Chief Subetu

Name ID 1370

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 124
Extract Date: 1903

Many Chiefs

a young Chief named Kankula brought in a cow and an ox, which I bought. He was delighted with the presents I gave him and said he had other cattle to sell and would come again. Subetu, another Chief, also came in the same day with about fifty of his men. When I saw this big caravan coming in the distance I thought something was wrong. There was no cause for alarm, however, as he came in a friendly spirit, bringing me presents of sheep and matama flour. At his request I sent men to his place with trade goods to buy some cows and oxen. They returned early in the day and said the Natives had taken the cloth and given them nothing in return. I went myself and made vigorous protest, as the result of which two cows were given me.

The Natives were a most lazy set, doing nothing all day but smoke bubble-bubble pipes. They lay on the grass while the women ground flour by rubbing two stones together, and the children herded the cattle. I sent a Swahili headman to Kunguru, one of the fighting chiefs who had refused to pay the Government hut tax, and he returned to say the people were not very friendly. However, two Natives from Kunguru's place came in bringing a young bull as a present. There were no more cattle for sale here.

I had been down to inspect the main herd of my cattle when a headman came along to tell me that a Greek trader with askaris had been to one of the villages, and, after firing his guns in the air, had gone into the Native cattle boma and taken what cattle he wanted, leaving three or four hands of cloth per head as payment. Illicit trading, by arousing distrust in the Native mind, prevents honest men from doing good and fair business, and I was very angry at the news. Shortly afterwards a Chief, called Miama, told me that the Greek had sent men to his village the day before. They were armed, and took a cow and calf, leaving two hands of cloth as payment. He also said they had given an adjacent Chief twenty five lashes with a kiboko, a whip made out of rhino hide.

Extract ID: 3596