Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/386

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

tacking travelers, or those who passed near his haunts; and he relates an attack upon a sporting company by the same animal, in the close of the year 1788, as generally known to the army and residents of the district. "Two officers belonging to the troops cantoned at Dunapore, near Patna, went down the river toward Monghyr to shoot and hunt. They had encamped in the vicinity of Derrzapore, and had heard some reports of a rhinoceros having attacked some travelers many miles off. One morning, just as they were rising, about daybreak, to go in quest of game, they heard a violent uproar; and, on looking out, found that a rhinoceros was goring their horses, both of which, being fastened by their head and heel with ropes, were consequently unable either to escape or resist. Their servants took to their heels, and concealed themselves in the neighboring jungle; and the gentlemen had just time to climb up into a small tree not far distant, before the furious beast, having completed the destruction of the horses, turned his attention to their masters. They were barely out of his reach, and by no means exempt from danger, especially as he assumed a threatening appearance, and seemed intent on their downfall. After keeping them in dreadful suspense for some time, and using some efforts to dislodge them, seeing the sun rise, he retreated to his haunt; not, however, without occasionally casting an eye back, as with regret, at leaving what he wanted the power to destroy."

But the rhinoceros is not dangerous to man alone: all the beasts of the forest dread him, and none venture to attack this truly formidable animal. The lion, if they chance to meet, slinks out of his way. Even the elephant, should they encounter, retreats, if possible, without hazarding an engagement. Major Lally stated to the author of "Oriental Sports" that he once witnessed, from a distant hill, a most desperate battle between a large male elephant and a rhinoceros, in which the former was worsted and fled. Amral told me that one day, while himself and party were engaged in pur-