Puslapio vaizdai

ing his opportunity to spring into the kraal, and consign one of us to a most horrible death. About three hours after the sun went down, I called to my men to come and take their coffee and supper, which was ready for them at my fire; and after supper three of them returned before their comrades to their own fireside, and lay down; these were John Stofolus, Hendrick, and Ruyter. In a few minutes an ox came out by the gate of the kraal, and walked round the back of it. Hendrick got up and drove him in again, and then went back to his fireside and lay down. Hendrick and Ruyter lay on one side of the fire under one blanket, and John Stofolus lay on the other. At this moment I was sitting taking some barley-broth, our fire was very small, and the night was pitch-dark and windy. Owing to our proximity to the native village the wood was very scarce, the Bakalahari having burnt it all in their fires.

Suddenly the appalling and murderous voice of an angry, blood-thirsty lion burst upon mine ear, within a few yards of us, followed by the shrieking of the Hottentots. Again and again the murderous roar of attack was repeated. We heard John and Ruyter shriek "The lion! the lion!" still, for a few moments, we thought he was but chasing one of the dogs round the kraal; but, next instant, John Stofolus rushed into the midst of us, almost speechless with fear and terror, his eyes bursting from their sockets, shrieked out, "The lion the lion-he has got Hendrick-he dragged him away from the fire beside me. I struck him with the burning brand upon his head, but he would not let go his hold. Hendrick is dead! Oh, God! Hendrick is dead! Let us take fire and seek him." The rest of my people rushed about, shrieking and yelling as if they were mad. I was at once angry with them for their folly, and told them that if they did not stand still and keep quiet, the lion would have another of us, and that very likely there was a troop of them. I ordered the dogs, which were nearly all fast, to be made loose, and the fire to be increased as far as could be. I then shouted Hendrick's name, but all was still. I told my men that Hendrick was dead, and that a regiment of soldiers could not now help him, and, hunting my dogs forward, I had every thing brought within the cattle-kraal, when we lighted our fire, and closed the entrance as well as we could.

My terrified people sat round the fire with guns in their

hands till the day broke, still fancying, that every moment the lion would return, and spring into the midst of us.

Next day I took John and Carey as after-riders, armed, and a party of the natives followed up the spoor, and led the dogs. The lion had dragged the remains of poor Hendrick along a native footpath that led up the river side. We found fragments of his coat all along the spoor, and at last the mangled coat itself. About six hundred yards from our camp, a dry river-course joined the Limpopo. At this spot was much shade, cover, and heaps of dry reeds and trees, deposited by the Limpopo in some great flood. The lion had left the footpath, and entered this secluded spot. I at once felt convinced that we were upon him, and ordered the natives to make loose the dogs. These walked suspiciously forward on the spoor, and next minute began to spring about, barking angrily, with all their hair bristling on their backs: a crash from the dry reeds immediately followed-it was the lion bounding away.

On beholding him, my blood boiled with rage. I wished that I could take him alive and torture him, and, setting my teeth, I dashed my steed forward within thirty yards of him, and shouted, "your time is up, old fellow." I halted my horse, and, placing my rifle to my shoulder, I waited for a broadside. This, the next moment, he exposed, when I sent a bullet through his shoulder and dropped him on the spot. He rose, however, again, when I finished him with a second in the breast. The Bakalahari now came up in wonder and delight. I ordered John to cut off his head and forepaws, and bring them to the waggons, and, mounting my horse, I galloped home, having been absent about fifteen minutes. When the Bakalahari women heard that the man-eater was dead, they all commenced dancing about with joy, calling me their father.-Cumming's Hunter's Life in Africa.

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THE buffalo herds, which appear in tens of thousands on the prairie lands, are invaluable to the Indians. Their flesh forms their chief food, the skins are made into clothing, and the ingenuity of these wanderers converts the horns, hoofs, and bones into utensils of hunting and instruments of war. The buffalo itself is a most frightful-looking animal, and, when excited to resistance, is an exceedingly formidable enemy.

When it is determined to attack a herd, the hunters pre

1 The term Buffalo, is applied in N. America to the Bison. The Bison, or cow with the hump, has a great mane, and is a very formidable-looking animal. They go in herds of thousands together.

2 The term Prairie, first applied by the French settlers to the plains of N. America, signifies a meadow. The interior of N. America, between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies, is a vast plain, estimated by Humboldt at 2 millions square miles. S. America is naturally divided into three sections, the plains of the Orinoco, termed Llanos; those of the Amazon, called, Selvas, or forest plains, and those of the La Plata, called Pampas.

pare by getting rid of all cumbrous articles of dress, and some times a hundred or more horsemen appear ready for the chase and the slaughter. The plan of attack is generally by a "surround," as it is denominated, by which it is agreed that the hunters shall divide into two parties, and taking opposite directions, draw themselves gradually round the herd at a mile or two distant from it, forming a circle of horsemen at equal spaces apart, who, at a given signal, are all to close and attack the buffaloes.

When at length the animals "get the wind" of their pursuers, they rush in an immense black mass in one direction, and, being foiled in their intention to escape that way, they dash in another direction, and if stopped, they are in inextri+ cable confusion, the outside ones forcing their way towards the centre of the herd, while the inner ones are unable to move in any direction from the pressure received around. Meanwhile the hunters are dealing out their swift and deadly blows. The long lances and the deadly arrows are whizzing in all directions, and the infuriated animals sometimes dash at the assailants, and at one lunge gore a horse to death.

The most desperate resistance is sometimes made, and the maddened animals become most formidable opponents. The hunters have many narrow escapes, and it is only by a great combination of skill and muscular energy that they escape destruction. Many are dismounted, and only manage to get off by their superiority in running; or, being closely followed by the infuriated bull, the rider snatches a piece of a buffalo robe from his body, and throwing it over the eyes of his pursuer, leaps on one side, and sends an arrow into his heart. Having slain one, he chases another, and as he approaches him the deadly shaft is prepared, and in another instant it has passed with unerring aim into the body of the animal. Thus, in a short time hundreds become the prey of their less powerful, though more skilful opponents, and their carcasses lie in every direction on the enamelled ground.

Among the inhabitants of the North American prairie is the buffalo horse. It is a small but very powerful animal, with an exceedingly prominent eye, sharp nose, high nostril, small feet, and delicate leg, and having run wild they stock the plains for thousands of miles. In the same herd may be seen white, black, sorrel, grey, and cream colours, and their long and full manes hanging over their heads and faces.

When an Indian wishes to obtain a wild horse, he mounts one of the fleetest he possesses, and coiling his lasso on his arm, starts off in pursuit of a herd. When he has approached the band, and got sufficiently near the one he has chosen, he throws the lasso over the animal's neck. He instantly dismounts, and leaving his horse, runs as fast as he can, letting the line pass out carefully and gradually through his hands, until the prize falls for want of breath. As it lies helpless on the ground, his captor advances, keeping the lasso drawn tight, until he fastens the hobbles on his fore feet, and then putting a noose round his upper jaw, he allows him to breathe. The affrighted horse springs up, but is held in; his kicking and plunging are restrained by the noose; and the Indian, having got hold of his head, places his hands over his eyes and breathes into his nostrils. He is now conquered and docile, the hobbles are removed, and he is led or ridden quietly into the encampment.

The antelopes of this country are remarkable for the agility and grace of their movements. They go together in flocks, examining every thing new, and, though very shy, their curiosity has often led them to destruction. Of this peculiarity the hunter takes advantage, for, fastening his ramrod in the ground with some attractive object on it, it is seen at some distance, and the herd soon approaches. Then lying down in the grass, the leaders advance to examine the intruder, upon which he takes aim so as to get two or three in a line, and pierces them all with one bullet.

Wolves roam in flocks about the prairie lands, following the buffalo herds, and devouring any that may lag behind from age or wounds. Though they are unable to contend with the bison, they so torment and weary him with continual attacks, that from weariness and loss of blood he falls a victim.


Among the animals found in the prairie is the prairie dog, commonly regarded and treated as a member of the canine race, instead of which it is a species of marmot. These creatures are remarkable for associating in great numbers, and forming subterranean villages, in which numbers of curious owls also take up their residence, neither party ap

3 The Marmot, belongs to the class of animals called Rodentia, (Lat. rodere, to gnaw) or gnawing animals, of which class squirrels, rats, and mice, are familiar examples. It bears resemblance both to the rat and bear, and is about sixteen inches long. It becomes torpid during winter, and when it retires to its little cell, it stops the entrance to it, to protect itself from the rigour of the season.

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