Mkaaah Jeechonee, the Boy Hunter
Then Mkaaah Jeechonee said, “Each of you take two guns; lay one beside you and take the other in your hands, and at the proper time let us all fire at once.”
And they said, “All right, master.”
So they crept cautiously through the bushes and got around to the other side of the tree, at the back of the rhinoceros; then they closed up till they were quite near it, and all fired together. The beast jumped up, ran a little way, and then fell down dead.
They bound it, and dragged it for two whole days, until they reached the town, when Mkaaah Jeechonee began singing,
“Oh, mother, I have killed
The noondah, eater of the people.”
But he received the same answer from his mother: “My son, this is not the noondah, eater of the people.”
And many persons came and looked at the rhinoceros, and felt very sorry for the young man. As for his father and mother, they both begged of him to give up, his father offering to give him anything he possessed if he would only stay at home. But he said, “I don’t hear what you are saying; good-bye,” and was off again.
This time he still further increased the distance from his home, and at last he saw an elephant asleep at noon in the forest. Thereupon he said to his attendants, “Now we have found the noondah.”
“Ah, where is he?” said they.
“Yonder, in the shade. Do you see it?”
“Oh, yes, master; shall we march up to it?”
“If we march up to it, and it is looking this way, it will come at us, and if it does that, some of us will be killed. I think we had best let one man steal up close and see which way its face is turned.”
As every one thought this was a good idea, a slave named Keerobo′to crept on his hands and knees, and had a good look at it. When he returned in the same manner, his master asked: “Well, what’s the news? Is it the noondah?”
“I do not know,” replied Keeroboto; “but I think there is very little doubt that it is. It is broad, with a very big head, and, goodness, I never saw such large ears!”
“All right,” said Mkaaah Jeechonee; “let us eat, and then go for it.