Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/276

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bers were so great that the sound caused by their wings resembled the distant murmuring of waves on the sea-shore. They always passed in the same direction as the wind blew, and, as numbers were constantly alighting on the flowers, their appearance at such times was not unlike the falling of leaves before a gentle autumnal breeze.

Every day, at the halting-place, we were in the habit of training some oxen to the "pack" or the saddle. One of the animals particularly captivated my fancy, and I was desirous of having him well broken-in. After a little time, however, I learned that no person dared any longer to approach the beast. On inquiring the cause, I found that a large ox had taken it under his protection, so to speak, and would allow no one to go near it. Whenever the servants attempted to catch the protégé, his protector would rush at them furiously; and my favorite was so well aware of this, that as soon as he saw any one approaching, he would run directly to his "father," as the natives not inaptly styled the big ox. After having personally convinced myself of this singular attachment, and dreading that some serious mischief might ensue, I deemed it prudent to kill my poor pet. For many days the "father" appeared inconsolable at his loss. Running wildly about the herd, and smelling first at one and then at the other, he would moan and bellow most piteously. This is another proof of the strong attachment of which the lower animals are capable. I may add that I have frequently seen a sheep, when the butcher has been in the act of killing its comrade, run up to the man and butt at him most viciously.

On the 5th of February we found ourselves again at Richterfeldt. Mrs. Rath, I was sorry to find, was suffering grievously from eye-sickness, so much so that she was unable to bear the least light. Indeed, not long after, the sight of one of her eyes was permanently injured, if not destroyed.

Here I and Hans separated. While he went into Damara-