Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/99

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91
THE EUPHORBIA CANDELABRUM—GAME.

places covered with the graceful but poisonous euphorbia candelabrum.

The Ovaherero tip their arrows with this vegetable poison, and the Hill-Damaras introduce it in a liquid state into pools where wild beasts are known to drink; and the flesh of any animal thus destroyed is perfectly wholesome. But its most remarkable property is, that while it invariably kills the white rhinoceros, it is freely and harmlessly partaken of by the black species, whether the plant itself be eaten, or a solution of it drunk. The juice of the euphorbia candelabrum has a milk-white appearance, and is very gummy, with an acrid taste.

The wild bee is occasionally known to extract its food from the flowers and the juice of this cactus. In such a case the honey becomes more or less poisonous. Mr. Moflat mentions an instance of his party suffering much pain and inconvenience from having partaken of such honey. They felt as if their throats had been on fire.

In seasons when rain falls abundantly, Onanis becomes one of the finest grazing localities throughout Namaqua-land, and is capable of sustaining many hundred head of cattle for several months together. The hills then afford a variety of shrubs and bushes of which goats and sheep are fond. The surrounding plains are covered with fine grass, and a species of yellow flower much relished by the cattle.

This district used to be one of Hans' favorite camping places; for, besides the abundant and excellent pasture-grounds, it was largely resorted to by game of all kinds, and is still frequented by the lion, the gemsbok, the giraffe, the zebra, the gnoo, the rhinoceros, and several other animals.

We were to have resumed our journey on the following night, but in the interval Hans' right hand and arm had suddenly, and from some unknown cause, swelled in a most alarming manner. In consequence of this mishap, we found it necessary to devote another day to rest.