Raghe was urgent for an advance, declaring that already he could sight the watchfires of his Rer or tribe ; but the animals carried the point against him. They were presently unloaded and turned out to graze, and the lariats of the mules, who are addicted to running away, were fastened to stones for want of pegs . Then, lighting a fire, we sat down to a homely supper of dates.
I was anxious to proceed in the afternoon, but Raghe had arrived at the frontier of his tribe: he had blood to settle amongst the Gudabirsi, and without a protector he could not enter their lands. At night we slept armed on account of the lions that infest the hills, and our huts were surrounded with a thorn fence a precaution here first adopted, and never afterwards neglected.
Raghe warned us seriously to prepare for dangers and disasters, and this seemed to be the general opinion of Zayla, whose timid citizens determined that we were tired of our lives. The cold had driven the Nomads from the hills to the warm maritime Plains , we should therefore traverse a populous region; and, as the End of Time aptly observed, "Man eats you up, the Desert does not."
Immediately behind Raghe and his party walk Shehrazade and Deenarzade, the former leading the head camel, the latter using my chibouque stick as a staff. She has been at Aden, and sorely suspects me; her little black eyes never meet mine; and frequently, with affected confusion, she turns her sable cheek the clean contrary way.
Their names also are generally derived from their Pagan ancestors: a list of the most common may be interesting to ethnologists. Men are called Rirash, Igah, Beuh, Fahi, Samattar, Farih, Madar, Raghe, Dubayr, Irik, Diddar, Awalah, and Alyan. Women's names are Aybla, Ayyo, Aurala, Ambar, Zahabo, Ashkaro, Alka, Asoba, Gelo, Gobe, Mayran and Samaweda.
The night breeze from the hills had set in, and my attendants chattered with cold: Long Guled in particular became stiff as a mummy. Raghe was clamorous against a fire, which might betray our whereabouts in the "Bush Inn." But after such a march the pipe was a necessity, and the point was carried against him. After a sound sleep under the moon, we rose at 5 A.M. and loaded the camels.
The Hajj strongly recommended us to one of the principal families of the Gudabirsi tribe, who would pass us on to their brother-in-law Adan, the Gerad or prince of the Girhi; and he, in due time, to his kinsman the Amir of Harar. The chain was commenced by placing us under the protection of one Raghe, a petty Eesa chief of the Mummasan clan.
He promised compliance and disappeared. About 3 P.M. the Bedouins, armed as usual with spear and shield, began to gather round the hut, and nothing in this country can be done without that terrible "palaver!" the speechifying presently commenced. Raghe, in a lengthy harangue hoped that the tribe would afford us all the necessary supplies and assist us in the arduous undertaking.
The Hajj Sharmarkay's introductory letter was read aloud to their extreme delight, and at their solicitation, I perused it a second and a third time; then having dismissed with sundry small presents, the two Abbans Raghe and Rirash, I wrote a flattering account of them to the Hajj, and entrusted it to certain citizens who were returning in caravan Zayla-wards, after a commercial tour in the interior.
Foremost struts Raghe, our Eesa guide, in all the bravery of Abbanship. He is bareheaded and clothed in Tobe and slippers: a long, heavy, horn-hilted dagger is strapped round his waist, outside his dress; in his right hand he grasps a ponderous wire-bound spear, which he uses as a staff, and the left forearm supports a round targe of battered hide.