152 THE SACBED MILK OF KOUMONGOE
returned to the village, which Masilo had managed to reach before her.
All the rest of the day he sat in a corner weeping, and his mother who came in asked: ' Why are you weeping so bitterly, my son ? '
' My head aches,' he answered ; ' it aches very badly.' And his mother passed on, and left him alone.
In the evening he said to his wife : ' I have seen my daughter, in the place where you told me you had drowned her. Instead, she lives at the bottom of the lake, and has now grown into a young woman.'
I don't know what you are talking about,' replied Thakane. ' I buried my child under the sand on the beach.'
Then Masilo implored her to give the child back to him ; but she would not listen, and only answered : ' If I were to give her back you would only obey the laws of your country and take her to your father, the ogre, and she would be eaten.'
But Masilo promised that he would never let his father see her, and that now she was a woman no one would try to hurt her ; so Thakane's heart melted, and she went down to the lake to consult the old woman.
' What am I to do ?' she asked, when, after clapping her hands, the old woman appeared before her. ' Yesterday Masilo beheld Dilah, and ever since he has entreated me to give him back his daughter.'
' If I let her go he must pay me a thousand head of cattle in exchange,' replied the old woman. And Thakane carried her answer back to Masilo.
' Why, I would gladly give her two thousand ! ' cried he, ' for she has saved my daughter.' And he bade messengers hasten to all the neighbouring villages, and tell his people to send him at once all the cattle he possessed. When they were all assembled he chose a thousand of the finest bulls and cows, and drove them down to the