Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/236

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The Damaras are idle creatures. What is not done by the women is left to the slaves, who are either descendants of impoverished members of their own tribe (is not this another approach to civilization?) or captured Bushmen. The former are seized upon when children, and mostly employed as herdsmen.

The Damaras have numerals up to a hundred; notwithstanding which, they are sorely puzzled should the sum exceed the number of fingers. They count like bad poets, who settle their metre by their digits. It is a most amusing sight to witness a group trying to reckon a dozen head of cattle.

Though they give names to many of the heavenly bodies, they have a very absurd conception of their character, rotatory motion, and so forth. Thus many imagine that the sun which sets at night is different from that which rises in the morning. Like the children who wondered what was done with the old moons, perhaps these savages are equally perplexed to ascertain what becomes of the old suns.

The domestic animals indigenous to the country are oxen, sheep, and dogs. The latter greatly resemble those mentioned as existing among the Namaquas, but, be it said to the honor of the Damaras, they take much more care of these associates and companions of man than their southern neighbors. Indeed, I have known them to pay as much as two fine oxen for a dog.

Of the Damara cattle I shall have occasion to speak hereafter. The sheep are (or rather were) plentiful, and the mutton is by no means bad. Though somewhat spare-looking, they furnish good joints when cut up. Skin and offal included, they not unfrequently weigh 100 pounds, and sometimes as much as 110 to 120 pounds. They have large tails, like those of the Cape Colony, but they do not arrive at such a formidable size. They have no wool, but a kind of short, glossy hair, lying close to the skin, covers the body. The