Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/66

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until animals are accustomed to this diet, it only serves to weaken them. Cattle, however, that are used to this coarse food soon become fat, and when killed prove, contrary to what might be expected, capital eating. When the reeds become somewhat old and dry they are fired by the natives, and in a fortnight or three weeks they have again attained a luxuriant growth.

The pods of a species of acacia (ana), which had dropped from the trees, were also much relished by the cattle. Stewardson informed us that when the latter are able to feed on them regularly, they soon become fat. The fruit has an acrid taste, but is not altogether unpalatable.

The wood of this tree, though straight-grained, close, and weighty, is not considered good for implements of husbandry. I have been assured, however, that when the tree is burned down the quality of the wood is much improved!

Stewardson's habit of starting late had nearly proved fatal to me; for one day, while pursuing on foot some interesting birds, I had fallen considerably behind my companions, and, in order to come up with them, I was necessitated to put my best foot forward. The sun's rays (in themselves exceedingly powerful) being reflected from the surrounding barren hills and the burning sand, made the heat equal to that of an oven.

I had only just caught sight of our party, when I was seized with sudden giddiness, and the horrible idea flashed across my mind that I had received a "sun-stroke." Being fully aware of the danger, I collected all my energies, and made the most strenuous efforts to overtake my friend. But the stupor increased every moment, and my voice became so faint that for a long time I was unable to make myself heard. However, I did at last succeed, and Galton at once rode up to me and placed his horse at my disposal. It was high time, for another minute would probably have proved too late. As it was, I managed with great difficulty to reach