Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/305

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
297
THE SNAKE-STONE.

berg, in his Travels in South Africa, "the blood of the turtle was much cried up, which, on account of this extraordinary virtue, the inhabitants dry in the form of small scales or membranes, and carry about them when they travel in this country, which swarms with this most noxious vermin. Whenever any one is wounded by a serpent, he takes a couple of pinches of the dried blood internally, and applies a little of it to the wound."[1]

And Kolben, when speaking of the cobras (called by the first colonists the hair-serpent), says:

"Some affirm that there is in the head of the hair-serpent a stone, which is a never failing antidote both against the poison of this and every other sort of serpent. I killed a great many hair-serpents at the Cape, and searched very narrowly the heads of all I killed in order to find this stone, but I could never discover any such thing. Perhaps it is only to be found at one season of the year, as are the stones in the heads of crawfish.

"There are in the hands of the Cape Europeans," Kolben goes on to say, "a great many stones called serpent-stones, but they are artificial ones. They are brought from the East Indies, where they are prepared by the Brachmans, who are alone, it seems, possessed of the secret of the composition, and will not let it go out of their own body at any price. I am heartily sorry the secret is not in the Christian world, and that the Brachmans are inflexible in this particular, because those stones are of admirable virtues. I saw one of them tried upon a child at the Cape, who had receiv'd a poisonous bite in one of the arms, but it could not be discover'd from what creature. When the stone was brought, the arm was prodigiously swell'd and inflam'd. The stone, being applied to the wound, stuck to it very closely, without any manner of bandage or support, drinking in the poison till it

  1. Turtle blood is also asserted to be a good remedy against wounds caused by poisoned arrows.