Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/503

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MEDICINAL VIRTUES—THE HARPOON DESCRIBED.

fetch as much as one guinea per pound. It is chiefly used for artificial teeth, for which purpose it is particularly well adapted, since it does not readily turn yellow, as is frequently the case with elephant ivory; as also for instruments, knife-handles, and a variety of other purposes.

Medicinal virtues are attributed to certain parts of the body of the hippopotamus. According to Thunberg, the processus mamillaris of this animal is an effectual remedy for the stone and gravel, and "the fat," says Kolben, "is reckoned an excellent thing against a surfeit and a redundancy of humors in the body."

 

 

CHAPTER XLI.

The Bayeye harpoon the Hippopotamus.—The Harpoon described.—How the Chase of the Hippopotamus is conducted by the Bayeye.—How it was conducted by the ancient Egyptians.—The Spear used by them.—Ferocity of the Hippopotamus.—Killed by Guns.—Frightful Accident.—The Downfall.

On the Teoge, and other rivers to the northward of Ngami, the natives are accustomed to harpoon the hippopotamus in a somewhat similar manner as that practiced with the whale. I will endeavor to describe the process, which, singularly enough, has never, to my knowledge, been done by any traveler.

The harpoon (of iron) A, is, as seen in the following diagram, short and strong, and provided with a single barb, B. The shaft, or handle, C C, consists of a stout pole, from ten to twelve feet in length, by three or four inches in thickness. At the inner end of the shaft, C C, is a socket for the reception of the harpoon, A, which is farther secured to the shaft (at about one third from the socket) by a number of small cords, E E.[1] These cords, when the animal is struck, and

  1. The object of having the connecting line to consist of a number of small cords instead of a single stout one is to reduce the chance of its being severed by the teeth of the hippopotamus.