Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/422

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

By a liberal supply of tobacco and flesh, we soon became excellent friends; but all my endeavors to elicit information about the country were fruitless. They merely shrugged their shoulders, urging as an excuse their ignorance of such matters; they said, however, that their chief would, no doubt, satisfy my curiosity on these points.

We bivouacked at the vley, where a great number of Bushmen—friends and relatives of those at Kobis—also happened to be encamped. Just as I had retired to rest, and while watching with interest the animated features and gestures of our new friends, the Bechuanas, who, by a glorious fire, were regaling themselves with the pipe and the "flesh-pots," Bonfield came running up to me in great haste, saying, "Please, sir, the Bushmen tell us that Sebetoane, having heard of our coming, had sent a message to Lecholètébè with orders to dispatch people to waylay and kill us, and that these were the very individuals to whom the task was intrusted!"

Being myself by this time pretty well used to similarly absurd and unfounded stories, and knowing that I had nothing to fear, I took no notice of the communication, but again retired with as much unconcern as if I had been in a civilized country. This, however, was far from the case with my men, for the following morning I learned that their anxiety had kept them awake during the greater part of the night, and that some had actually packed up their things, intending to steal away secretly.

The next morning proved the groundlessness of the report. The Bushmen, we found, had fabricated the story as a means of prolonging my stay among them, in the anticipation of obtaining an occasional gorge from the spoils of the chase. The low cunning of this people is only equaled by their credulity. To them, no tales can be too ridiculous and absurd for belief. For instance, my Bushmen guides amused me by relating one evening that a tribe of black people had just