BAT AN THE PAROQUET 15 7
been watching his opportunity, and he and two of his followers, all fully armed, had taken up a position in the middle of the path, by which Byan must pass back to his house.
' Thou wast over arrogant to me last night,' said To' Mda Long as Byan approached, cand now I will repay thee ! '
'Have patience, To' Mda, have patience,' said Byan. 'Thy servant did not speak to thee ; it was the boys who were unmannerly, and thy servant, being an old man, did reprove them ! '
' It is not for the like of thee to reprove men, and the said boys are my people, the sons of my loins. I will cover their shame ! ' said To' Mda Long, for the wolf was determined to pick a quarrel with the lamb, bleat he never so wisely.
' Have patience, To' Mda ! ' again cried poor Byan, but the words were hardly out of his mouth before To' Mda Long struck at him with his spear, but missed him. Then, as Byan retreated step by step, defending himself with the clumsy bamboo from the deft spear thrusts, no more words passed between them.
At last the spear went home, 'jBsah! Bsah! I have wetted thee ! ' cried To' Mda Long, and he went in at his enemy, iris in hand, Byan beating him about the head with the now empty bamboo. When he got to close quarters, the deed was soon done, and the body of Byan the Paroquet, with seventeen rending wounds upon it, lay stark and hideously staring at the pure morning sky.
There was loud talk of blood-money, and equallyThere was loud talk of blood-money, and equally