Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/184

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lected birds and other specimens of natural history, and on an evening, when I returned home, were convulsed with laughter on seeing the contents of my game-bag. This passion of mine (coupled with my name being unpronounceable) caused them to rechristen me "Karabontera," or the bird-killer, by which designation I am now universally known throughout the country.

The vegetation at Okamabuti was very rank and luxuriant, but the thorn-jungles still continued to haunt us. The hills were covered with a profusion of creepers, low shrubs, and aromatic herbs. The euphorbia candelabrum was particularly abundant.

I discovered a peculiar plant growing on a very large succulent root, protruding about a foot above the soil. It produced two or three immense leaves, with a fruit so closely resembling grapes that, when I first brought some bunches to our encampment, they were mistaken for such; but they were not eatable—nay, the natives pronounced them to be poisonous.

There was also a tree, yielding an acid fruit somewhat like an apple, but with a hard kernel similar to that of a plum. In hot weather this fruit was very refreshing, and not unpalatable.

During our stay at Okamabuti, Tjopopa's aged mother died. The women of the place, according to custom, howled most dismally for a whole day. Great numbers of cattle were killed or sacrificed on this occasion.

Tjopopa would spend whole days at our camp in the most absolute idleness and apathy, teasing us with begging for every thing he saw. Like all Damaras, he had a perfect mania for tobacco, and considered no degradation too deep provided he could obtain a few inches of the narcotic weed. He was of an easy and mild disposition, but excessively stingy. We stood greatly in need of live-stock, and took every opportunity to display our most tempting articles of