Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/510

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barb at the side, having a strong rope of considerable length attached to its upper end, and running over the notched summit of a wooden shaft, which was inserted into the head or blade like a common javelin. It was thrown in the same manner, but, on striking, the shaft fell, and the iron head alone remained in the body of the animal, which, on receiving a wound, plunged into deep water, the rope having been immediately let out. When fatigued by exertion, the hippopotamus was dragged to the boat, from which it again plunged, and the same was repeated till it became perfectly exhausted, frequently receiving additional wounds, and being entangled by other nooses, which the attendants held in readiness as it was brought within their reach."

To return: If the hippopotamus hunt, as just described by me, was conducted altogether from the reed-raft, one's personal safety would be little, or not at all, endangered; for, on account of the great size, buoyancy, and elasticity of the raft, the animal, however wickedly inclined, could neither "board" nor capsize it. But when one pursues him in a canoe—though far the most exciting way—the peril, as shown, is considerable. One morning, when descending the Teoge, we met a party of hippopotami hunters, one of whose canoes had been upset by one of those animals, whereby the life of a man was sacrificed. Indeed, similar mishaps are of constant occurrence on that river.

Our own safety, moreover, was considerably jeopardized by a hippopotamus. One afternoon, about an hour before sunset, I sent a canoe, with several men, in advance, to look out for a bivouac for the night, and to collect fuel. They were scarcely out of sight when an immense hippopotamus, with its calf, rushed out from among the reeds, where she had been concealed, and, passing under our raft, almost immediately afterward made her appearance on the surface of the water. Upon seeing this, I lost no time in firing, but, though to all appearance mortally wounded, we lost sight