Mungo Park





While Park was waiting on the banks of the Niger for a
passage, the king of the country was informed that a white man intended to

visit him. On this intelligence, a messenger was instantly dispatched to

tell the stranger that his majesty could not possibly admit him to his

presence till he understood the cause of his arrival, and also to warn him

not to cross the river without the royal permission. The message was

accordingly delivered by one of the chief natives, who advised Mr. Park to

seek a lodging in an adjacent village, and promised to give him some

requisite instructions in the morning. Mr. Park immediately complied with

this counsel; but on entering the village he had the mortification to find

every door closed against him. He was, therefore, obliged to remain all the

day without food, beneath the shade of a tree. About sunset, as he was

turning his horse loose to graze, and expected to pass the night in this

lonely situation, a woman returning from her employment in the fields

stopped to gaze at him, and observing his dejected looks, enquired from

what cause they proceeded? Mr. P. endeavoured, as well as he could, to make

known his destitute situation. The woman immediately took up his saddle and

bridle, and desired him to follow her to her residence, where, after

lighting a lamp, she presented him with some broiled fish, spread a mat for

him to lie upon, and gave him permission to continue under her roof till

morning. Having performed this humane action, she summoned her female

companions to their spinning, which occupied the chief part of the night,

while their labour was beguiled by a variety of songs--one of which was

observed by Mr. Park to be an extemporaneous effusion, created by his own

adventure. The air was remarkably sweet and plaintive, and the words were

literally the following:--



"The winds roared, and the rain fell.

The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree.

He has no mother to bring him milk, no wife to grind him corn.



_Chorus._ Let us pity the white man: no mother has he to bring him

milk, no wife to grind his corn."





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