First de fathers elders takee de boys on journey to hunt. Dey got to learn de step on de ground tracks. De fathers teachee us to know a place for de house camp site. We shoot de arrows from de bow. We chunkee spear. We kill de beastes and fetchee dem home wid us. He make us strong so nobody doan make war on us. Four, five rainy seasons it keep on lak dat, den I grow tall and big. I kin run in de bush all day and not be tired. De King of Dahomey, you know, he got very rich ketchin slaves.
He keep his army all de time making raids to grabee people to sell. The town had eight gates, intended to provide various escape routes in the event of an attack. Derefore, dey come make war, but we doan know dey come fight us. Dey march all night long and we in de bed sleep. It bout daybreak when de people of Dahomey breakee de Great Gate.
I not woke yet. I hear de yell from de soldiers while dey choppee de gate. Derefore I jump out de bed and lookee. I see de great many soldiers wid French gun in de hand and de big knife. Dey got de women soldiers too and dey run wid de big knife and dey ketch people and saw de neck wid de knife den dey twist de head so it come off de neck. I see de people gittee kill so fast!
Everybody dey run to de gates so dey kin hide deyself in de bush, you unnerstand me. I runnee fast to de gate but some de men from Dahomey dey dere too. I runnee to de nexy gate but dey dere too. Dey surround de whole town. One gate lookee lak nobody dere so I make haste and runnee towards de bush. But soon as I out de gate dey grabee me, and tie de wrist.
Dey take him in de bush where de king of Dahomey wait wid some chiefs. Why you doan come in de daytime so dat we could meet face to face? I born a king in Takkoi where my father and his fathers rule. I not be no slave. One woman soldier step up wid de machete and chop off de head of de king, and pick it off de ground and hand it to de king of Dahomey. I no see none my family. All day dey make us walk.
De sun so hot. De king of Dahomey, he ride in de hammock and de chiefs wid him dey got hammock too.
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Dey tie us in de line so nobody run off. In dey hand dey got de head of de people dey kill in Takkoi. Some got two, three head. I doan lak see my people head in de soldier hands; and de smell makee me so sick.
After a three-day forced march, the party arrived at the coast; Cudjo had never seen the ocean before. When we git in de place dey put us in a barracoon behind a big white house and dey feed us some rice. Sometime we holler back and forth and find out where each other come from. But each nation in a barracoon by itself. When we dere three weeks a white man come in de barracoon wid two men of de Dahomey. Dey make everybody stand in a ring. Den de white man lookee and lookee. He lookee hard at de skin and de feet and de legs and in de mouth. Den he choose. Every time he choose a man he choose a woman.
He take sixty-five men wid a woman for each man.
Den de white man go way. We eatee de big feast. We all lonesome for our home. Dey come and tie us in de line and lead us round de big white house. Den we see so many ships. We see de white man dat buy us. I in de last boat go out. Dey almost leavee me on de shore. When I see my friend Keebie in de boat I want go wid him. So I holler and dey turn round and takee me.
When we ready to leave and go in de ship, dey snatch our country cloth off us. Soon we git in de ship dey make us lay down in de dark. Dey doan give us much to eat. Me so thirst!
Dey give us a little bit of water twice a day. De water taste sour. Vinegar was usually added to the water to prevent scurvy.
On de thirteenth day dey fetchee us on de deck. Where we come from, we doan know. Where we goin, we doan know.
Cudjo suffer so in dat ship. I so skeered on de sea!