Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/157

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
149
149
SUMMARY JUSTICE—SUPERSTITION.

the rogues, we could never ascertain any thing with certainty. We were, however, strongly inclined to think they were all killed, the more so as Kahichenè himself told us that, in case of their capture, they ought to be punished with death, and coolly suggested hanging as the most eligible way of ridding the world of such scoundrels. We, of course, took the liberty to remonstrate with the chief upon the severity of this measure, but with little or no effect. Indeed, one man was accidentally found at a distance from our camp in a horribly mangled state, and, on being brought to us, he stated that he himself, together with several of his friends, were driving away the cattle, when they were overtaken by Kahichenè's men, who immediately attacked them with their kieries, and only left them when they thought life was extinct. He had, however, partially recovered, but was completely naked, having, as is usual on similar occasions, been stripped of every article of dress. The exterior of his body was nearly covered with blood. The head was almost double its natural size; indeed, it resembled rather a lump of mashed flesh; no particular feature could be distinguished, and his eyes were effectually hidden from view. The sight altogether was hideous.

Instead of proceeding due north, as was originally proposed, it was found necessary, in order to avoid Omugundè, to make a considerable détour to the westward. As Kahichenè, with his tribe, was encamped in that direction, he invited us to take his werft by the way, to which we cordially assented. On the day of our departure from Kotjiamkombè, the chief led the way. A branch of a particular kind of wood (having a small, red, bitter berry, not unlike that of the mountain-ash) was trailed before him—a superstitious act, thought to be essential in insuring success during the pending attack against his mortal enemy.

Before reaching the chief's kraal, we passed the foot of a very conspicuous mountain called Ombotodthu. This eleva-