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defend themselves against a stronger one. Before I left the borders of the old country, I more than once saw my cattle beat off a hyena. They would form a circle, and show a bold front of horns, and run at the hyena if he came near them.'
'For that there is nothing equal to a troop of baboons,' said Hofman; they are as cunning and as wise
I have watched them often, and they set one of their number to watch for enemies; and if he does not do his duty, the others will beat him. I often amused myself by trying to stalk near the baboons that lived near me when I was near the Winterberg, and they never but once were caught asleep. I managed once to get quite close to them without the sentry seeing me, and then stood up and ran at them. I was soon sorry I had ventured amongst them, for they were savage, and so powerful they could have torn me to pieces had they attacked me; but they at once bit and tore the sentry, who scarcely attempted to defend himself, just as though he knew he deserved to be punished. I can tell you a strange story about these baboons.
“There came into our neighbourhood a leopard, and he lived well for some time, till we hunted him, and he had to keep to the bush. Now it turned out that the leopard killed a baboon, and ate him. The baboons feared to attack the leopard, as he would be too much for them, but they had decided on revenging themselves on him. They therefore followed him about, but at a cautious distance. After a time the leopard wanted to drink, but no
Baboons hunting a Leopard.
sooner did he go to the water than the baboons came around threatening him, and they were so active that the leopard could not attack them successfully. The leopard started off to leave the country, but the baboons followed, barking and screaming after him. For three days the baboons followed him, and would neither let him eat nor drink, when the leopard became quite weak from thirst and want of food. There were so many baboons, too, that they never let the leopard rest, and thus he was worn out. As soon as the baboons found he was weak, they assembled around him, and attacked him in earnest, and killed him in a few minutes. I had missed the baboons from my krantzes ', and I heard from the neighbours that they had seen baboons following and worrying a leopard, and at last the baboons were heard worrying something, and this turned out to be the leopard, which was found dead and fearfully mangled.'
'I have heard that same thing before,' said Bernhard, and I know the baboons are capable of it; they are
“Yes,' said Hans, they are useful too; for whatever a baboon eats, a man may venture to eat also. This is the case with monkeys, too. A man ought never to starve, if he lives near where monkeys are ; for you can watch what fruit or sorts a monkey eats, and that will show you what you may venture upon.
You have been down at the bay for some time, Hofman,' continued Hans; can you tell us any thing about the large snakes that are there?'
i Steep Ravines.
'Yes, I can. There are very large snakes there, but these large snakes are not poisonous. They live in the long grass near rocks or old trees, and feed on birds, small buck, and such things. They will not attack you, I believe ; but they could kill a man, as one I shot there had killed and eaten a calf. It was about twenty-five feet long, and two men could not lift it. There are snakes said to be much larger than this one, and I have heard from the Kaffirs of a snake near the coast as long as a span of oxen; but this I cannot speak to, for I never even saw the spoor; yet they may grow to a
But there are puff-adders, cobras, ring-hals, and many snakes there, and it is not good to walk much in very long grass. There are elephants, too, near the bay, but the bush is very dense, and the elephants are fierce; it does not do to attempt shooting them there.'
We have a fine country about us,' exclaimed Hans, and now that Panda is chief of the Zulus we may rejoice at leaving the old colony to come here. The game was nearly all gone from about there, and the place was worn out. My father shot elephants near Algoa Bay, and all the game was to be seen in the colony; but now there is nothing there, though it is not so far from us. It will be a long time before the elands are driven away from the plains here, and there are buck in plenty. We can go after elephants when we choose, and now that we have won our land we may
enjoy it. Good luck to us on our trek, Karls! and I think now we will sleep, and by and by we may
up at night to becroup large game ; so we had better sleep now, when it is not so plentiful.'
The advice of Hans was relished by all the party, who having directed two Hottentots to watch, and to call others in succession, the hunters sought their waggons, and wrapping themselves in their blankets, lay down to rest in these vehicles, which to the hunter are like a ship to a sailor.
The camp was soon quiet, the only sounds being the low guttural voices of the Hottentots, or the low tones of the more harmonious Zulu, as the Kaffirs talked over the scenes of the past few months, and wondered at the power of the white man, which had enabled him to break the strength of the mighty Zulu chieftain who had so long been the terror of those tribes, which, having either fled from him or from other nations near, had settled at Natal, had welcomed the arrival of the white man, and had at once accepted him as an ally : the distant moaning of a wolf, and the shrill barking cry of the jackal, being the other sounds that plainly told that the wilderness was around.
Elephants found— The Hunt–The Evening at the Camp-An
Elephant Adventure-Encounter with a Kaffir Spy-More Elephants - Strange Men-Hans made Prisoner.
URING the first few days of their journey the
only game that the hunters encountered were
elands, buffaloes, and antelopes of various kinds. Of these numbers were killed, so as to supply the camp with food, and also to lay in a stock of beltong for the future ; for in some parts of Africa the game suddenly disappears, apparently without cause, and the hunter finds it extremely difficult to obtain even the necessaries for his daily meals. More than once there had been expectations raised in consequence of elephants' footmarks having been discovered, but on examination these proved to be old, and the elephants were evidently journeying northwards when they left their traces on the ground. The party had now reached the sources of the Pongola river, and the traces of elephants were most numerous.
We must have passed many herds of elephants in the