Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

leprosy alone would prevent their
laying hands upon him, while his reputation as a witch-doctor rendered
him doubly immune from attack. He was planning upon compelling them to
drive the ten goats to the mouth of his cave when Momaya returned.
With her were three warriors--Mbonga, the chief, Rabba Kega, the
village witch-doctor, and Ibeto, Tibo's father. They were not pretty
men even under ordinary circumstances, and now, with their faces marked
by anger, they well might have inspired terror in the heart of anyone;
but if Bukawai felt any fear, he did not betray it. Instead he greeted
them with an insolent stare, intended to awe them, as they came and
squatted in a semi-circle before him.

"Where is Ibeto's son?" asked Mbonga.

"How should I know?" returned Bukawai. "Doubtless the white devil-god
has him. If I am paid I will make strong medicine and then we shall
know where is Ibeto's son, and shall get him back again. It was my
medicine which got him back the last time, for which I got no pay."

"I have my own witch-doctor to make medicine," replied Mbonga with
dignity.

Bukawai sneered and rose to his feet. "Very well," he said, "let him
make his medicine and see if he can bring Ibeto's son back." He took a
few steps away from them, and then he turned angrily back. "His
medicine will not bring the child back--that I know, and I also know
that when you find him it will be too late for any medicine to bring
him back, for he will be dead. This have I just found out, the ghost
of my father's sister but now came to me and told me."

Now Mbonga and Rabba Kega might not take much stock in their own magic,
and they might even be skeptical as to the magic of another; but there
was always a chance of _something_ being in it, especially if it were not
their own. Was it not well known that old Bukawai had speech with the
demons themselves and that two even lived with him in the forms of
hyenas! Still they must not accede too hastily. There was the price to
be considered, and Mbonga had no intention of parting lightly with ten
goats to obtain the return of a single little boy who might die of
smallpox long before he reached a warrior's estate.

"Wait," said Mbonga. "Let us see some of your magic, that we may know
if it be good magic. Then we can

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