evil would befall the land if I deserted you. Now I know, and ye know, that if it pleased me I could have departed when and whither I would, but it was not fitting that the Inkosazana should creep out of Zululand like a thief in the night, so I abode on in my house yonder.



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