Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/300

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friend, fled precipitately. On his way home, however, and when his agitation had subsided, he determined to revenge himself on the reptile, and early the following day he returned to put his plan into execution.

Having seen the serpent leave the aperture in question, he slipped unperceived into it, and quietly awaited the reptile's return. As soon as he observed it approaching, he coolly placed his open hand across the narrowest part of the passage, and, just as the monster's eyes glared within, he grasped it by the throat, and, by striking its head to and fro against the rocks on either side, soon succeeded in destroying it.

Many Namaquas believe that the ondara possesses certain medicinal virtues; therefore, when they succeed in killing the reptile, its flesh is carefully preserved. If a person falls sick, a portion is either applied externally in the form of an unction, or given to the patient in a decoction.

The natives mention a very singular little snake, about seven or eight inches long, possessing four distinct legs, each provided with toes and nails like a lizard. It is difficult to conceive for what purpose these limbs (which are placed somewhat apart, and rather to the side, as in the seal) have been destined by nature, since they are apparently never used. The motion of this curious creature, which is of a dark slate color, is said to be that of a perfect snake. Three specimens were brought at different times to Mr. Hahn when at Barmen.

The story of the cockatrice, so common in many parts of the world, is also found among the Damaras; but instead of crowing, or, rather, chuckling like a fowl when going to roost, they say it bleats like a lamb. It attacks man as well as beast, and its bite is considered fatal. They point to the distant north as its proper home. In Timbo's country it is termed "hangara," and is said to attain to twelve feet, or even more, in length, with a beautifully variegated skin. On