192 THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN
nodded her head obediently. Next it was the mother's turn; and, as was the custom of the tribe, she spoke to her daughter:
'Will you choose which of your sisters shall go with you to cut your wood and carry your water?'
'I do not want any of them,' answered she; 'they are no use. They will drop the wood and spill the water.'
'Then will you have any of the other children? There are enough and to spare,' asked the mother again. But the bride said quickly:
'I will have none of them! You must give me our buffalo, the Rover of the Plain; he alone shall serve me.'
'What folly you talk!' cried the parents. 'Give you our buffalo, the Rover of the Plain? Why, you know that our life depends on him. Here he is well fed and lies on soft grass; but how can you tell what will befall him in another country? The food may be bad, he will die of hunger; and, if he dies we die also.'
'No, no,' said the bride; 'I can look after him as well as you. Get him ready, for the sun is sinking and it is time we set forth.'
So she went away and put together a small pot filled with healing herbs, a horn that she used in tending sick people, a little knife, and a calabash containing deer fat; and, hiding these about her, took leave of her father and mother and started across the mountains by the side of her husband.
But the young man did not see the buffalo that followed them, which had left his home to be the servant of his wife.
No one ever knew how the news spread to the kraal that the young man was coming back, bringing a wife tvith him; but, somehow or other, when the two entered the village, every man and woman was standing in the road uttering shouts of welcome.