Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/306

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could receive no more, and then it dropt off. The stone was then laid in milk, that it might purge itself of the poison; and it did so presently, the poison turning the milk yellow. The stone, as soon as it was purg'd, was again applied to the wound; and when it had drank in its dose, it was again laid in milk. And this was reiterated till such time as the stone had exhausted all the poison, after which the arm was quickly heal'd."

Mr. Thunberg also tells us that the farmers in the Cape Colony cure the bites of serpents and of other venomous reptiles by means of the "slange-steen," or snake-stone. "It is imported," he says, "from the Indies, especially from Malabar, and costs several rix dollars. It is convex on one side, of a black color, with a pale ash-gray speck in the middle, and tubulated with very minute pores. When thrown into water it causes bubbles to rise, which is a proof of its being genuine, as it is, also, that if put into the mouth it adheres to the palate. When it is applied to any part that has been bitten by a serpent, it sticks fast to the wound and extracts the poison; as soon as it is saturated, it falls off of itself. If it be then put into milk, it is supposed to be purified from the poison it had absorbed, and the milk is said to be turned blue by it. Frequently, however, the wound is scarified with a razor previously to the application of the stone."

"This antidote," says Barrow, when speaking of the snake-stone, "appears to be, in fact, nothing more than a piece of firm bone of some animal made into an oval shape, and burnt round the edges so as to leave a whitish spot in the middle. The country-people, who purchase this remedy under the idea of its being a stone taken out of the head of a certain species of serpent, were very much astonished on being told that it was only a piece of bone, and the more so on finding that this substance stood their test of the goodness of the slange-steen, which was that of throwing out bubbles