Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/514

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506
DESCRIPTION OF THE DOWNFALL.

ped in pitfalls; but the most ingenious plan, and which will be readily understood by the preceding wood-cut, is by means of the downfall, which the natives would seem to practice with considerable success.

A is Behemoth; B, a downfall, consisting of a log of wood; C C, stones attached to the downfall to increase its weight; D, the harpoon affixed to the lower end of the downfall; E, a tree, or, in lieu of it, an artificial support of about twenty-five feet in height; F F, a line attached to the downfall, which, after having been passed over a branch of the tree or artificial support, crosses horizontally the pathway that the hippopotamus is in the habit of frequenting during his nocturnal rambles. When the animal (which, from the shortness of his legs, lifts his feet but little from the ground) comes in contact with the line, secured on either side of the path by a small peg, it at once snaps, or is disengaged by means of a trigger. The liberated downfall instantly descends, and the harpoon is driven deep into the back of the beast, who, wounded and bloody, rushes with pain and fury to the nearest water, where he shortly dies. His death is sometimes hastened by the iron being poisoned.

 

 

CHAPTER XLII.

Return to the Lake.—The Author starts for Namaqua-land to procure Wagons.—Night Adventure with a Lion.—Death of the Beast.—Sufferings of the Author.

After about a month's absence, I returned in safety to the Lake, and was delighted to find that affairs were going on prosperously at my camp. My men, however, complained much of the begging and pilfering of the natives. They had also been greatly annoyed by Lecholètébè, who was one of the first persons I encountered on my arrival. I had long been puzzling my brains how I could most effectually pay off