Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/143

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THE CARACAL—WILD-FOWL ABUNDANT.

ammunition, one of them proposed—and the suggestion was taken into serious consideration—that they should pull him down by the tail!

The poorer of the Damaras, when hard pressed for food, eat the flesh of the leopard, the hyæna, and many other beasts of prey.

The caracal (felis caracal), or the wild-cat, as it is generally called in these parts, was not uncommon in the neighborhood of Schmelen's Hope. The fur of this animal is warm and handsome, and is much esteemed by the natives, who convert the skins into carosses, &c.

According to Professor Thunberg, who gives it on the authority of the Dutch boers, the skin of the caracal is also "very efficacious as a discutient when applied to parts affected with cold or rheumatism."

 

 

CHAPTER XII.

Wild-fowl abundant.—The Great Bustard.—The Termites.—Wild Bees.—Mushrooms.—The Chief Zwartbooi.—Return of Mr. Galton.—He makes a Treaty with Jonker.—He visits Rehoboth.—Misdoings of John Waggoner and Gabriel.—Change of Servants.—Swarm of Caterpillars.—A reconnoitring Expedition.—Thunder-storm.—The Omatako Mountains.—Zebra-flesh a God-send.—Tropical Phenomenon.—The Damaras not remarkable for Veracity.—Encamp in an Ant-hill.—Return to Schmelen's Hope.—Preparations for visiting Omanbondè.

We never fared better than at Schmelen's Hope. Besides the larger game mentioned, our table was plentifully supplied with geese, ducks. Guinea-fowls, francolins, grouse, and so forth. The large bustard (otis kori, Burch.), the South African paauw, was, moreover, very abundant, but so shy that to kill it, even with the rifle, was considered a dexterous exploit. One that I shot weighed no less than twenty-eight pounds. I have since repeatedly killed African bust-