Nothing seems to have daunted the great David Livingstone, the famous explorer and Blantyre’s most famous son. He seemed fearless when you read some of his adventures. One story I like is as follows:
For years he was the only white man in the great African wilderness, attended by a handful of devoted natives, he faced and overcame incredible hardships and perils, such as wild beasts and difficult topography. However, it was when he came up against savage tribes his bravery stood out.
On one occasion he approached a native settlement after a long trek through the jungle. One of the member of his party came running up front and said in terror, “Don’t go in there. These people are murderers!”. The hands of the savages were still indeed wet with the blood of human victims, but Livingstone knew no fear.
Without hesitation he entered the settlement and made himself known to the leader of the cannibals. He was invited to sit with them and knew quite well at that moment, they were contemplating murdering him and keeping his possessions. It was a moment, very, very near death. He saw the risk and never flinched.
Later, tired by the long day’s march, he laid down in the midst of the savages and went to sleep. That saved him.
As the tribe argued amongst themselves about whether he should be killed, the tribal chief urged calm telling his warriors, “He has trusted us. No harm will come to him.” The chief kept to his word and before the week was out, the tribe had become accustomed to David being there and indeed acted friendly to him.
Reading this story I couldn’t help wonder what Livingstone’s party felt as they bedded down for that first night in the midst of the tribe, or what they thought all week when dinner was served!
Hopefully, like me, you’re all looking forward to familiarising yourselves with Livingstone’s story later this year when the Livingstone Birthplace opens again.