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p. 59


KING ABIPA took a fancy to remove his whole court to a new capital, and for this purpose he decided to build a town on a certain hill which pleased him.

 His nobles, however, did not at all desire the change, and some of them met together to make a plan which would turn the King away from his project.

 They agreed to send certain slaves of repulsive appearance, whom they possessed, to haunt the hill after the manner of ghosts, so that the King would be afraid to build his capital there. One noble sent a hunchback, another an albino, another a leper, and a fourth a dwarf.

 When the King’s messengers arrived to survey the hill, they saw these strange apparitions leaping about with torches in their hands, and shouting with one voice: “Ko si aye! Ko si aye!” (No room! No room!).

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 They returned in terror to the King, and told him that the hill was haunted by ghosts.

 However, one of the royal advisers suspected a plot, and advised the King to send hunters to the hill to capture the “ghosts.”

 The King took this advice, and the hunters returned with the supposed “ghosts,” who were, of course, in abject terror at being discovered. Instead of killing them, however, the King kept them hidden and invited all his nobles to a banquet. When they had feasted merrily, he sent round to each noble a calabash of beer by the hands of a slave.

 What was the dismay of the four rebellious nobles to receive the calabash, one from his hunchback, another from his albino, and the others from the hands of the leper and the dwarf!

 Obviously the plot had been discovered, and all four nobles expected to be put to death for opposing the King; but the wise p. 61 Abipa said no word about the matter, and the banquet ended in silence.

 Soon afterwards the court removed to the new town without any opposition, and henceforth the King was known as “the Ghost-Catcher.”

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