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King Oko Jumdo of Bonny, in whose august company Mrs Ker and myself, says David Ker in Harper's Weekly, had the honour of being shipwrecked on the West Coast of Africa in the summer ,of 1885, was said to be a bit of a humorist in his way j but we saw very little trace of humour about him in" the course of that disastrous voyage, during the whole of which he was probably the most wretched man ou board..' Indeed, what with his chronic internal malady, the ceaseless rain that prevented him from coming on deck, and the prolonged seasickness which like Death in Shirley's famous poem, " lays its icy hands on kings," the poor king might well ba weary of life at sea. Nor were these his only troubles. Having never been out of his own country, till the trip to England from which he was returning, he had naturally very hazy ideas of geography, and doubtless imagined his little kingdom ou .the' Bonny river '(which he was pining to see) to be somewhere at the other end of .the-world, many long months away from him. But one night (the very night before the shipwreck, by an ominous coincidence) we at length got him out upon the main-deck ; and it was a fine sight to see our stalwart captain supporting; the old man's tottering steps, and helping him on to the cg,ne lounge set for h|im upon the after-hatch. The sick man brightened up wonderfully beneath the influence 'of good Captain Porter's cheery talk about old times in West Africa, and did his dest to eat the food that we brought him ; but no persuasion could induce him either to take medicine or to see the ship's doctor, who untor.unately happened to be a very young man. ' " Medicine no good," said the old warrior, disdainfully ; "doctor no good — no sabbee nothing. One time 1 sick at home ;no can sleep two night. 1 make send for white man's doctor from English factory. White doctor came — young buy, smooth face, no sabbee nothing. 1 _ay •No can sleep now— you make me, sleep.' Doctor say — ' S'pose you take .this bottle of sleep stuff j you drink ten-twelve drop one time, tentwelve drop other time, you sleep good ' I take sleep-stuff; I. drink him all up brie time, 1 sleep five whole day, five whole night I Eh, captain ? me sabbee better than doctor that time ! Ha, ha, hal" And the king exploded into such boisterous laughter that all the features of; his queer, old face seemed to change places and to dance a kind of insane quadrille in and out of each other, as if a jhair's-breadth escape from. death by an overdose of laudanum were the finest joke in the world. But I could not help thinking that there are not a few kings in far more civilised regions tlun Bonny who are just as useful and intelligent when broad awake as poor Oko Jumbo was during his five days' nap.

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Bibliographic details

OKO JUMBO., Mataura Ensign, Volume 12, Issue 877, 17 May 1889

Word Count

OKO JUMBO. Mataura Ensign, Volume 12, Issue 877, 17 May 1889