While the trader was speaking I observed that the negroes were talking with the eager looks and gesticulations that are peculiar to the Africans when excited, and presently two or three of them came forward and asked several questions, while their eyes sparkled eagerly and their black faces shone with animation as they pointed into the woods in the direction whence we had come.
“They want to know where you have left the carcass of the leopard, and if you have taken away the brains,” said the trader, turning to me. “I daresay you know – if not you’ll soon come to find out – that all the nigger tribes in Africa are sunk in gross and cruel superstitions. They have more fetishes, and greegrees, and amulets, and wooden gods, and charms, than they know what to do with, and have surrounded themselves with spiritual mysteries that neither themselves nor anybody else can understand. Among other things, they attach a very high value to the brains of the leopard, because they imagine that he who possesses them will be rendered extraordinarily bold and successful in hunting. These fellows are in hopes that, being ignorant of the value of leopard brains, you have left them in the carcass, and are burning with anxiety to be off after them.”
“Poor creatures!” said I, “they are heartily welcome to the brains; and the carcass lies not more than four hours’ march from this spot, I should think, – Is it not so, Jack?”
My friend nodded assent, and the trader, turning to the expectant crowd of natives, gave them the information they desired. No sooner had he finished than with loud cries they turned and darted away, tossing their arms wildly in the air, and looking more like to a band of scared monkeys than to human beings.
“They’re queer fellows,” remarked Peterkin.
“So they are,” replied the trader, “and they’re kindly fellows too – jovial and good-humoured, except when under the influence of their abominable superstitions. Then they become incarnate fiends, and commit deeds of cruelty that make one’s blood run cold to think of.”
Why do homeschooling families consider Vision Forum books to be worthy of purchase? Must a Christian education engender hatred towards black people?