Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/286

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them, they greedily devour almost every thing they come across. I have had my powder-flask, "veld" shoes, and even rifle (the stock of which may have happened to be covered with hide, in order to keep it from cracking) abstracted by them from my side during the night. A person's first impulse on making the discovery is to vow vengeance on the head of the thieves; but, on seeing the emaciated state of the poor creatures, in which every rib might be counted, anger is turned into pity, and the uplifted arm, ready to strike the blow, falls to its place.

It has been said with much truth by a missionary that "the Namaquas feed their dogs with stripes." From being constantly kicked and knocked about in the most brutal manner, they gradually become so accustomed to ill-treatment that flogging produces little or no effect. When struck, they merely shrug up their backs, open their jaws, grin in a ghastly manner, and, if the chastisement be continued, howl most piteously. This, and their skeleton appearance, are enough to sicken a person.

It would be somewhat difficult to determine to what species of the canine race these dogs belong, or from what breed they originally descended. They bear some slight resemblance to those I have seen at the homesteads of the Swedish peasants.[1]

Jonker had removed his werft to some little distance from Eikhams. He invariably did this every year after the rains, in order to save the pasturage for the dry season. I rode over to the village, where I found nearly the whole tribe—

  1. Mr. Lichtenstein, when speaking of the Bushmen dogs, which may be considered identical with those of the Hottentots, thus writes: "These dogs, in their size and form, have a striking resemblance to the black-backed fox of Southern Africa, the jackal, as he is falsely called, canis mesomelas; so that it seems very probable that the one is really a descendant from the other, only that the properties of the animal are, in the course of time, somewhat changed, from its having been tamed and trained by the hand of man."