THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN
A long way off, near the sea coast of the east of Africa, there dwelt, once upon a time, a man and his wife. They had two children, a son and a daughter, whom they loved very much, and, like parents in other countries, they often talked of the fine marriages the young people would make some day. Out there both boys and girls marry early, and very soon, it seemed to the mother, a message was sent by a rich man on the other side of the great hills offering a fat herd of oxen in exchange for the daughter. Everyone in the house and in the village rejoiced, and the maiden was despatched to her new home. When all was quiet again the father said to his son:
'Now that we own such a splendid troop of oxen you had better hasten and get yourself a wife, lest some illness should overtake them. Already we have seen in the villages round about one or two damsels whose parents would gladly part with them for less than half the herd. Therefore tell us which you like best, and we will buy her for you.'
But the son answered:
'Not so; the maidens I have seen do not please me. If, indeed, I must marry, let me travel and find a wife for myself.'
'It shall be as you wish,' said his parents; 'but if by-and-by trouble should come of it, it will be your fault and not ours.'
The youth, however, would not listen; and bidding his father and mother farewell, set out on his search.