Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/430

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Having lately bought some horses, two Bushmen were ordered to take charge of them; but, unfortunately, by their neglect, one of the animals fell into a quagmire, and was suffocated. Being afraid to tell the truth, they reported to the chief that the horse had died from the effects of the bite of a snake. On hearing this, Lecholètébè questioned the men as to the part of the body wounded by the reptile, and being told that it was in the head, he ordered the men to lead him to the place, that he might see for himself. On arriving at the spot, he at once saw how the case stood, and told the Bushmen that the animal had not died from the bite of a snake, but was evidently choked in the mud, to which they confessed, as there was no longer any chance of concealing the truth. Without further question or remark, the chief ordered the halter of the dead horse to be loosened, and the hands and feet of the Bushmen to be secured with it. This being done, they were thrown into the mud alongside the dead quadruped, where, of course, they soon miserably perished, Lecholètébè coolly exclaiming, "There, now mind the horse!"

Another instance of the little value he sets on human (rather Bushman) life I have upon good authority. A Bushman lad, who had long been successfully engaged in sheep-stealing, was at length detected, and, as a punishment for his crimes, was tied to a tree, and practiced upon with guns at the long distance of two hundred paces.

The object I had now chiefly in view was to visit a place called Libèbé, situated considerably to the north of the Lake, not so much to see the country as to collect information in regard to the mighty waters (part of which are tributaries to the Ngami) lately brought to light in that remote region, as also to ascertain if any water communication existed with the sea. But many difficulties were in the way. My people refused almost to a man to accompany me; and as our agreement only bound them as far as the Ngami, I could not com-