Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/176

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difficult of access. The story our guide told us previously to leaving Barmen about a tree, the fruit of which was obtainable only by means of "knob-kieries thrown up at it," was now easily comprehended. But we experienced greater difficulty in realizing his other tales, such as the existence of a people who make trees their sole dwellings, while others were found without joints to their limbs, who nevertheless were able to indulge in the refined custom of feeding each other by means of their toes.

In the afternoon of this day we reached a Damara village which had already been visited by Mr. Galton, and camped near to it. Previously to our arrival here our guide absconded, taking with him, besides the calf my friend had given him as payment, a horse-rug which he had borrowed from Timbo.

The next morning, just as I was returning to the village from a successful hunt, I observed an unusual commotion among the natives, accompanied by the most terrific yelling, passionate vociferations, and brandishing of assegais. The cause of this uproar was at first thought to be an attack by the Bushmen on one of the cattle-posts of the Damaras. However, on investigating the matter more closely, we ascertained that the apprehensions of the Damaras arose from the arrival of some inhabitants of a neighboring kraal, who had come forcibly to recover a flock of sheep which the chief had taken possession of under the pretext of "hunger."

The news of our arrival had by this time spread far and wide, and the Damaras were flocking together from all parts to see the white strangers. Some of them promised to conduct us to their great chief Tjopopa, who resided at a place called Okamabuti, which was on our way to the Ovambo.

In the course of our journey to Tjopopa I learned the history of the father of one of our visitors, who, it would appear, had been a thorough rogue. He professed great friendship toward the Ovambo, whom he allowed freely and peace-