Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/54

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forced through the cartilage of the nose, and to either end of this stick is attached (in bridle fashion) a thin, tough leathern thong. From the extreme tenderness of the nose he is now more easily managed; but if he is still found very vicious, he is either packed in his prostrate position, or fastened with his head to a tree, while two or three persons keep the "riem" tight about his legs, so as to prevent him from turning round or injuring any person with his feet. For the "packing," however, a more common and convenient plan is to secure him between two tame oxen, with a person placed outside each of these animals.

For the first day or two, only a single skin, or empty bag, is put on his back, which is firmly secured with a thong eighty or ninety feet in length (those employed by the Namaquas for the same purpose are about twice as long); but bulk as well as weight is daily added; and though he kicks and plunges violently, and sometimes with such effect as to throw off his pack, the ox soon becomes more tractable. Strange enough, those who show the most spirit in the beginning are often the first subdued. But an ox that lies down when in the act of "packing" him generally proves the most troublesome. Indeed, not one in ten that does so is fit for any thing.

I have seen oxen that no punishment, however severe, would induce to rise; not even the application of fire. This would seem a cruel expedient; but when it is remembered that his thus remaining immovable is entirely attributable to obstinacy, and that a person's life may depend on getting forward, the application of this torture admits of some excuse.

But even when, at last, he has been trained to carry the pack or the saddle, there is another difficulty, scarcely less formidable, to overcome. From the gregarious habits of the ox, he is unwilling either to proceed in advance of the rest, or to remain at any distance behind his comrades; and if there is no one to lead, the whole troop will instantly come