Mkaaah Jeechonee, the Boy Hunter
So they took their arrowroot cakes, and their molasses cakes, and ate until they were quite full.
Then the youth said to them: “My people, to-day is perhaps the last we shall ever see; so we will take leave of each other. Those who are to escape will escape, and those who are to die will die; but if I die, let those who escape tell my mother and father not to grieve for me.”
But his attendants said, “Oh, come along, master; none of us will die, please God.”
So they went on their hands and knees till they were close up, and then they said to Mkaaah Jeechonee, “Give us your plan, master;” but he said, “There is no plan, only let all fire at once.”
Well, they fired all at once, and immediately the elephant jumped up and charged at them. Then such a helter-skelter flight as there was! They threw away their guns and everything they carried, and made for the trees, which they climbed with surprising alacrity.
As to the elephant, he kept straight ahead until he fell down some distance away.
They all remained in the trees from three until six o’clock in the morning, without food and without clothing.
The young man sat in his tree and wept bitterly, saying, “I don’t exactly know what death is, but it seems to me this must be very like it.” As no one could see any one else, he did not know where his attendants were, and though he wished to come down from the tree, he thought, “Maybe the noondah is down below there, and will eat me.”
Each attendant was in exactly the same fix, wishing to come down, but afraid the noondah was waiting to eat him.
Keeroboto had seen the elephant fall, but was afraid to get down by himself, saying, “Perhaps, though it has fallen down, it is not dead.” But presently he saw a dog go up to it and smell it, and then he was sure it was dead. Then he got down from the tree as fast as he could and gave a signal cry, which was answered; but not being sure from whence the answer came, he repeated the cry, listening intently. When it was answered he went straight to the place from which the sound proceeded, and found two of his companions in one tree.