Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/76

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HORSE-SICKNESS—HANS LARSEN.

ease to poisonous herbs, of which the animals have inadvertently partaken; others, to the dew; and others, again, to the eating the young grass;[1] but all these suppositions are highly improbable, for reasons which it would be unnecessary to enter into here.

Fatal as the disease is to horses, yet, happily, there are places (even in districts where it commits the greatest ravages) that are always exempt from it. And, as these localities are well known to the natives, if one's horse be sent to them prior to the commencement of the sickly season—usually the months of November and December—the animals invariably escape the malady. The attack of our animals was an unusual exception to this rule, for they fell victims to the disease fully a month prior to the rainy season.

From the Orange River on the south, and as far north as Europeans have penetrated from the Cape side, this deadly disease is known to prevail, and is one of the greatest drawbacks to successful traveling in South Africa.

 

 

CHAPTER V.

Hans Larsen.—His Exploits.—He joins the Expedition.—How people travel on Ox-back.—Rhinoceros Hunt.—Death of the Beast.—"Look before you Leap."—Anecdote proving the Truth of the Proverb.—Hans and the Lion.—The Doctor in Difficulties.—Sufferings on the Naarip Plain.—Arrival at Scheppmansdorf.

When at the Cape we heard much of an individual named Hans Larsen, who was distinguished in a very remarkable degree for courage, energy, perseverance, and endurance. This man was a Dane by birth, and a sailor by profession;

  1. A similar notion prevails with regard to that most curious little animal, the lemming (lemmus norvegicus, Worm.), on whose mysterious appearance and disappearance so many hypotheses have been unsatisfactorily expended. See Lloyd's "Scandinavian Adventures," vol. ii., chap. v.