Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/187

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179
AMULETS—LARGE CARAVAN.

pleased at being thus foiled, and kept growling in the distance during the remainder of the night. The following morning, on meeting one of the Ovambo, I inquired whether they also had been troubled by the lion, to which he only replied by pointing to a piece of wood—a charm of some kind—hung round his neck, as much as to say, "Do you think that any thing can hurt us or our cattle, with this in our possession?"

The Damaras have also great faith in amulets, consisting generally of the teeth of lions and hyænas, entrails of animals, pieces of certain kinds of wood, and so forth. Our native servants, indeed, before leaving Okamabuti, had purchased, for a few iron beads, several charms from Tjopopa's favorite wife, and, thus provided, conceived themselves proof against every danger and calamity.

On the 24th we again found ourselves at Otjikango ("Baboon Fountain"). By this time our caravan was completed, as straggling parties of natives had continued to join us; and we found to our astonishment that, including ourselves, we mustered one hundred and seventy souls. Of this number were no less than seventy or eighty Damara women, bent on various speculations—some in hope of obtaining employment, some to get husbands, and others with a view of disposing of their shell bodices, spoken of in chapter four. The latter, as we afterward found, are taken to pieces by the Ovambo women, and worn in strings roursd the waist. In exchange, the Damaras receive beads, tobacco, corn, &c.

The country between Okamabuti and Otjikango we found well watered with copious springs, and covered with a rank vegetation. Otjikango itself, being situated in a valley between high and steep hills, was not unpicturesque. It was well supplied with water, which in several places oozed out of a kind of vley or marsh—in the rainy season undoubtedly a little lake. We lost no time here, but were again on the move at an early hour on the succeeding morning.