Skip to main content

Full text of "African adventure stories"

See other formats

./ 4.* -^^ °«:«'ii\f^' 

CL * 

.rt** ^0 

• • • * *^N ^ v . . •*" 

rr.-" ^0 

V-^',/ 'V'S^jo' V-^-'y '»» 

°-. X.-;«i-.%. .'°*.-^i.>- J-.-im.-^- 






j_v' BY 












Published September, 1914 

SEP 16 1914 

€"^01, A 3 803 7 9 


The author of this little volume, Mr. J. Alden 
Loring, is one of the three field naturalists who 
accompanied me during the eleven months that 
I spent in Africa, at the head of a scientific ex- 
pedition sent out by the Smithsonian Institution. 
In the following pages Mr. Loring has chronicled 
many of the experiences that befell the expedi- 
tion and its members, while some of the chap- 
ters are devoted to the experiences of trust- 
worthy travellers and big-game hunters whom 
we met. What he describes as fact may unhes- 
itatingly be accepted as such; and in the pref- 
ace he clearly differentiates between the experi- 
ences in which he records fact, and those in 
which he tells stories merely founded on fact. 

Theodore Roosevelt. 

Oyster Bay, N. Y., 

September 19, 1913. 


Because of its dangerous animals, and in 
some localities, its dangerous natives, Africa is 
probably the most lucrative country from which 
to gather material for a book of this character. 

From the time that we boarded the S. S. Ad- 
miral, bound for Mombasa, we met English offi- 
cers and settlers returning to their respective 
posts or homes, who rehearsed exciting experi- 
ences that at once convinced us that it would 
be impossible to live long in Africa without 
having at least one thrilling adventure. 

The majority of these stories are literally 
true. They are the experiences of the various 
members of our party and of those of gentle- 
men we met, whose word cannot be doubted. 
The same can be said of the articles relating to 
the habits of the animals. The last seven chap- 
ters should not be accepted as actual fact. They 
are so far based on fact, however, that they are 
not improbable. 



To the publishers of the following magazines, 
in which these stories have previously appeared, 
my thanks are due for the privilege of republish- 
ing them in this form: Outing Magazine , Out- 
door Life, Outdoor World and Recreation, The 
American Boy, Boys' Life, St. Nicholas Maga- 
zine, and The Youth's Companion, 

J. Alden Loring. 

OWEGO, N. Y., 

March 5, 1914. 



BLACKS .... 





. 16 



. 34 



. 47 


PHANT .... 

. 59 



. 80 



. 89 


*' jacking" animals 

. 101 



. 113 



. 126 



. 138 



. 152 
























The grass parted as though a snow-plough were 

being driven through it 96 

The canoe was lifted high into the air . . . 188 

It worked its triple set of fangs backward and for- 
ward IN A vain effort TO BURY THEM IN MY HAND 230 / 

Groping along and feeling out each frozen foot- 
print 258 

His guards bound his hands and feet . . . 270 

The whip-lash all but cut him in the face . . 298 . 




FROM childhood the ambition of Mr. S. 
had been to become an adventurer. 
Before he had attained manhood he left 
England to cast his lot with that sturdy, cou- 
rageous class of men who make a business of 
trading wch the natives and hunting elephants 
in Africa. At the time that I met him he had 
spent most of his life in South Africa, and a more 
interesting person I have never seen. 

He was a man of few words, quiet and un- 
assuming. While he undoubtedly knew more 
about the African animals than any living man, 
I never heard him contradict a fellow sports- 
man. When told of some extraordinary expe- 
rience that seemed questionable, and asked to 
express his opinion, he always began by saying: 
*'My experience has been ..." 


Even in the days in which he visited Africa, 
ivory hunters were so numerous that the large 
"'tuskers" were soon killed out of the regions 
where the natives had been pacified. This 
made it necessary for the intrepid hunters to 
seek new and inhospitable fields if they intended 
to succeed. S. was one of the few men who was 
willing to endure the hardships and accom- 
panying dangers of such a trip. 

He was a passenger on the Admiral, that car- 
ried the Roosevelt African expedition from Na- 
ples to Mombasa, and we whiled away many a 
pleasant hour listening to his thrilling experi- 

He started once, he said, with about twenty- 
five Kafir boys to carry his outfit and trade 
goods, on a trip into the then little-known re- 
gion north of the Zambesi River. Elephants, it 
was believed, had been little molested in that 
section and the chances were good for finding 
big "tuskers." 

His objective point was somewhat of a ques- 
tion. He was after ivory and intended to rely 
more or less on the information he could gather 
from the tribes he met. Finally, he began to 
pass out of the region of friendly natives and to 


draw near the line which in our country is 
known as the ''frontier." Here the hunter was 
warned of treacherous people ahead, but, as the 
natives are naturally alarmists and live in con- 
stant fear of attacks from each other, he placed 
little credence in the report. S. always carried 
a supply of trade goods, and believed that he 
would have no trouble after he had presented 
the various chiefs with presents and they found 
that he had come to barter with them. 

Each day's travel brought the party in con- 
tact with strange tribes, who spoke unknown 
tongues and from their actions showed that they 
had never before seen a white man. As the 
caravan drew near a village the people fled in 
terror and stood off at a distance watching 
and jabbering in their peculiar language. The 
women and children were particularly timid and 
refused to enter the camp until the confidence 
of the men had been won. 

With trifling gifts they were finally coaxed 
near, and soon they lost their fear and became 
sociable. They always carried their long, dan- 
gerous-looking spears, however, which looked 
suspicious. Never, after winning the confidence 
of a tribe of savages, had S. known them to re- 


tain their arms. He laid this exception to the 
fact that these people were ignorant of the white 
man's ways, and deemed it prudent to be always 
prepared until they knew more of him. 

One afternoon the traveller came to a chief's 
village and, after paying his respects to the 
potentate, made camp near by, enclosing it in 
an elephant-grass stockade. 

When everything was settled the chief sent 
his visitor vegetables and native beer, and the 
guest reciprocated with calico, beads, and salt. 
Then he asked the chief to ferry his outfit across 
a near-by stream in the morning, as the caravan 
wished to proceed on its way without delay. 
The old fellow seemed wilhng, but said as his 
canoe was not then at the village he could not 
acquiesce until he had sent for it, which would 
take a day at least. In the meantime he wished 
the hunter to shoot some game for his people, 
promising to furnish a guide and helpers to bring 
in the dead animals. 

The following day several head of game were 
killed and most of the meat was turned over to 
the villagers, S. saving enough for himself and 
his men. 

As on the previous day, the natives gathered 


at the camp, traded vegetables with the porters, 
and seemed to be on the most friendly and so- 
ciable terms. As the afternoon wore on they 
began to disperse and by supper time not a per- 
son was left; they had disappeared as though by 
magic. They did not return in the evening, 
either, which was most unusual, for an African 
native is more nocturnal than he is diurnal. 
While revolving the incidents of the day in his 
mind, the white man remembered that there 
were fewer women about the camp that after- 
noon than there had been on the previous day, 
which also looked suspicious. His porters, too, 
seemed alarmed. They sat by their camp-fires 
talking in undertones, and always carried their 
spears or left them lying on the ground by their 
sides, as though expecting an attack at any 

The anxious hunter went to his tent early 
that evening, and as he lay on his cot he won- 
dered if, after all, the chief were playing a 
treacherous game and bestowing gifts simply to 
allay suspicion. He was so uneasy that he re- 
moved only his shoes and put his rifle and 
cartridge-belt close at hand. 

Through the open tent front he watched his 


porters, one by one, roll up in their blankets by 
the dying embers of their camp-fires. Contrary 
to the invariable rule so early in the evening, not 
a sound came from the village. It was so quiet 
one could almost hear oneself think, and, true 
to the old saying, it proved to be "the calm 
before the storm." 

Suddenly a man slipped into the enclosure and 
skulked toward the fire where two of the ser- 
vants were sleeping. S. sprang from the cot, 
snatched the rifle, and levelled it at the fellow, 
but at the same instant saw that the black was 
unarmed. He watched the native lean over and 
shake the slumbering boys, and then the three 
entered into conversation. The hunter heard 
one of them say: 

"We had better tell our master at once!" 

"What is it, Charley.?" he asked. 

The caller proved to be a boy who had been 
hunting with them that morning and had been 
given a liberal supply of meat. He had come 
to inform his friends that the women had all 
been sent from the village and he feared there 
was going to be an attack. 

If this were true there could be but one in- 
terpretation: the chief meant mischief. Step- 


ping back into the tent, S. slipped into his 
shoes, buckled on his cartridge-belt, and, picking 
up his rifle, ordered the men to put out the fires, 
which they did by throwing dirt on them. The 
camp was dark. 

He was standing before the tent talking with 
the men, when without the slightest warning the 
flashes of several guns burst through the grass 
fence. At the same time a shower of spears fell 
into the stockade and some must have struck 
the porters. 

A moment later the savages broke through 
the enclosure and, howling like demons, rushed 
upon the party. They outnumbered the white 
men ten to one, and it would have been mad- 
ness to attempt to resist them. S. shouted to 
his boys to flee for their lives and, turning ran 
toward the back of the '* kraal." 

On reaching it he broke through and started 
for a thicket. Suddenly he tripped and fell 
and two men stumbled over him. They might 
have been some of his own party escaping, but 
if they were savages they must have thought 
that he had fallen from a wound, so they kept 
on after other victims. 

The hunter scrambled to his feet, still clinging 


to his rifle, and made for the ford of a sjtream 
that he had crossed when entering the village. 
He realised that his only hope of escape from 
the country would be to travel south toward the 
Zambesi, some five hundred miles away. Draw- 
ing near the ford, the outcast was warned of 
danger by hearing voices; the crafty old chief 
had planned his attack well. Knowing that the 
ford was the most likely route his victims would 
take, should any succeed in escaping the first 
attack, he had placed warriors to watch it and 
cut down those who came that way. 

S. turned and walked along the bank in the 
opposite direction until he came to a deep pool. 
Here he took off his clothes, made them and his 
rifle into a bundle, fastened it to his head, and 
swam the stream. While dressing he looked 
back toward camp. The fires had been re- 
kindled, and, amid the din of voices, he saw the 
savages running hither and thither as they 
fought for possession of the spoils. 

Travelling southward all night, he came to a 
stream early in the morning and, after crossing 
it, lay down to rest and sleep. Suddenly he was 
awakened by voices and, looking up, saw two 
blacks on the opposite side of the river. Both 


were armed with spears, one of which they car- 
ried in the right hand ready for instant use. 

It was an anxious few minutes for the unfor- 
tunate hunter. He was in plain sight and dared 
not move for fear of attracting their attention. 
There he lay, expecting at any moment to be 
discovered, and wondering if he would have to 
shoot them to prevent their returning to the 
village and giving the alarm. They were so in- 
tent on looking for his footprints, which they 
had for the time lost, that they did not see him, 
and in their efforts to find them passed out of 
sight. S. then jumped to his feet and, skulking 
through the tall grass, managed to escape again. 

Late in the afternoon he began to feel hungry, 
for he had had nothing to eat since the evening 
before. Game was not very abundant, but he 
searched about for an antelope and finally came 
across one, a solitary old wildebeest. After care- 
fully manoeuvring he managed to sneak up be- 
hind the only bush that afforded shelter. He 
found that even then he was too far away to risk 
one of the four cartridges that must last him 
throughout the journey. He had abandoned all 
hope of killing the animal when, as though de- 
liberately wishing to sacrifice itself, it walked 


slowly to within fifty yards of the bush, and the 
trader dropped it with a bullet through the heart. 

Fearing that his shot might have been heard 
by his enemies, he quickly cut off some of the 
meat and, returning to the tall grass, travelled 
several miles before he dared build a fire and 
cook a meal. 

When he was again ready to move on, dark- 
ness had fallen and the chilly, tropical night 
seemed to penetrate to his bones. As nearly as 
possible he followed the route over which he had 
passed a few days before. Not far ahead was a 
village in which he had been hospitably received. 

He reached this village about midnight. A 
boy was sleeping by a smouldering camp-fire. 
The hunter's entrance awakened the lad, who 
spoke to him, and their conversation roused two 
of the villagers who appeared and also engaged 
him in conversation. 

Seated by the fire, his rifle lying on the 
ground by his side, the white man was trying 
to explain what had happened to him the night 
before, when from a near-by hut he caught the 
sound of some one loading a muzzle-loading gun. 
Not wanting to appear alarmed by leaving so 
soon, he finished his story as quickly as possible, 


and was about to rise and move on when a 
rustle from behind caused him to grab for his 
rifle; but a savage grasped it from under his 
hands and darted into the night. 

At the same instant one of the natives threw 
a bundle of grass on the fire. As it blazed up 
the hunter naturally turned toward the hut in 
which he had heard the gun being loaded, and 
there, in the doorway, stood a man levelling a 
rifle at him. S. snatched the piece of wilde- 
beest meat and fled from the village. The man 
did not shoot; he may have been unfamiliar 
with firearms and have forgotten either to cap 
or to cock the gun. 

The outcast dashed out of the village and 
down the trail as fast as his legs could carry 
him, but apparently was not followed. His 
position now was indeed perilous, for without 
a rifle to kill meat he was dependent upon 
the natives for food as soon as his supply was 
exhausted. Throughout the gloomy night he 
plodded along, tired and footsore, chilled and 
disheartened. No wonder his thoughts reverted 
to home and to his men, some of whom he knew 
must not be far away following the same guide 
that God, in his almighty wisdom, had placed in 


the heavens to cheer and to guide such unfortu- 
nate wretches as himself — the Southern Cross. 
Where were Paul and Charley, his faithful gun 
bearer and tent boy? Were they dead or alive? 
those brave fellows who had shared his fate so 
many years and who had borne with him the 
burdens of hardship and danger when other men 
of far more intelligence would have collapsed in 

By daybreak he had placed many a mile 
between himself and his enemies, so once more 
he built a fire, cooked the last of his meat and 
then slept until dark. 

About noon of the following day he reached a 
village the chief of which had, not many months 
before, befriended a fellow elephant hunter who, 
like himself, had fallen a victim to savage 
treachery. It was some time before S. could 
explain why he was travelling alone and without 
a gun or food. Finally, he made the chief under- 
stand. The old fellow was greatly alarmed, and 
said that the traveller must move on at once, for, 
if discovered, his presence would surely get the 
chief into trouble with the tribe that had made 
the attack, of which he was in great fear. The 
black gave him food and a guide, and once more 


he was cast out into the wilds to shift for himself 
as best he could. 

Two days later he stopped at another village 
and asked for food and shelter. It was here 
that he learned that several of his men were be- 
ing sheltered in a village some distance away, so 
he set out at once. On arriving he found Paul 
and Charley, his two best men. They had had 
a miraculous escape but had been able to make 
their way southward as he had done, and here 
they were, again united. 

For over two weeks the party travelled to- 
gether, stopping at various villages, where they 
were hospitably received, given food, and sent 
on their way. After a tiresome journey of over 
five hundred miles they finally reached civilisa- 
tion, bleeding from scratches and their clothes 
a mass of rags, but, nevertheless, alive and 
healthy and thankful for their escape. 



HAVING had considerable experience in 
hunting big game in Alaska, in north- 
western Canada, and in western United 
States, I joined the Roosevelt African expedi- 
tion with the impression that we, who were all 
experienced hunters and properly armed with 
modern firearms, had little to fear. And I think 
I am safe in saying that our entire party felt 
much the same way. But after we had reached 
Africa and heard of the number of men who had 
been killed or mauled by lions and of the won- 
derful vitality, quickness, and courage of these 
beasts, we began to realise the danger. 

The difference between our American "moun- 
tain-lion" — cougar, panther, or puma, as it is 
variously called — and the African animal is so 
great that the name "lion" when applied to the 
American species is a misnomer. The cougar 
— the term used by many mammalogists — lacks 
courage and even when wounded rarely charges. 



Although I have camped and hunted in all the 
Western States inhabited by this animal, the 
nearest I ever came to seeing one was when I 
found the tracks where, the night before, out of 
curiosity, one had circled my camp. While this 
statement undoubtedly proves that I am not 
an authority on cougars, experienced hunters 
agree that the animal is a coward and so noc- 
turnal in its habits that rarely is one seen abroad 
by day, unless it is driven from its hiding-place 
with dogs and brought to bay. 

The African lion, while nocturnal also, prowls 
about often during the day, particularly in the 
early morning and late in the afternoon. Most 
of its prey, however, is killed at night and 
after a ''kill" it is very noisy, while the cougar 
is rarely heard. Two, three, and possibly five 
cougars may sometimes be found together; but 
African lions are found in troops of six, eight, 
ten, and even fifteen or eighteen, although, of 
course, they are more commonly seen singly or 
in pairs. 

Lions care little for the heavily wooded re- 
gions. Their natural habitat is the veldt coun- 
try, which corresponds to the prairies of our West, 
the bush-veldt, that might be likened to the des- 


ert or chaparral country of southwestern Texas, 
New Mexico, Arizona, and southern Colorado, 
Nevada, and Cahfornia, or to the open-wooded 
sections similar in a way to the '* cross timber" 
of northeastern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and 
Indian Territory. They do retreat to the true 
jungle during the day when such tracts border 
large areas of open country, where they have 
been hunting during the night; but such regions 
are too dense for good hunting, and as their 
prey inhabits the open country, they are forced 
to spend the greater part of their life on the 
veldt, the bush-veldt, or on the desert. 

During the last few hours of daylight, through- 
out the night, and well into the morning — yes, 
through the entire day, should it be cloudy or 
rainy — they may be found abroad. They may 
stay out later than usual in hot weather should 
they be so unlucky as not to make a "kill" 
before dawn, but as soon as they have gorged 
themselves, or when the sun becomes unbearable, 
they seek some place of refuge. This may be a 
solitary thorn- tree with thick spreading limbs 
that reach to the ground, the thick grass and 
weeds bordering a swamp, or, in fact, any kind 
of thicket large enough to afford shelter and pro- 


tection from the sun. Here they remain until 
late in the afternoon, and it is in such places that 
the hunter is most liable to find them and from 
there with his retinue of porters can drive them 
into the open. 

Lions were far more numerous than we had 
expected and I well remember when Colonel 
Roosevelt remarked to Sir Alfred Pease: "I do 
hope that I shall be able to get a lion or a 
lioness, it makes no difference which." Yet, in 
all, he and Kermit bagged seventeen, and even I 
— after a narrow escape from being mauled — 
managed to kill one. 

With the exception of crocodiles, lions kill 
more people in Africa than all the so-called 
dangerous animals combined. There are several 
reasons for this: First, more sportsmen hunt 
lions than other dangerous game. Second, they 
are more numerous in close proximity to man 
than other fierce animals. Third, when wounded 
they do not hesitate to charge and rarely turn 
back. Fourth, because some of them acquire 
the man-eating habit. 

The mortality among the natives from man- 
eating lions is, of course, very great, but the 
blacks alone are to blame. They are a simple, 


child-like people who think of peril only when it 
stares them in the face and forget it half an 
hour later. They have no newspapers, it is true, 
but they know as soon as a man-eating lion 
appears in a vicinity, and they must appreciate 
the danger, yet they roam about at night — the 
greatest danger time — without weapons or lights. 
They even sleep in the open or, at the best, in 
low thorn-brush enclosures over which a lion can 
easily spring. A single man-eating lion has 
been known to kill more than thirty natives 
within six weeks' or two months' time. 

Few white men are killed by man-eaters, for 
white men seldom venture far from civilisation 
without firearms, and when on safari — outfit 
and men — they sleep in tents, keep fires burning 
at night and armed guards watching over the 

In late December I was camped with a small 
safari in the Ulucania Hills, two days' march 
from Nairobi, and one morning discovered two 
strange Kikuyus in camp. From the head man 
I learned that they were members of a party of 
men and women that was on its way to Nairobi. 
About midnight they had been attacked by a 
lion and had scattered. The two men had wan- 


dered about for several hours but finally saw our 
camp-fires, and came over to stay until morn- 
ing. They did not know at the time whether 
the lion had killed any one, and as we broke 
camp and left about four o'clock that morning, 
we never heard. Just before daylight we heard 
the hoarse, guttural grunts of a lion back in the 
hills a half mile from camp, so we supposed that 
it must have been successful. 

After a man-eater becomes known, the govern- 
ment usually closes the roads in that section to 
travellers and forbids the natives to visit the 
region until the animal has been put to death. 
Frequently there is a white hunter in the vicin- 
ity who is glad of the chance to kill the brute, 
and it is needless to say that the natives give 
the hunter all the information and assistance 
they can, for the death of a man-eater is received 
by the blacks with much joy and celebration. 
Very often the game warden at Nairobi is called 
upon to exterminate a man-eater. 

With a party of natives he goes to the scene 
of the last tragedy, and if possible they track the 
brute to a clump of bushes or tall grass to which 
it has gone after its gruesome meal. The patch 
is half surrounded by the blacks, who march 


through, shouting, thrashing the brush with 
clubs, and throwing stones in advance. If the 
Hon is in the cover it is forced out at the other 
end and killed by the waiting game warden. It 
is a well-known fact that the very same party 
of men whom a man-eater may have raided the 
night before can in daylight drive it before 
them like any ordinary lion. 

This form of lion-hunting was the most suc- 
cessful one employed in Africa prior to Mr. Paul 
Rainey's original method of hunting them with 
dogs. In two or three months he killed sixty- 
three lions, and his discovery will be the means of 
ridding the country of man-eaters much sooner 
than has heretofore been possible, and conse- 
quently it is bound to cut down the death-rate 
of natives. 

Although we had several dogs on the Sotik 
trip, they were continually running ahead and 
scaring the animals, which deprived us of the 
pleasure of watching them and studying their 
habits, so the colonel ordered the dogs sent back. 
Cuninghame at first remonstrated, arguing that 
"the time might come when they could help us 
out of a nasty mess," but our chief replied that 
whatever mess we "got into" we would have to 


''get out of" without the help of dogs, so the 
canines went back that night. I must say that 
I was glad when they disappeared, for only the 
night before, while we were at dinner, one of 
them had sneaked into my tent and devoured 
three of my specimens. As they were the only 
ones of their species that I had, we stopped off a 
day on the return trip and trapped more, and 
were repaid by discovering that it was a species 
new to science. 

A common method of hunting lions is to watch 
at the body of an animal lately killed. At dusk 
the hunter secretes himself in a brush enclosure, 
or on a platform built amid the branches of a 
near-by tree, and shoots the lions when they 

Another way of hunting lions is to watch for 
them with field-glasses from the top of a hill, the 
best time being early in the morning or late in 
the afternoon. After one has been "spotted" 
with the binoculars the sportsman can ride it 
down on horseback and when within shooting 
distance dismount and fire. If the lion charges 
the hunter can stand his ground and take the 
charge, or if he is a little nervous, and doubtful 
of his aim he has just cause to remount his horse 


and ride away. When the Hon gives up the 
chase the sportsman can go back and continue 
the fight. 

Experienced Enghsh hunters prefer attacking 
lions from a distance. Of course if the ground 
is such that by standing off two hundred yards 
or more there is danger of the animal escaping, 
they try to get closer. But they reason that the 
farther away the animal is the less apt it will 
be to charge and if it does charge there will be 
more time to shoot. 

While it is true that the nearer one is to a 
lion the more liable it is to charge, close shooting 
has its advantages in that one's aim is more 
accurate and the bullets have greater penetra- 

A young Englishman with whom we became 
acquainted shortly after our arrival in Africa 
was, a few months later, frightfully mauled by a 
lion. He went hunting one afternoon and sud- 
denly came upon a fine maned lion. At about 
one hundred yards he opened fire, and the beast 
charged. The hunter emptied his first rifle and 
snatched his second gun from the gun bearer 
just before the lion reached him. This rifle 
chanced to be of a different make from any the 


gun bearer had seen, and he had neglected to 
throw back the safety catch. Before the hunter 
could rectify the mistake the lion bowled him 
over and knocked the rifle from his hands. The 
gun bearer snatched it up and tried to fire. 
Then, with wonderful courage and presence of 
mind for an African native, he rushed to the 
struggling pair and, holding the gun over his 
master, shouted: '"Master, fix this gun; it won't 
work!" The lion was chewing the man's left 
arm, but he managed to reach out with his free 
hand and throw oflf the safety catch, and the 
gun bearer shot the animal through the head, x 

The Englishman was badly mauled. He was 
in the hospital for several weeks and nearly 
succumbed to blood-poisoning, but finally es- 
caped with a few ugly scars and a crippled left 

It is a well-known fact among professional lion- 
hunters that the lioness is more to be feared than 
her mate. She is far more willing to charge 
even though she may not be wounded. When a 
pair of lions is found, the female, therefore, is the 
one that old lion-hunters kill first. 

A charging lion is, to my mind, the most noble 
and at the same time the most awe-inspiring 


sight imaginable. Contrary to general belief, a 
lion does not bound toward its enemy; it scoots 
or glides along over the ground with a speed sim- 
ply remarkable for an animal so stocky and with 
such short legs. 

The true lion-hunter can always tell whether 
a lion is actually charging or is simply trying to 
escape even though it may be coming toward 
him. When trying to escape, a lion lopes along 
in an easy but not extremely rapid manner. But 
when he gives his tail a flirt in the air and starts 
toward you with his belly almost touching the 
ground, his forefeet reaching out like those of a 
pacing race-horse, his jaws half open, and, with 
every step, emitting a deep, guttural growl 
which strikes you in the chest and goes right 
on through, then he is charging. Ninety-nine 
times out of a hundred he will not stop unless 
you kill him, so govern yourself accordingly. 

If, when you start out lion-hunting, you think 
the time will come when you will have to run, 
stay at home, for, unless you have a companion 
who can help you out of a scrape, should you 
ever turn your back on a charging lion, that's the 
beginning of your end. The best you can hope 
to do is to postpone death for a few seconds and. 


unless your rifle is empty, you had better stand 
your ground and fight to the last. 

But Mr. Lion is not a half bad fellow, after 
all. Unless he happens to be a man-eater, and 
then only at night when he is sure that you do 
not see him and he knows that he has the ad- 
vantage, he will not molest you if you treat 
him with respect. 

Should you be transporting stock through his 
country, he may try to raid your camp some 
night, and, if he is not successful the first time 
you may find him somewhat persistent. Some- 
times he will depart after once being fired at. 
At other times he may annoy you for half the 
night, and this is particularly true if he has a 
few companions to assist him in the raid. 

A very small percentage of the people that are 
mauled by Uons in what the English term "acci- 
dents" — that is, sportsmen on whom the tables 
have been turned — are killed outright or even die 
from the seriousness of their wounds. Most of 
them succumb to blood-poisoning. Lion bites 
when in the fleshy part of the body are usually 
deep, and the tissues of the flesh are torn apart 
to such an extent that treatment is difficult. 
Unless a doctor is at hand, the worst form of 


septic poisoning appears in a short time and the 
patient is doomed. Our doctor attended three 
cases of Hon mauUngs within twelve hours after 
the accidents happened, and, though he was pro- 
vided with the proper medicines and instru- 
ments, two of the men died from blood-poisoning. 

Our safari was so large and there were always 
so many camp-fires burning at night that we 
were not molested by lions. One night the 
askariy or native ex-soldier who watched over 
the camp and kept the fires burning when we 
were in a lion country, woke us by firing his 
rifle. I snatched my gun and ran out of the 
tent. The askari was back by the grass hut 
that the porters had built, as a protection 
against lions, for the horses. He said that he 
had shot at a lion that was prowling about the 
camp. He watched it for some time, and, as it 
circled around to the horse-shed, he supposed 
that it intended to attack the animals, so he fired. 
Several porters that ran from their tents saw 
the beast, however, and they were confident that 
it was a hyena. 

While camp-fires are acknowledged to be the 
best protection at night against lions, there are 
many instances where these cats have scarcely 


heeded them. Men have been carried off while 
sleeping beside a brightly burning fire, and cattle 
have been attacked within a circle of camp-fires. 

Heller took care of the colonel's large animals, 
so whenever an elephant, a hippopotamus, or a 
rhinoceros was killed he would take his skin- 
ning tools and enough men to carry his camping 
outfit and go out to the place and camp until 
his work was finished. Usually the porters re- 
turned to the main camp the same day, leaving 
him alone with his four native assistants. Sev- 
eral times, while on these trips, lions, attracted 
by the smell of flesh and blood, paid him visits 
at night. 

They would circle about his tent grunting, 
growling, and purring, and if he was camped 
near the skinned carcass of an animal he could 
hear them fighting over it all night. But usu- 
ally there is little danger from a lion that an- 
nounces itself by grunting or growling. The 
animals that are dangerous are those that are 
never seen or heard until after they have 
snatched a man and made away with him. 

One night two lions came to call on Heller 
when he was armed with only a shotgun and a 
few shells of bird shot. He very wisely shut the 


flap to the tent door and sat in silence listening 
to them grunting and purring. They passed 
around his tent several times while he and his 
porters, who were in a near-by tent, kept per- 
fectly quiet, and finally the cats departed. 

Not far from Nairobi there lives an English- 
man in one of the typical East African sheet-iron 
bungalows. Several living-rooms lack connec- 
tions, so in passing from one room to another it 
is necessary to step out on the veranda and 
walk to the door of the adjacent room. 

One evening a guest for the night arrived and 
left his wagon standing by the side of the veranda 
opposite the door of the room that he was to 
occupy. The two men talked well into the night, 
and then the guest bade his host good night and 
stepped out on the veranda. He had reached 
his room, opened the door, and was standing on 
the threshold, when a lion, that must have been 
watching the men through the window, sprang 
at him from behind the wagon. The beaSt mis- 
calculated, however, for it failed to clear the 
vehicle, fell upon the porch, and, sliding across 
it, struck the door with such force that the guest 
was sent sprawling to the matting and the door 
closed safely behind him. 


The rifles were in another part of the building, 
and, as neither of the men dared to venture out 
of his room, they had to content themselves 
with shouting to each other through the parti- 
tion and let the lion depart at his will, which he 
did in a few hours' time. 

In the N'Guasso Nyero country we met a 
Boer who was travelling through the land trad- 
ing cattle with the Masai. Not long before this 
a Hon had crept up to his camp one night and 
sprung at a sleeping ox driver. The boy was 
covered with two pairs of blankets, and in its 
haste to escape the lion made a hurried grab 
and ran off with the blankets only. 

In the same locality lions once chased a zebra 
up to a settler's house and killed it within fifty 
feet of his door-step. There were four or five 
lions in the bunch, and, though the man used 
up all of his ammunition trying to kill them or 
frighten them away, he was compelled to lie in 
bed most of the night listening to them. We 
met the same man a few weeks after leaving 
the region and he told us that he had come to 
Nairobi to buy a horse to replace one that lions 
had killed in broad daylight the day before and 
within a stone's throw of his house and our old 
camping site. 


One is somewhat disappointed on hearing his 
first Hon in the African wilds. If he expects to 
hear them roaring as they do in circuses or zo- 
ological parks he will discover his mistake. In 
the eleven months that we spent in Africa I do 
not recall ever hearing a lion ''roar." Lion- 
hunters told me that they sometimes do, but 
rarely. Time and time again we heard lions at 
a distance, but they gave only deep, guttural 
grunts, first long and slowly uttered, then 
shorter and shorter and quicker and quicker, 
until they died away entirely. In fact, the 
grunts were the deep, short notes that always 
follow the inspiring roar of caged lions. 

In British East Africa, the chief prey of lions 
is the zebra, and most of them are killed at 
night. The big cat creeps up to its horse-like 
prey and with a sudden spring or a dash pounces 
upon the victim's shoulder. Reaching over 
with one fore paw, it seizes the creature's nose 
and with a sudden wrench breaks the neck, or 
causes the animal to tumble and the neck is 
broken by the fall. Zebras are short-winded, 
and they are so abundant that it is not diflScult 
for a lion to secure a meal whenever he wishes 


Next in abundance to the zebra is the harte- 
beest, and these two animals, at the time of our 
visit to Africa, were so common that they were 
a pest to the settlers. They break through 
barbed-wire fences and destroy the crops to 
such an extent that the settlers welcome sports- 
men. One settler said to me: *' While Colonel 
Roosevelt's writings will be of great benefit to 
us by encouraging other sportsmen to come 
here and shoot the animals, on the other hand* 
he has done us an injury by shooting the lions. 
If the fifteen lions that your party has already 
killed had been allowed to live, in a few months 
they would have exterminated more game than 
you will get during your entire trip." Another 
settler argued that the shooting of lions was of 
benefit, for, as he said, *'some of them might 
become man-eaters and kill scores of natives." 



WHEN one passes into the Congo and 
Uganda country of Africa the veldt 
gives way to vast areas of what is 
called ''elephant-grass." This grass grows not 
only in the open level and fertile country, but 
also in extremely stony regions and even in 
the open thorn-tree groves. 

When fully grown, elephant-grass varies in 
height from five feet to ten feet, and some of 
the stalks are as large as a bamboo fish-pole. The 
natives utilise the stalks in making fences and 
huts, while the blades of the grass are used for 
thatching roofs and for the sides of the buildings. 

Travelling for days and days through these 
vast grass areas, where the only trails are those 
made by elephants and other animals, is, indeed, 
monotonous. The stalks tower some four or 
five feet above your head, the tropical sun beats 
down upon your back, and every breath of air 
is shut out by the thick, stifling foliage. 

By the last of January the grass is fully grown, 



and a month later it is so dry that both the 
whites and the natives set fire to it in order to 
facihtate travel. When fired by the blacks the 
chief of the district usually appoints a certain 
day for the conflagration, that the people may 
keep their stock enclosed and make ready for 
the great event. 

On entering the White Nile from Lake Albert 
one evening about ten o'clock, we travelled all 
night, all the next day, and at eleven o'clock 
that evening came to a place that was eventu- 
ally named ''Rhino Camp." It was pitch dark 
and the native pilot felt uncertain of his bear- 
ings, so we thought it unwise to unload the boats 
until dawn should apprise us of our position; 
therefore we spent the night on the tiny launch, 
serenaded by lions, hippopotami or "hippos" as 
they are commonly called, and elephants. In 
the morning we found ourselves well located, so 
the boats were beached and the duffel unloaded. 

It was an attractive spot. The land rose 
gradually from the shore; the bank was lined 
with trees and bushes of various species, and an 
open thorn-tree grove extended inland several 
hundred yards, while beneath them the elephant- 
grass was eight or ten feet high. 


In a few hours the porters had cleared away a 
large tract of grass and were busy pitching the 
tents in the edge of the grove. When the camp 
was finally settled it certainly was a picturesque 
sight. Our line of dark-green tents were some 
fifty yards from the river; back of them was a 
cluster of heavy drill tents belonging to the tent 
boys and gun bearers; then came the bee-hive- 
shaped grass huts of the porters, making in all 
quite a respectable village, with the elephant- 
grass, which commenced at the very back of the 
porters' domiciles, extending in one unbroken 
mass as far as the eye could reach. 

We remained here about three weeks and 
made a fine collection, for the country was 
very rich in animal life. Colonel Roosevelt and 
Kermit had secured an exceptionally fine group 
of white rhinoceroses, which Heller and his na- 
tive skinners had spent days of arduous work in 
preparing. These, by the way, aside from one or 
two single specimens in various museums, were 
the only ones of their kind in existence, and they, 
together with the hundreds of birds and small 
mammals that Doctor Mearns and I had col- 
lected, made a collection that we valued at 
fifty thousand dollars. 


As time passed we saw dense clouds of smoke 
rising from the opposite side of the Nile, some 
twenty miles away, and we knew that the blacks 
were beginning to fire the elephant-grass. One 
afternoon smoke appeared far off in the distance 
back of camp, and when night came we saw the 
glow of the fire in the sky. A few nights later 
there were several other glows in as many dif- 
ferent directions, but none was nearer than 
twenty miles, and as the wind was blowing away 
from camp we felt that there was little danger. 

I must admit, however, that from the time 
the fires were first seen on our side of the river I 
became nervous and kept a constant eye on them. 

When burning at a great distance it is diflS- 
cult to judge exactly how far away a fire really is, 
and I doubt very much if any of us realised 
how steadily the flames were creeping in upon us, 
until one noon, while we were eating luncheon, 
Kermit said to the colonel: 

''Father, what are you looking at? You ap- 
pear to be pondering over something." 

The colonel made some casual reply, and it 
occurred to me that he was watching and think- 
ing of the same thing that occupied my mind — 
the proximity of the fire — for from the open 


tent front the smoke could be plainly seen belch- 
ing into the horizon. 

It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. 
I was busy in my tent making up specimens and 
the colonel was at work on his book, "African 
Game Trails." Far off in the distance my ear 
suddenly caught a faint, rumbling sound. I 
dropped my tools, walked out back of the tents, 
mounted an ant-hill, and stood gazing and 

The fire was coming into camp; there was no 
doubt of it; for far off to the northward came 
the ominous sound — a deep, rumbling noise that 
at times sounded like the roar of a distant 
waterfall mingled now and then with a faint 
explosion. A great cloud of smoke rolled up 
over the vegetation and drifted off to the west, 
partly obscuring the sun and giving it the ap- 
pearance of a huge ball of fire. I hurried back 
to the colonel's tent. 

"Colonel, the fire is surely coming into camp, 
you can already hear it," I said. 

The colonel stopped writing and listened. 

"By George, that's so. We must get busy at 
once or our valuable collection and camp outfit 
will be in ashes before the day closes. Get all 


the tent boys, gun bearers, and porters together 
immediately, and we will cut a path in the grass 
and prepare to back-fire; that seems to be the 
only course." 

The day before the colonel had shot a white 
rhinoceros or ''rhino" as they are generally 
called, the last one wanted to complete the group, 
and Cunlnghame, Heller, and about fifty of the 
porters were some ten miles away, preparing the 
skin and skeleton, which had cut down our force 

I shouted to my tent boy. Tommy, and told 
him to summon all the men in camp and gather 
up the "pangas" — long-bladed knives that the 
blacks use to cut grass and brush — axes, and 
hatchets and any other tools that could be used. 
Then gangs of workmen were distributed in a 
half-circle around camp, from the Nile on one 
side of camp to the water-line on the other, and 
set to work cutting grass. 

The idea was to clear a wide road through the 
grass all the way round the camp, and after it 
was completed to set fire to the outer side. The 
new, weak fire would run out and consume the 
fuel before the big blaze should approach near 
enough to leap the gap and destroy the camp. 


We made the tent boys and gun bearers each 
a boss of every ten men. It was their duty to 
watch the lazy fellows and keep them at work. 
These gangs were placed far enough apart so as 
not to interfere with each other, and in a few 
minutes everything was working finely. 

It was fully two hundred yards from the river 
on one side of the camp to the Nile on the other, 
and quick work was necessary to complete the 
task before the fire should reach us. All but 
the worthless blacks realised the danger. They 
seemed to care little whether the camp burned, 
although they must have known that their sup- 
ply of food would go with it. 

One fellow was found peacefully sleeping in 
his hut long after the others were at work, and 
he refused to come out until he was dragged out. 
He gazed at the approaching fire, yawned, and 
said, "Oh, the fire is a long way ofif; there is 
no danger," and started back into the hut to 
finish his siesta, but the rather rough treatment 
that he received at the hands of one of the gun 
bearers soon changed his mind and he joined 
the workers. 

Despite the seriousness of our position it was 
amusing to watch the tent boys and gun bearers 


exhibit their newly vested authority. In fact, 
the eagerness with which these "bosses" watched 
for an opportunity to apply the whip, and the 
alacrity with which they did it as soon as a man 
showed symptoms of shirking, added much to 
the rapid progress that was being made. 

The colonel swung a panga as dexterously as 
any one, and when he noticed a gang of men that 
appeared to be backward in the work he strolled 
over and put some of his ''progressive" spirit 
into it. 

The roar and crackle of the flames was becom- 
ing louder and louder every minute, and it was 
soon evident that our race with the fire would 
be a close one and a fight to the finish. 

Kermit walked out to look the situation over 
and returned with the news that the blaze was 
not more than two miles away and was bearing 
down upon us a little quicker than a fast walk. 
This report seemed to inspire the porters and 
they worked more willingly. 

About sundown Cuninghame and Heller came 
in with the rhino skin and skeleton, and this gave 
us fifty more men, who were at once put at work. 

Cuninghame was somewhat puzzled at our 


"What are you doing, colonel?" he inquired. 

"We are preparing to back-fire and save the 
camp," was the colonel's reply. 

"But you are liable to burn the camp with 
the very fire you kindle. It is risky business, 
for should the back-fire leap the gap and get in 
behind us, the porters could never whip it out." 

"Well, what shall we do? What would you 
suggest?" asked the colonel. 

"It seems to be the only way, but still there 
is great danger of losing the camp by it." 

"Well, I would much rather have the satis- 
faction of burning up my own camp in an effort 
to save it than to stand idle and watch a grass- 
fire destroy it; so, unless you can suggest some 
better method, there seems to be no alternative," 
was the colonel's answer. And so, as it was de- 
cided to back-fire, the work was resumed with a 
rush, for the flames kept drawing nearer. 

It was the most spectacular fire I ever saw. 
Great tongues of flame, driven by the erratic 
breezes, leaped fifty and seventy-five feet into 
the air and detached themselves for a fraction of 
a second before flickering out. Others writhed 
and twisted like huge serpents, then struck the 
ground and with a hissing sound spread out over 


the grass and licked it up as though it were gun- 
powder. Loud explosions frequently occurred 
as the big stalks filled with steam and burst. 
But the strangest sight was the birds that gath- 
ered to feed upon the victims of the fire. Hun- 
dreds of marabou storks, vultures, eagles, hawks, 
and kites flew a few rods in advance of the 
flames and, poising in the air a few seconds, 
pounced down upon a mouse, rat, or big grass- 
hopper that had been driven from its retreat. 

The path was not quite finished when night 
fell and the fire was seen sweeping over the low 
ridge only a quarter mile away. The dew — very 
heavy at this season of the year — was falling 
fast, and we realised that in a short time the grass 
would be too wet to kindle. There was no al- 
ternative but to touch it off at once and trust to 
the porters being able to check its spreading 
should it succeed in leaping back across the road 
we were cutting. 

A number of the men, armed with untrimmed 
branches cut fresh from trees, were stationed 
back of the road and the colonel gave the word. 
We touched a match to a bundle of grass and 
swept it along the outer margin of the clearing. 

The wind was against us and the dew had 


wetted the grass so that it would not ignite. 
The big fire, however, had gained such headway 
by being driven with the wind that the heat 
dried the grass far in advance of the flames. 

Time and again grass torches were appHed, 
but each time, as we passed on to kindle other 
spots, we looked back to see the blaze gradually 
die down and finally flicker out entirely. With 
anxious faces we gazed at each other, and we 
wondered if, after all, our efforts would be fruit- 

A large bundle of dry grass was then thrown 
into a thick patch of withered foliage and the 
torch applied. It blazed up briskly and in a 
few minutes was a seething mass of flames. 
Waiting only long enough to make sure that the 
fire had actually started, we urged the men to 
bring more grass, and in a few minutes a succes- 
sion of fires were burning all along the line. 

While the dew had hindered us in one respect 
it had assisted us in another, for we found it 
comparatively easy for the porters with the 
branches to beat out any blaze that worked 
around behind or succeeded in jumping the gap. 

It surely was a relief to watch those little 
blazes gradually growing larger and larger and 


spreading from right to left, until they finally 
melted into each other and became a solid line 
of fire. Slowly but surely it crept out to meet 
and check the flood of flame that threatened to 
destroy the camp and its contents. 

It took me back to my schoolboy days and to 
the pictures of the prairie fires, with the Indians 
and settlers, the buffaloes and the other animals 
all rushing off together to escape a common 

In this country, where animal life was so 
abundant, I fully expected that the same scenes 
would be enacted, so, when our fire had run out 
several rods and the earth was cool enough, I 
followed in its wake with my rifle. Not that I 
wanted to kill any of the unfortunate creatures 
that might have been trapped, but I thought 
that perhaps a lion would appear, and in such 
an event I might want a weapon of some kind. 

Strange to say, the only animals to show them- 
selves were the large yellow tree bats that took 
the place of the vultures, eagles, and other birds 
as soon as darkness fell. 

The rival fires met about two hundred yards 
from camp, and as the blazes came together there 
was a spurt of flame into the air and then the 


blaze died down and finally went out entirely. 
Our camp was saved from a catastrophe that is 
dreaded by all African travellers— an African 



WITHIN a day after our arrival in camp 
our porters had given each member 
of the Roosevelt African expedition a 
name that corresponded with his duties. The 
colonel was Bwana Macouba, "the big master"; 
Kermit, his son, was Bwana Macdogo, ''the son 
of the big master"; Doctor Mearns was Bwana 
Doctor o; Heller, who took care of all the large 
specimens, was Bwana Engose, "the skin mas- 
ter"; and I, whose duty it was to study the hab- 
its and preserve the skins of small mammals, 
most of which came under the head of rats and 
mice, was given the undignified name of Bwana 
Panya, "the mouse master." 

In the eyes of these natives the position of 
Bwana Panya was a most degrading one, for 
they could not understand of what use the skins 
of rats and mice could be to any one. They 
thought that I was wasting my time when on 
all sides there were herds of zebras, wildebeests, 
hartebeests, and other game. Game was eny- 



ama (meat), and, as an African savage thinks 
more of his stomach than of anything else, they 
asked me why I did not do as the other masters 
had done — ''kill something of value— something 
that people could eat?" 

The first gun bearer assigned me belonged to 
the Masai tribe, a brave race of people that, as a 
whole, despises work. This "boy" was an ex- 
ception to the rule, but he stayed with me just 
one day. When he found that, instead of shoot- 
ing lions, leopards, elephants, and "rhinos," his 
master collected rats and mice, his humiliation 
was so deep that after the porters had called 
him Panya (mouse) a few times he could stand 
it no longer. That night he disappeared and I 
never saw him again. 

Evidently, our boys — African servants, por- 
ters, and all others are called boys — thought that 
I lacked the courage to attack dangerous game 
and that I collected small mammals because it 
was much safer work. And so I lived for several 
months, despised, jeered at, and known only as 
Bwana Panya, the mouse master. But sud- 
denly, within the space of eight short seconds, I 
retrieved my reputation, and Bwana Panya be- 
came the hero of the camp. 


We were camped on the North N'Guasso 
Nyero River, in what is known as the Sotik 
country of British East Africa. About three 
miles away was a Masai kraal, or village, a 
circular enclosure of thorn brush against the 
inside wall of which was a row of mud-daubed 

The Masai are a pastoral people correspond- 
ing to the Navajo Indians of our own Southwest. 
They abhor work of any kind and subsist en- 
tirely upon their droves of sheep and goats and 
their herds of humpbacked cattle. Because of 
the presence of lions, leopards, and hyenas, the 
Masai keep their cattle inside the kraals at 
night; during the day they drive them out to 
feed, under guard of half-naked youths armed 
with spears or bows and arrows. 

Hardly a day passed that large herds of stock 
were not driven to water near our camp; the 
herdboys paid us visits and watched us work. 
We came to know some of them well and, as they 
were quiet and orderly and did not beg for 
everything they saw, we rather enjoyed their 

Lions were plentiful in the region. One day 
a Masai, who had been frightfully bitten and 


torn by one, came to camp to have our doctor 
treat him. He and two other Masai had at- 
tacked the Hon with spears. All three were 
badly hurt; our visitor's two companions died 
from their wounds. - The Masai's arms and legs 
were severely bitten and there was a deep gash 
on his back. 

I was skinning specimens in front of my tent 
one afternoon when a long-legged Masai herd- 
boy, whom I recognised as a frequent visitor, ap- 
peared, and stood watching me for some time. 
Then in a low tone of voice he tried to converse. 
I made a joking remark about my inability to 
understand him, which, of course, he in his turn 
failed to understand. Still, he went on talking, 
and was so persistent that I soon became 
convinced that he must have something impor- 
tant to communicate. I called my tent boy, 
Tommy, and told him to hunt up some of our 
porters who understood the Masai language and 
find out what the visitor had to say. 

Tommy soon brought an interpreter, and I 
learned that the herdboy had left his companion 
watching a drove of sheep and goats and had 
come to tell me that he had seen a pair of lions 
feeding upon the body of a wildebeest. After 


gorging themselves on the flesh the Hons had 
retreated to a thicket for the day. 

It was then about three o'clock, and vainly I 
tried to find out how far away the lions were, 
but could only learn that it was "not far." 
Past experience had taught me that to a Masai 
"not far" meant a journey of from one to six 
hours. Finally, I learned that by travelling fast 
I could reach the lions half an hour before the 
sun should set. 

Colonel Roosevelt at the time was out hunt- 
ing. I mounted my horse, took the herdboy, 
and, with my gun bearer and several porters to 
bring in the lions in case we were successful, at 
once set out. 

The Masai guide, who wore only a square piece 
of goatskin tied at two corners and thrown over 
his shoulders, was a bright-looking little fellow 
about sixteen years old, well built and with ex- 
ceptionally long legs. When we first started 
out I doubted if he could keep up with my horse, 
but after we had gone two miles the doubt was 
dispelled. He not only kept pace with us but 
usually he was several rods in advance, urging 
us onward. Frequently he would wait for us, 
and by sign-language tell us that we must hurry 


or the lions would leave their retreat and start 
out foraging before we arrived. 

For eight miles that half-naked young savage, 
with a spear in one hand, piloted us on a swift 
trot over the plains without the slightest sign 
of fatigue. Then his actions showed that we 
were approaching the dangerous spot. 

The sun had sunk low; in half an hour it 
would drop behind the rocky hills on the border 
of German East Africa. In the far distance I 
caught sight of an animal that I took to be a 
lion. As I thought it was one of those we were 
after that had left its lair, I dismounted and, 
after telling the boys to wait with my horse, 
advanced on foot. 

The country seemed alive with game. A 
wart-hog with a litter of pigs appeared not 
twenty yards away; bands of topi, hartebeests, 
wildebeests, Thomson's gazelle, Grant's gazelle, 
and zebras fed quietly or stared at me from 
all sides ; and quarter of a mile away was a mam- 
moth eland bull. I kept on until I was close 
enough to see that the animal I was following 
was not one of the lions, then I went back to 
where the boys were waiting. 

I found them clustered about a thorn-tree in 


the centre of a level, grassy tract, and as I came 
up my gun bearer pointed to the tree and 
whispered: ^'Hapa simba bebee, Bwana, The 
lioness is there, master." At that moment one 
of the porters, who was walking round the tree, 
gave a sudden start and backed away. I knew 
that he must have spied the lioness, although the 
branches were so thick and extended so close to 
the ground that at a distance the eye could not 
penetrate them. 

The Masai herdboy's curiosity now got the 
better of him, and he ventured within ten feet 
of the tree and peeped in. Then he ran back 
to me and, in a dramatic and realistic manner, 
imitated the grimaces that the beast had made 
at him. 

I took a position that later proved to be 
sixty-three paces from the tree. 

Then, placing my second rifle on the ground by 
my side, I knelt on one knee and ordered my 
gun bearer to shoot a charge of buckshot into 
the thicket in hope of driving the lioness into 
the open. As she did not appear, he fired a 
second shot, but still she remained hidden. 
Then I shot two bullets from my rifle into the 
tree without any result. 


Although I began to think that the imagina- 
tion of the men had got the better of them, I 
was determined to be on the safe side. It would 
be unwise to empty the magazine of my rifle, 
for the brute, if she were there, might take that 
opportunity to charge out at me. I therefore 
started to reload. 

I had placed one cartridge in the magazine 
and was about to insert another, that would give 
me the full complement of five, when, with a 
deep growl, the lioness sprang through the 
thicket directly in front of me. Only her head 
and fore quarters were visible as she paused 
a few seconds, snarling viciously and looking 
about. Realising that there was no time for 
further reloading, I pressed the snap that sent 
a cartridge into the rifle chamber, and threw 
the rifle to my shoulder just as the tawny brute 
whirled and charged for one of the porters off 
to my right. 

She had covered about thirty feet when my 
first bullet caught her back of the fore shoulder 
— too far back to strike her heart. She wheeled 
about so suddenly that if her tail had been a 
whip-lash it would have cracked in the air, and 
with a savage, snarling growl came straight at me. 


For an instant I was undecided whether to 
stand my ground or run. But I realised that it 
would be useless to run for she would overtake 
me in a few seconds, so I remained kneeling, to 
meet the charge and take whatever punishment 
she might give me. 

It was the first wild lioness I had seen, and I 
expected her to charge in great bounds, but, in- 
stead, she glided along close to the ground. I 
waited until she had covered possibly ten yards, 
to see if she would change her pace, and as she 
still came on at the same steady ghde I settled 
myself for action. 

It would be like shooting at a stationary ob- 
ject that grew larger every second; but there 
was now no time to lose, for she was coming 
with the speed of an express-train and ''every 
little movement had a meaning all its own." 

I heard a rumbling growl at every step she 
took, and my eye, focussed through the globe- 
sight of the rifle, looked squarely at a light spot 
on her breast through which I hoped to send 
the bullet that would stop the mechanism that 
worked those claw-armed paws and those pow- 
erful, merciless jaws. 

The rifle-sight covered the light chest spot 


when I pressed the trigger, yet the snarhng crea- 
ture did not even hesitate when the bullet struck 
her. Once more I quickly took aim and pulled 
the trigger, but still she came gliding, growling 

Could it be that I was missing her? It seemed 
impossible, for she was now not sixty feet away 
and coming faster and faster. I thought of the 
ugly wounds that I had helped dress on the man- 
gled Masai and wondered how much of a maul- 
ing I was about to receive. 

Only one more cartridge remained. This I 
jBred pointblank into the breast of the lioness 
when she was within a rifle length, and then I 
managed to tumble to one side as the tawny 
streak shot past, just grazing my legs. The 
glassy stare in her eyes told me she was almost 
dead. Although the force of her charge carried 
her ten feet beyond me, she lacked the strength 
or the instinct to reach out with her paw and 
seize me as she passed. I snatched the second 
rifle from the ground and wheeled round just as 
her hind quarters sank to the ground. But 
there was no need for another bullet. She threw 
her head in the air and, with ^ gasp, rolled over 
on her side, dead. 


The boys came rushing up to congratulate 
me, for it had been a close call. The Masai 
herdboy danced about the lioness in great glee, 
shouting, gesticulating, and rehearsing the inci- 
dents of the exciting event. 

As night was fast coming on and it would 
soon be too dark to shoot, we lost no time in 
examining our prize, but made off at once for 
another thorn-tree beneath which the Masai 
thought the lioness' mate had hidden. We 
found the lair where the lion had spent the day, 
but the beast must have been disturbed by my 
shots for he had made his escape. 

When we skinned the lioness we discovered 
that all four of my shots had taken effect; the 
three that I had fired when she was charging 
were so close together on her chest that the 
palm of my hand covered all three wounds. 
One mushroom bullet had passed through her 
heart and left the casing in it, yet she had had 
the vitality to keep on. Then I knew what is 
meant by the phrase, "the heart of a lion." 

It was now dark, and as we plodded along 
toward camp under a full moon and the South- 
ern Cross the boys chanted the victorious hunt- 
ing-song. The Masai walked by my side, jab- 


bering incessantly as if I understood every word, 
and again and again showed me how the Uoness 
had looked and acted as she charged. 

Three miles from camp we met a party, with 
lanterns, that had been sent out by the head 
man to guide us home. When my companions 
shouted the news of our success they rushed up 
to me and shook my hand. One fellow, as he 
grasped my hand, exclaimed: ''Well done, Bwana 
Panya! You are no longer Bwana Panya (the 
mouse master) ; you are Bwana Simba (the lion 
master) !" And from that moment I was known 
to the entire party as Bwana Simba, 



NOT many months ago a writer stated 
that the various species of African ele- 
phants were being exterminated and 
in a few years would become totally extinct. 
This may be true in the case of large bulls, ani- 
mals carrying tusks of not less than sixty pounds 
the pair, which is the minimum weight for their 
lawful killing. Unless the law is changed, ele- 
phants with tusks larger than this may be exter- 
minated from those parts of Africa accessible to 
white men, but there are large areas of country 
*' inside" that have been little explored, where 
big tuskers are yet found in considerable num- 

Young bulls, cows, and calves are still plenti- 
ful and always will be, for they have no commer- 
cial value, are seldom molested by the natives, 
and the danger of elephant hunting is so great 
that few white men care to shoot many of them 
for mere sport, even should the government per- 
mit it. 



During my eleven months in Africa I must 
have seen about two hundred elephants — not 
many, it is true, when one realises that the 
professional elephant hunter who knows the 
best elephant country finds them in herds num- 
bering into the thousands. 

In regions where elephants are common they 
cause considerable damage to the natives by 
raiding the plantations — usually at night — and 
feeding on sugar-cane, corn, and vegetables. 
We passed through one section of country where 
the people had constructed grass watch-houses 
in the tops of trees, in which guards were sta- 
tioned to look for elephants. As soon as a herd 
was sighted an alarm was sounded and the peo- 
ple gathered with drums, horns, and other racket- 
making devices and frightened the elephants 

A chief told us that the buffaloes also raided 
the '"shambas" (gardens) and between the ele- 
phants and the buffaloes the inhabitants of a 
village were sometimes compelled to desert it 
and settle in another locality. 

Elephants become so bold that they tear down 
huts and even kill people. Within two days' 
march of Lake Albert we came to a village near 



which Hved a ''rogue" elephant that had ter- 
rorised the people for weeks. He visited the 
gardens nearly every night and had wrecked 
several grass huts, destroyed crops, and had 
killed one man. 

No sooner had we passed through the usual 
ceremony of greeting the chief of the district 
than he appealed to Colonel Roosevelt to rid his 
people of their pest. For several days prior to 
our arrival the chief had stationed men to watch 
the brute in anticipation of our coming, and he 
told the colonel that a runner had just come in 
with the news that the rogue was then resting 
quietly in some elephant-grass less than half 
a mile away. That any kind of an elephant 
should take up its abode within hearing of 
a village where the people were constantly 
shouting, singing, and blowing horns seemed in- 

Having killed all the elephants that were 
needed for scientific purposes, the colonel was at 
first loath to shoot the animal, but after an in- 
terpreter had portrayed its true character, and 
Cuninghame had explained that the natives ex- 
pected white men to shoot such animals in re- 
turn for the privilege of hunting in their coun- 


try, and therefore would consider it a breach of 
courtesy if he refused, he consented. 

As the colonel, Kermit, their gun bearers, and 
the guide left camp, the chief warned them that 
the rogue was dangerous and would charge the 
instant it saw them. The guide took them right 
up to the animal before they saw it through the 
tall grass, and at that moment it either spied or 
scented them and charged. The colonel gave 
it a bullet and just then Kermit fired. The ele- 
phant stopped for a second and as it turned to 
run a second bullet from the colonel's rifle struck 
it back of the ear, and Kermit fired again. The 
elephant fled through the tall grass, and the 
hunters followed the trail for some distance and 
finally came upon the mortally wounded rogue 
standing in a clump of bushes. The colonel 
worked round to one side and dropped the ani- 
mal in its tracks with a bullet through the heart. 
It measured ten feet and nine inches from the 
sole of its front foot to its back and carried 
tusks weighing one hundred and ten pounds. 

The shots and the shouts of the guide and the 
watchers were plainly heard in camp, and when 
it became known that the elephant was dead 
there was great rejoicing among the villagers. 


In British East Africa we found elephants in- 
habiting the jungle country about the base of 
the mountain ranges and isolated mountains and 
on the mountains themselves to an altitude of 
over twelve thousand feet. Up to that level, 
on Mount Kenia, their tracks were common. 
In the lowlands of Uganda and the Congo they 
frequented the immense tracts of elephant-grass 
that grew to a height of ten feet, the small 
strips of jungle along the rivers, and the open 
thorn-tree groves, where they seemed to feed 

In the thickly wooded countries the elephants 
had travelled single file and had stepped in each 
other's footprints. Sometimes deep holes had 
been worn in the earth, and there were stretches 
where these holes were full of water; so in fol- 
lowing them we had to step over the puddles 
from ridge to ridge. As the stride of an elephant 
is much longer than that of a man, we found 
travelling at times leg-stretching work. 

While the trails themselves were wide and 
well worn, strange to say the great brutes had 
simply forced their way through the tangle 
which closed in behind them, so we were kept 
busy ducking under limbs, pushing brush away 


from our faces, and climbing over logs. Wher- 
ever a tree of not too great size obstructed the 
way they had put their heads against it and 
pushed it over, tearing up the roots on all sides. 

While travelling they had reached up with 
their trunks and broken oflF great limbs and 
eaten the branches. We found that in some 
instances they had carried or dragged the limbs 
several hundred yards without eating them, 
which gave the impression that it was done in a 
spirit of playfulness. Again they had dug about 
the roots of a tree with their tusks and then 
pushed it over or pulled it down with their 
trunks. And so all through the forests we found 
trees that had been shoved down for one reason 
or another, limbs lying here and there on the 
ground, and roots that had been dug up to eat. 

In one place where a large herd of elephants 
had passed through an acacia grove to water at 
the Nile the uprooted and torn-down trees ap- 
peared as though a cyclone had swept over them. 
The acacia tree is a species of thorn-tree with 
spines three and four inches long. The thorns 
produce a poisonous effect on the flesh, which 
lasts for several days, yet the elephants fed ex- 
t-ensively on them, thorns and all. 


All through the jungle at the foot of big trees 
were beds where elephants had kicked up the 
dirt as they stood sleeping and swinging their 
great feet, for an elephant sleeps while standing 
and rarely lies down to rest. 

One day we lost our way in the jungle at the 
base of Mount Kenia; so, taking advantage of 
the last hour of daylight, we went into camp 
in a little vista scarcely large enough to accom- 
modate our tents and through which ran a well- 
worn elephant trail. The porters, who were 
without tents, made bough shelters in the edge 
of the timber, and after the customary dancing 
and singing orgies they retired for the night, and 
the camp-fires died down. 

Camping in the middle of an elephant thor- 
oughfare without knowing when the next street 
parade will take place is conducive to insomnia; 
so I lay awake until after midnight. I was 
dozing oJ0F when suddenly the most unearthly 
screech I ever heard started me from the cot 
with a bound. It was a sort of bugle screech 
that was immediately followed by another and 
another, until the jungle seemed to be infested 
with a new species of demon, each one trying 
its utmost to outscream its competitors. The 


effect would have made the inventor of a patent 
hair restorer hang his head with shame. 

Snatching my rifle, I rushed out of the tent 
and stood Hstening. From the porters' shelter 
low murmurings could be heard and through the 
inky darkness I could see the camp-fires bright- 
ening as the embers were scraped together and 
kindling applied. In a few minutes the little 
glade was aglow and through the flickering light 
we saw the porters perched in the tops of the 

For an hour the elephants circled about, now 
trumpeting, now roaring or bellowing, and the 
thought that they might stampede into camp 
at any moment was not particularly comforting. 
Finally, the rumpus died away as the herd 
slowly went toward the mountain, the porters 
came down from their perches, and once more 
everything was serene. 

The camp had just quieted down when a soli- 
tary elephant began to serenade us. He almost 
circled our tents, but finally left us by the lower 
side, trumpeting loudly as he passed beyond 

The following morning we packed up, found 
the trail again, and were soon in the bamboo 


belt, a stretch five miles wide that completely 
circles Mount Kenia between the altitudes of 
nine thousand and eleven thousand feet. 

Travelling in the bamboo might be compared 
to tramping through a field of giant rye or oats 
from fifteen to fifty feet high. Elephant trails 
sectioned and cross-sectioned each other in all 
directions. The trails were so numerous that we 
could travel in any direction, deviating but Ut- 
tle from our true course. 

Under the most favourable circumstances ele- 
phant hunting is dangerous work, and in the 
jungle, the thick bamboo, and the tall elephant- 
grass this risk is multiplied ten times. One can 
seldom see more than a few yards into the 
thicket, and he is likely to overlook an elephant 
standing a short distance away which on scent- 
ing him is quite as liable to charge as not. 

October and November are the best months 
of the year to study elephants at close range in 
the bamboo belts on the high mountains, for it is 
then that the cows leave the lowlands to feed 
upon the tender bamboo shoots and to bring 
forth their young. As may be imagined, much 
of interest can then be learned in a very short 
time, for a big elephant with a small one is pro- 


portionately peevish and a person can never 
tell when this peevishness will suddenly be thrust 
upon him. 

I must admit that a peculiar feeling always 
passed over me whenever I heard a commotion 
in the bamboos near by and the gun bearer fran- 
tically seized the Ithaca shotgun from my hand 
and replaced it with the cocked rifle. Every in- 
stant I expected to see an elephant rush out, and 
I wondered whether I had better shoot for the 
heart through the chest, for the brain through 
the head, or for camp through the bamboos, and 
a feeling of reUef came over me when I discov- 
ered that time that my elephants were simply 
a troop of startled monkeys hurrying away. 

When resting or sleeping, elephants stand 
huddled together, but when they start out to 
feed they scatter and the hunter can never tell 
when or from what direction he will be charged 
by an animal he has not seen. Colonel Roose- 
velt had a narrow escape in this way when shoot- 
ing one of his first elephants. 

He and Cuninghame were trailing the animal, 
and when within shooting distance the colonel 
fired and wounded it, but killed it with his sec- 
ond barrel. Before he could reload, another ele- 


phant charged unexpectedly and would surely 
have wounded or killed one or both of the hunt- 
ers had not Cuninghame turned it aside with 
both barrels of his heavy rifle. The dense jungle 
prevented all chance of escape, and the brute 
passed so close to the colonel that it could 
have touched him with its trunk as it rushed 

As soon as a shot is fired the herd will fre- 
quently charge about, trumpeting and bellowing. 
Even when an elephant is charging the hunter 
cannot always fire as soon as he would like for 
fear his bullet might strike a limb and deflect 
from its course. 

From these remarks it must not be taken 
for granted that elephants always charge. On 
scenting danger from afar they usually depart. 
It is when surprised at close quarters that they 
seem to lose their heads and rush about, prob- 
ably trying to locate the trouble in order to 
avoid it. Trumpeting, bellowing, and squeal- 
ing, they tear first one way then another, and 
should they catch sight of the hunter they are 
then liable to charge him. Failing to find him, 
they huddle together and the whole herd departs. 
After one such experience it is only men with 


iron nerve that care to continue the so-called 

An elephant uses several original and effective 
methods of exterminating its victims. It may 
rush upon a man, seize him in its trunk, beat 
him to death on the ground, and, before leav- 
ing, tear up the foliage for yards about. 

There are many instances of elephants liter- 
ally tearing their victim to pieces. The story is 
told of an English oflScial in Uganda who, on 
noticing a safari passing, stepped to the door to 
inquire of the head man the whereabout of his 
master. In response, the black swung a human 
arm before the official and replied that a few 
days previous his master had been torn to pieces 
by an elephant and that he had brought back the 
arm as proof of his assertion. 

Then, again, after knocking a man down an 
elephant will often continue on its course without 
stopping to learn how much damage it has done. 
A hunter who was within close proximity of a 
herd of elephants handed his rifle to the gun 
bearer and started to climb a tree to look about. 
At that moment an elephant charged from the 
tall grass and made for the gun bearer. As the 
man started to run, he threw up his arms, and in 


some peculiar manner the elephant, in reaching 
for him, snatched the rifle from his hand and 
stopped to hammer it on the ground while the 
black made good his escape. 

Usually, though, after an elephant has knocked 
a man down it kneels on him or, dropping to 
its knees, probes him with its tusks. Mr. Carl 
Akeley, who has visited Africa several times in 
the interests of various American museums, was 
nearly killed by an elephant in this manner. 
His elephant charged at close range, knocked 
him down, and kneeling, attempted to gore him. 
He managed to grab the tusks in time to swing 
his body between them before they descended, 
and they passed harmlessly on each side. The 
curled trunk, however, crushed his chest and 
broke several ribs. When he regained con- 
sciousness the elephant had gone and his boys 
had deserted him. The boys finally returned 
and carried him to camp and it was several 
months before he fully recovered. 

It is a strange fact that there are very few 
cases of men being slightly mauled by an 
elephant. They are either killed outright, 
mortally wounded, or escape miraculously with 
nothing more than a general shake-up and a 


severe fright. In fact, when an elephant charges 
one can never tell what will happen until it is all 

At Nairobi we were introduced to a Russian 
doctor who went over into the Congo a few weeks 
in advance of our party. At Gondokoro we 
again met him and he exhibited a shirt in which 
was a long rent made by the tusks of an elephant. 
The animal charged, he jumped aside, and the 
tusks ripped the hole in his shirt. Continuing 
its course, it overtook the gun bearer, knocked 
him down, stepped on his head, and rushed on. 

Unlike a lion, an elephant will usually bolt 
when severely wounded. There are very few in- 
stances where a lion, after once charging, has 
been known to stop or turn aside unless it was 
disabled. It continues so long as it can keep 
on its feet and will sometimes kill a man while 
gasping its last breath. But an elephant, when 
mortally wounded, will often turn, and even 
should it continue its charge and pass so close 
that it could easily pick up its victim it fre- 
quently rushes past without noticing him. 

Very little is known of the breeding habits of 
elephants or their manner of caring for their 
young. A gentleman with whom we became 


very well acquainted while on the Mount Kenia 
trip was not a professional elephant hunter, nev- 
ertheless he had killed several elephants on Kili- 
manjaro. Once by mistake he shot and wounded 
a cow elephant that ran some distance before 
falling. On overtaking her he found that she 
had fallen in a kneeling position. A little calf 
was pinned under her knee by a leg that was 
driven deep into the soft earth. A close exami- 
nation of the route over which the old elephant 
had passed failed to reveal any of the little one's 
tracks. This, together with the fact that the 
calf was not hitherto seen and the peculiar man- 
ner in which it lay, might be taken as proof that 
the mother was carrying it in her trunk or per- 
haps resting it on her tusks, with her trunk 
holding it in position. 

Certainly a baby elephant cannot keep up 
with its mother when escaping from danger, and 
it is reasonable to suppose that an animal which 
makes a specialty of carrying things in its trunk 
and is intelligent enough to push down trees ten 
inches in diameter and shove logs and stones 
out of its path might, under certain circum- 
stances, have the sense to carry off its young. 

We were astonished to find elephants roaming 


over the rocky ridges and the steep sides of ra- 
vines, and it was really remarkable what rough 
country they sometimes inhabited. I was once 
searching about a steep, rocky, timber-covered 
pinnacle at the lower edge of the heather belt on 
Mount Kenia for a good place to set my mouse- 
traps. In scrambling through the moss-covered 
boulders I found many elephant tracks and 
after some difficulty reached the summit to dis- 
cover that a herd of elephants had preceded me. 
Elephants can climb up the side of a mountain 
so steep that the hunter, even by using the 
shrubbery to aid him, has difficulty in following. 
Way up in the heather belt, at an altitude of 
twelve thousand feet, where in October half an 
inch of ice formed in buckets of water standing 
outside the tent at night, we found elephant 
tracks common. In crossing the bogs — of which 
there were many — the elephants usually sepa- 
rated and came together again as soon as they 
struck solid ground. Their feet left holes in the 
muck from one to two feet deep. These holes 
were full of water and grass had grown over 
them; so we were constantly stumbling into 
them, and the water spurted into our faces as we 
fell forward and wallowed on all fours. I never 


returned to camp after dark without being 
drenched in this manner and soon learned to 
get back before the sun went down. 

From a long distance the hunter is often ap- 
prised of the presence of elephants by the flocks 
of white *' cow-herons" that usually keep them 
company and feed on the hordes of insects that 
the animals attract and disturb from the grass. 
As he draws near he hears the breaking of 
branches and the crash of faUing trees, but if 
the animals are resting he may first be warned 
of danger by a strong pungent odour, or he may 
hear the rumble of their stomachs and other 
sounds caused by the process of digestion. 

The hearing of elephants is very acute, but in 
regions inhabited by natives they become accus- 
tomed to the human voice and scarcely heed it, 
as already recounted in the case of the rogue 
elephant killed by the colonel. 

We were finishing our last day's march to Lake 
Albert and passed a village where the people 
were laughing, singing, and talking, while the 
children romped at play. By the side of 
the trail several blacks stood on the topmost 
branches of a huge fallen tree, gazing intently at 
some object in the elephant-grass. On mount- 


ing the limbs I saw a herd of about ten elephants 
huddled together not more than three hundred 
yards away. I was told that this herd had been 
lingering in the vicinity for several weeks. 

In regions little frequented by man the sound 
of the human voice will alarm elephants as 
quickly as the scent of a hunter. But they rely 
more on their keen scent to warn them of dan- 
ger than on either hearing or seeing. When ap- 
proaching a herd the chief thought in an ele- 
phant hunter's mind is the direction of the wind. 
He first tries to make sure that the animals are 
not scattered and that there are none to the 
right or to the left that will catch his wind and 
give the alarm. Often he sends his gun bearer 
up a tree or to the top of an ant-hill to look 

So long as the elephants' trunks are down 
there is little danger, but, when he sees the 
U-shaped curve of a proboscis waving in the 
air over the top of the elephant-grass, he knows 
that if its owner has not actually scented him, it 
is at least suspicious of danger and is feeling for 
his scent. Then, when another and another ap- 
pears, he is certain that the warning has been 
communicated to the whole herd and that trouble 


is brewing beneath those heavy skins, which on 
an adult animal will average an inch and a half 
in thickness. 

Many a man has Providence to thank for 
creating so powerful a creature with a serious 
defect — poor eyesight. I am not aware that 
any ocuhst has examined the sight of an ele- 
phant to determine how far it can see, but it is 
certain that, so far as discovering a human be- 
ing is concerned, its eyesight is not of much use 
beyond fifty yards. Time and again men have 
stood by the side of a tree, crouched by a bush, 
or lain flat on an ant-hill while a herd of infuri- 
ated elephants charged about only a few yards 

While out hunting white rhinoceroses in the 
Lado country on the White Nile, we came upon 
a herd of nine elephants. When first seen they 
were on a burnt tract about four hundred yards 
away, but they gradually drew nearer until they 
were within two hundred yards. We did not 
wish to kill them, so rather than run the risk of a 
charge and be compelled to shoot them we circled 
them. From an ant-hill we watched the great 
brutes for fifteen minutes and were in plain sight 
all the time, yet they never detected us. An 


antelope or a deer would have spied the dan- 
ger the instant our heads appeared over the 

A small flock of cow-herons accompanied the 
herd, riding on the backs of the animals and then 
flying to the ground and feeding in the grass until 
the elephants had outdistanced them, when again 
they launched into the air and overtook their 
great hosts. The elephants paid so little heed 
to the birds that it was quite evident the two 
lived on most friendly terms. 

There were several calves in the herd and they 
trailed along in the rear and then galloped on to 
overtake their parents. We circled them with- 
out trouble and continued our hunt. On re- 
turning several hours later, we found them in 
almost the same position in which they had been 

A few days later a herd of about fifty ele- 
phants strolled to within a mile and a half of 
camp and for over an hour we watched them 
through the glasses. It was about ten o'clock 
in the forenoon, so probably they were on their 
way to water at the Nile. There were only 
young bulls, cows, and calves in the herd. They 
must have scented our camp, for very soon they 


became suspicious and, after wandering about, 
started back over the route they had come. 

When in the open country they spread out 
and walked abreast, but as soon as a thicket was 
reached they dropped behind each other and fol- 
lowed single file. They were constantly tossing 
dirt and tussocks of grass on and over their 
backs, fanning themselves with their immense 
ears and at intervals extending them on each 
side, which, through the field-glasses, presented 
a most hideous appearance. As usual, a large 
flock of cow-herons accompanied them and when 
these birds lit on the back of an animal they 
gave it the appearance of being a white-backed 

Suddenly the launch that was to take us to 
Nimule rounded a bend in the river and whistled. 
The elephants turned sharply to the right and 
ambled off at a rapid rate. A little calf some 
distance in the rear did not hurry fast enough 
to suit its mother, and I saw her stop and wait 
until it came up and then drive it on ahead, 
occasionally giving it a gentle tap with her 



PROBABLY the most amusing incident 
that happened to any member of the 
Roosevelt African expedition occurred to 
me before we had been in Africa a week; I was 
chased by an ostrich. The ostrich was not a 
wild one, for the wild birds are far too cunning 
to do anything so adventurous. We saw them 
feeding in pairs and small groups on the veldt, 
but they were too shy to be easily approached. 

The ostrich that gave chase to me was a huge 
bird that belonged to an English settler by the 
name of Percival. It was a member of a fine 
flock he had reared from eggs brought to him 
by the natives. He valued the old birds at 
four hundred dollars each. 

At night Percival kept the ostriches in a 
kraal (brush enclosure) and early each morn- 
ing let them out to feed on grass, while a Kikuyu 
boy stood guard. The native was armed with 
an eight-foot pole, at the end of which was a 




wide crotch. This stick he used to protect him- 
self when an ostrich became ill-tempered and 
attacked him; he would push the fork against 
the bird's neck and hold the creature off until 
it became discouraged and was willing to "be 

A cock ostrich when peevish has a disagreeable 
habit of running up to a person, bowling him 
over with a blow of its foot, and then dancing on 

Unless a man has one of those forked poles 
when he is attacked by an ostrich, he is likely 
to be seriously injured by the bird's powerful 
kicks. In such a case the best thing to do is to 
lie flat on the ground and let yourself be trod- 
den on. You may be pounded black and blue 
and badly bruised, but even that is better than 
having a fractured skull, broken ribs or limbs, 
or great gashes cut in your flesh by the bird's 
strong feet. 

It is the duty of safari managers to warn 
greenhorns of the danger from tame ostriches, 
and as one of Percival's birds was noted for its 
truculent disposition, our party had been prop- 
erly cautioned. 

Unpacking our outfit at Kapiti, where we 


made the first camp, we remained there only 
long enough to put things in working order and 
then rode across the veldt for half a day to Sir 
Alfred Pease's ranch. 

All along the route we saw thousands of ani- 
mals. It seemed impossible that in this age 
there could be any spot on the earth where ani- 
mal life was so abundant. Herds of zebras, 
hartebeests, Thompson's gazelles, and wilde- 
beests, in separate bands and sometimes min- 
gled together in one great herd, were feeding on 
all sides. 

The wildebeest is a remarkable animal. Some 
herds are so shy that it is almost impossible to 
stalk them. Others seem full of a spirit of play- 
fulness and will caper about a hunter as if try- 
ing to induce him to join them in a frolic. 

Doctor Mearns was once pursuing, on horse- 
back, a wounded animal when a herd of wilde- 
beests joined in the chase and for half a mile 
ran by his side, tossing their heads in the air 
and bucking and kicking as if they were thor- 
oughly enjoying the hunt. 

It was the dry season, and as there was a 
scarcity of water at Sir Alfred's place and his 
shooting-box was too small to accommodate 


us all, Doctor Mearns and I and most of the 
porters camped at Potha River, about four miles 

Three quarters of a mile behind the camp 
was Percival's place. In the evening of our 
first day at Potha he came down and asked 
us to visit him and see what a typical East 
African ranch was like. On the way I noticed 
numerous small earth mounds that looked as 
if they had been thrown up by our Western 

Now, my special work with the expedition 
was collecting small mammals, and, naturally, 
when I discovered these mounds I became in- 
terested. Early the next morning I shouldered 
a bag of steel traps and, with my gun bearer 
carrying my rifle and shotgun, made for the spot 
where I had seen the gopher workings the eve- 
ning before. I wore a green shirt, which was 
supposed to serve the double purpose of being 
invisible to animals and of tempering the rays 
of the powerful tropical sun. 

We arrived at the spot, about four hundred 
yards from Percival's house, and I began dig- 
ging into a burrow with a long case-knife, 
with the intention of setting a steel trap in 


the underground passageway. The animals live 
a subterranean life, and appear above ground 
only when, in the course of their work, they 
break through the surface in order to push out 
the earth that they have excavated. 

It was a gently rolling country, and the 
only trees in sight were the scattering ones 
along the edge of the river where our camp 
was pitched. 

I had set one trap and was on my knees 
digging into another mound. My gun bearer, 
wondering, no doubt, what new kind of white 
man I could be, stood by, watching my ac- 
tions. Glancing up from my work, I noticed 
the Kikuyu boy driving the flock of ostriches 
from the enclosure and starting them ofiF to 

Presently I heard him shout, and I saw that 
an enormous cock-bird had left the band and 
was heading in our direction in a very signifi- 
cant manner. 

Of course I had a gun and a rifle with which 
to protect myself, but the four hundred dollars 
that I would have to pay if I shot the bird made 
me reluctant to kill it. 

I jumped to my feet and looked in some 


perplexity at the gun bearer. *'What shall we 
do?" I said. "Run.?" 

Although he could not understand English, 
he must have known by my tone that I was 
asking a question, and so he replied with the 
only English word he knew: 


I did not wait to pick up the bag of traps 
but snatched the shotgun. The gun bearer 
grabbed the rifle, and oflE we started. It was 
fully half a mile over the gently rolling veldt 
to camp, and it seemed that the great bird 
would easily overhaul us before we could reach 
it, but the thought of the four hundred dollars 
stimulated me to my top speed. Yet I did not 
dare to throw away the shotgun. 

We had a lead of three hundred yards. At 
intervals I looked back over my shoulder and 
saw the ostrich swinging over the ground at a 
graceful trot; his wings were half raised, and 
at every step his body rose and sank as if it 
were resting on springs. 

A herd of about twenty-five wildebeests 
were just ahead of us. When they saw us bear- 
ing down on them they divided to let us pass. 
Then they lined up on each side, about a hun- 


dred yards away, and dashed along parallel 
with us, tossing their heads, bucking and frisk- 
ing, and evidently taking a deep interest in the 

It was plain that the ostrich was not exerting 
himself. Perhaps he thought it would be more 
fun to run us down and tire us out than to end 
the race by a sudden burst of speed. With 
each stride his feet reached out like those of a 
race-horse, and as he drew near I saw that his 
bill was half open. With his extremely small 
head mounted on his snakelike neck, his open 
mouth gave him an idiotic appearance. 

When he was within forty or fifty yards of us 
he suddenly began surging back and forth, and 
it seemed that I could read his thoughts: 

"I've got you. You can't get away." 

And he did have us. But the ridiculousness 
of our position, together with a nearer view of 
the green shirt that I wore, seemed to intox- 
icate him with ecstasy; the foolish old bird 
threw himself flat on the ground, lifted his 
wings over his back, and began rocking from 
side to side and twisting his head and neck 
about as if he were ready to burst with laughter. 

How long he continued to act so I do not 


know; I was too busy watching for the green 
covers of the tents to loom up ahead. But I 
do know that we put two hundred yards be- 
tween us and the bird before he again started 
after us. We were so near the camp that the 
wildebeests had veered off and now stood watch- 
ing from a safe distance the finish of the race. 

When, at last, we came within shouting dis- 
tance of the tents I tried to call, but I was so 
thoroughly out of breath that I could hardly 
make a sound. I turned to the gun bearer and 
by signs made him understand that I wished 
him to attract attention. He shouted long and 

The porters came swarming from their tents, 
and the uproar of laughter that broke from 
the crowd still rings in my ears. Not one of 
them offered to come to our assistance; they 
just stood there and laughed. Cuninghame, 
however, darted back into his tent and reap- 
peared with a large towel. Running toward 
us, he waved the towel in front of him as if to 
flag the bird or to announce to us that the 
race was over and that we had won the prize 
of four hundred dollars. 

As we entered the camp, amid the uproar- 


ious mirth of the child-Uke porters, the ostrich 
trotted up to within twenty yards of the tents, 
threw himself on the ground, and again repeated 
the antics that he had gone through a few min- 
utes before. Finally he tired of it, and rising, 
began feeding about the veldt as if nothing had 
happened. Soon his keeper appeared and drove 
him back to the flock. 

During the rest of the trip I was constantly 
reminded of that experience and time and 
again was obliged to tell the story. But what 
wounded my sensitive feelings most was to 
have Sir Alfred Pease ludicrously cartoon the 
episode and ask me to inscribe beneath it my 
feelings at the time and then to sign my name! 



)1 LL day the sun had been beating down 
/-\ upon us, one hundred and ten degrees 
strong. As I sat in my tent on the 
shore of that wonderful Lake Albert which Sir 
Samuel W. Baker discovered on March 14, 1864, 
there was naught in the climate or the coun- 
try to remind me of the winter they were having 
back in York State save the gentle tinkling noise, 
made by the myriads of frogs or toads, that 
sounded like distant sleigh-bells. 

We were due at Butiaba the day before but 
were detained a day by waiting at the last camp 
to secure the tusks and feet of an ugly old 
"rogue" elephant that Colonel Roosevelt had 
killed at the earnest solicitation of the natives. 

The hunters had come upon the brute in the 
tall grass, and, true to the chief's warning, it 
charged the instant that it saw them and before 
a shot had been fired. 

As we marched into Butiaba we were met 
by Captain Hutchison, who congratulated the 


colonel on his recent feat, adding that escape 
from a charging elephant of any kind, and par- 
ticularly a "rogue," deserved congratulations, 
as he could testify from a certain *' close call" 
he once had in elephant hunting. 

"Now, captain," spoke up the colonel, "I 
feel sure that you have an interesting story to 
relate; so please give it to us at once." 

"Well, it was a bit awkward, I must admit," 
began the captain, "and so upset me that I 
have never 'taken on' an elephant since. 

"I had been out ivory hunting for some time, 
and, while we found elephants, they were all 
small animals or cows with calves. One morn- 
ing we struck a bunch in which, judging from 
the enormous track, there was an immense 
tusker, well worth following. Sending word 
back to camp for my men to pull stakes imme- 
diately and come after us, for one is never sure 
how many days he may have to follow a herd, 
I struck out in pursuit of them. 

"The tracks were made several hours before, 
and evidently there were about twenty elephants 
in the bunch. They were travelling at a good 
rate, and we hoped that they would stop to 
feed late in the afternoon. 


"Elephants may look slow and clumsy in 
captivity, but when they are walking at an 
ordinary gait a person must step along at 
almost a dog-trot in order to overhaul them. 
It was about ten o'clock when we took the 
'spoor' * and we knew that we were starting on 
a journey of at least twenty miles. The trail 
was not hard to keep, for a herd of twenty 
elephants following single file through the ten- 
foot elephant-grass makes more than a well- 
worn path. 

"As they marched along they had amused 
themselves by snatching a bunch of grass and 
tossing it aside; then, as they had passed through 
a grove of thorn-trees, they had broken off 
limbs and dragged them a hundred yards or 
more before dropping them. ' Several times one 
had halted long enough to dig a hole in the 
ground three or four feet in diameter with his 
tusks, and then we saw where he had galloped 
on to overtake his comrades. Once they gave 
us an advantage by stopping for some time to 
wallow in a water-hole, and as they emerged 
they rubbed their bodies against the first trees 
they passed, leaving the mud plastered ten feet 

* A sign of any kind. 


high on the bark. These and other signs, grow- 
ing fresher and fresher all the time, told us that 
we were slowly overtaking our game. 

"About noon we surmised that, if the ele- 
phants were still travelling, we must be within 
five miles of them; but, as it was feeding time, 
I thought it practical to send my best tracker 
ahead to reconnoitre, while we followed more 
slowly. In a short time he returned and re- 
ported that he had overhauled the herd feed- 
ing in a grove of thorn-trees, of which they are 
particularly fond. They were breaking off the 
branches, digging up the roots with their tusks, 
and then pushing the trees over with their heads 
or pulling them down with their trunks. Al- 
though he had not seen the big fellow, there 
was no doubt that it was somewhere in the 

"By the time we had arrived they had 
passed out of the grove and were again in the 
elephant-grass, which, owing to its height and 
density, made it impossible for us to see them. 
Even when we mounted an ant-hill the growth 
was so tall that we got only an occasional 
glimpse of a back or of a few snake-like trunks 
waving about in the air. The wind was scarcely 


in our favour; so we circled them to a large tree, 
and I sent one of the boys up to see if he could 
locate the big tusker. 

"We watched him for several minutes as 
from his lofty perch he scanned the country. 
Presently he pointed oflf to the right, and from 
his signs we read that there were two tusk- 
ers with good ivory, one rather small, but the 
other the grandfather of all the elephants with 
mighty tusks. I beckoned the man down, and 
there, under the tree in whispered conversa- 
tion, we planned the attack. 

"Our prize was on the far side of the herd 
and in such a position that, should we attempt 
to stalk him, there would be risk of some of 
the elephants catching the scent and giving the 
alarm. Nothing could be done, therefore, but 
to keep watch until he had worked around to a 
more favourable position. 

"Again the boy ascended the tree, and as 
we lay upon the ground about the base we 
could hear the elephants ripping up the grass. 
It was probably half an hour before the boy 
again descended and reported that the ele- 
phants were working our way, and it would be 
dangerous to remain there longer. So we took 


up a new position on an unusually large ant-hill, 
several hundred yards to the left, and awaited 

"At last the long-looked-for time arrived, for 
the tusker was on the outskirts of the herd, 
and the wind was favourable. We circled to his 
side and stealthily drew near — my gun bearer, 
tracker, and myself — while the other boys re- 
mained in the rear. 

*'The tall grass prevented us from even 
catching a glimpse of the beasts, but it was 
easy to locate them by the noise they made 
while feeding. My gun bearer assured me that 
the brute I wanted was one of three not more 
than fifty yards away. 

"We held to the elephant trails, as no one 
could penetrate that jungle of grass and travel 
silently. Next to silence we had to watch the 
^ind, for, once the animals caught our scent, 
tney would either dash away or charge, prob- 
ably the latter. 

"So far our plans had worked out admirably; 
the elephants, unconscious of our presence, were 
still tearing up the grass directly in our front, 
while my boys and myself proceeded inch by 
inch and strained our eyes to catch sight of 


the brutes. These boys had been my compan-' 
ions on many an elephant hunt, and I had the 
utmost confidence in them, knowing well that, 
if it were necessary, they would not hesitate to 
give up their lives to save mine. 

"I don't care how many elephants a man 
may have encountered, while he is sneaking 
upon his game a feeling of uneasiness steals 
over him until the critical moment arrives; then 
things happen so quickly and his brain works 
so rapidly that all sense of fear is for the mo- 
ment lost. 

*'With both hammers of my rifle raised, I 
cautiously sneaked nearer and nearer, my faith- 
ful boys following at my very heels. At last 
we were within fifty feet of the elephant, and 
as he moved toward me I could see the top of 
the grass swaying violently from side to side. 
Suddenly fate turned against us, for a shifting 
current of air must have warned the brute of 
danger, I saw a huge trunk rise above the 
grass, heard a shrill, deafening trumpet, and 
knew that the fight was on. The grass parted 
as though a snow-plough were being driven 
through it, and the next instant there loomed 
up, not twenty feet away, a monster head with 


wing-like ears protruding on either side like 
the sails on a dhow. 'Two shiny tusks of ivory, 
fully six feet long, were pointed at my chest, 
and the towering trunk between them gave 
the head a fiendish look not often found outside 
of Hades. The other elephants took up the 
trumpeting, and the uproar was appalling. 

"My rifle was at my shoulder from the second 
the brute began his charge, and the instant 
that he hove in sight I fired both barrels point- 
blank into his face. Without a second's hesi- 
tation I reached back to my gun bearer for the 
'450' and brought it to position. Immense 
though the brute was, he looked three times his 
normal size as I cast my eyes along the bar- 
rels levelled at his head not five feet away. I 
pressed one trigger, then the other, but there was 
no report, and with a feeling of horror I real- 
ised that my gun bearer, in the excitement of the 
moment, had failed to raise the hammers. 

'* Before I could lower the rifle from my 
shoulder the brute was upon me! With a 
scream of rage he twined his trunk about my 
body and, lifting me high above his head, 
"brandished me about in the air as though I 
were a feather. Every instant I expected to be 




hurled fifty feet or more through space, which 
I welcomed as the only possible likelihood of 
escape. But no; at that moment I struck the 
ground with a thud. Three times I was lifted 
high and brought crashing through the grass 
to earth. The last time the elephant uncoiled 
his trunk and left me lying there, stunned and 
dazed and staring blankly into his wicked little 
eyes, now hot with rage. 

*'Then, dropping to his knees before me, he 
knelt there hesitating, as though to give me 
time to deliberate before the end should come. 
But he did not keep me waiting long, for slowly 
the two great tusks began descending. With 
all my waning strength I threw my body snug 
up against his bending knees, and the tusks 
passed harmlessly over me, just grazing my 
back, and tore great holes in the earth be- 
yond. Again the ponderous head was raised, 
and again his tusks bore down upon me and 
probed deeply into the earth. 

"Evidently the animal had been somewhat 
bUnded by my shots, for, assuming that he had 
done his work, he started to rise, and as he 
did so the sudden thought came over me that 
he would probably attempt to trample me to 


death, the usual method that an elephant em- 
ploys to obliterate an enemy. So, as he slowly 
rose, in some unaccountable manner I managed 
to scramble between his forefeet and, working 
back, seized hold of his hind foot. 

"Once more I felt the snake-like trunk being 
wound around me; next I was being waved 
about over the grass top — then the ground 
seemed suddenly to rise and meet me, and I 
lost consciousness. How many times I was 
hammered on the ground I do not know. 

"Three hours later I came to and found my- 
self in camp and my boys dashing water into 
my face. When I opened my eyes I saw the 
gun bearer holding a smoking rifle in his hands. 
He had just returned from the scene of my 
mauling and brought in my rifles, one of which 
he had attempted to unload and in some man- 
ner had accidentally discharged. The explo- 
sion had no doubt assisted to revive me. 

"My men told me that my life was saved by 
the quick action of my tracker, who appeared on 
the scene with a spear at about the time that I 
lost consciousness and, rushing in, plunged the 
spear into the elephant's side. Leaving me, 
the animal took after its new tormentor, but 


the agile native, twisting and doubling in the 
thick grass, managed finally to escape. The 
elephant had devastated the grass, bushes, and 
small trees in his search for the man and, for- 
tunately, had not returned to me. 

"While it is undoubtedly true that the na- 
tive's action had much to do with saving me, 
one reason why I was not dashed to death 
Ues in the fact that an elephant's trunk is the 
tenderest part of his body, and, being twined 
about me, it received the brunt of the blow 
each time that I struck the ground, and evi- 
dently the pain kept the animal from using the 
force necessary to kill me. 

"As a result of that mauling, I was laid up 
for six weeks before I was well enough to hob- 
ble about again. 

"That elephant may be alive at this present 
moment, for all I know. My native attendants 
were too terror-stricken over the outcome of the 
hunt to give the brute any further attention 
after I was mauled; so no one followed him up 
to discover what damage my shots had done. 
Judging from the amount of vigour that was 
left in his great hulk at the time he put me to 
sleep, he could not have been seriously wounded. 


"Well, as I have said, colonel," concluded 
Captain Hutchison, "that hunt used up my 
stock of courage, and I doubt if I shall ever 
*take on' another elephant, unless in seK- 


"jacking" animals 

A NY one who has toured through the country 
/"\ at night in an automobile with bright 
headhghts must have noticed how bril- 
liantly a stray cat's eyes shine when the lamps' 
rays strike them squarely. The members of the 
Roosevelt African expedition made use of this 
fact to secure specimens of the nocturnal ani- 
mals that otherwise could not have been so 
easily collected. 

The time was when deer were hunted in the 
Adirondack Mountains in much the same man- 
ner, but it has long since been stopped by law 
on the ground that it was unsportsmanlike. 
Be that as it may, ** jacking" animals in Africa 
is an entirely different proposition, especially 
when one's main object is to secure the speci- 
mens for scientific purposes. We were there for 
specimens, and it made no difference in what 
manner they were procured so long as torture 
was not resorted to. 



So far as sport is concerned, there is very little 
sport in collecting most specimens, anyhow; it 
is not the killing of a creature that delights the 
field naturalist, it is the specimen itself — the 
knowledge that science has been enriched by 
another skin and the hope that that skin will 
be the means of adding a new species to the 
world's nomenclature or that some new and 
interesting fact will be revealed. 

"Jacking" animals in a country where there 
is no danger to the sportsman may be un- 
sportsmanlike from an animal's point of view, 
but ''jacking" animals at night in the land of 
the rhinoceros and man-eating lion is not only 
risky but many of our African acquaintances 
pronounced it foolhardy. 

We used an ordinary acetylene bicycle lamp 
and never went out until it was pitch dark; in 
fact, the blacker the night the better the chance 
of success. On moonlight nights the light does 
not penetrate so far and the animals can detect 
danger more quickly. 

Naivasha, where we did most of our night 
hunting, is a hamlet of about a dozen houses 
situated in a tract of country similar, in a way, 
to the deserts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, 


southern California, Colorado, and Utah. Every 
night hyenas and jackals prowled about the 
garbage piles, and as we lay in bed we could 
hear them howling and barking and occasion- 
ally also the deep, grunting moans of a lion in 
the rocky hills a mile or so away. 

Kermit Roosevelt originated this new form 
of night hunting, and the first night he killed 
several springhaas. 

The springhaas — Dutch for jumping hare — 
is an animal about the size of a jack-rabbit 
but shaped more like a wallaby or a kangaroo. 
Its front legs are short, while its hind ones are 
long and used for jumping. Its ears, too, are 
long, like those of a kangaroo, and its move- 
ments and mode of locomotion are almost iden- 
tical. Its upper parts are red, or reddish, and 
its under-parts whitish, while its tail — very long 
— is well haired and has a ''brush" at the end. 
The springhaas lives in colonies in holes in the 
ground, like a prairie-dog, and each pair, or 
family, has its individual burrow. It is truly 
a nocturnal rodent — a gnawing animal — and if 
ever seen in daylight it is just after a shower or 
when the sky is deeply overcast. 

Kermit's success spurred Doctor Mearns and 


myself to try our luck. So one dark night 
about nine o'clock we shouldered an Ithaca 
shotgun and, with the bicycle lamp, sallied 

We struck out across the quarter-mile, unin- 
habited flat between the hotel and the railroad 
station, intending then to turn to the right 
toward the hills. Springhaas's burrows were 
numerous and we had hope of finding a spring- 
haas before we reached the station. 

I walked ahead and carried the light, which I 
kept casting about from side to side as we 
slowly walked along. Not a word was spoken. 
The lantern cast a V-shaped ray over the hard, 
sandy, brush-covered flat. 

Suddenly, out of the inky darkness, there 
sprang, like magic, two balls of fire the size of 
a five-cent piece and about three inches apart. 
My heart gave a leap and for a few seconds I 
stood petrified, forgetting entirely the object of 
my presence. The next instant I came to my 
senses and, turning to the doctor, whispered: 

"There's one! Give me the gun quick! Here! 
you take the lantern and hold it on him and 
I'll shoot!" 

The doctor took the lamp and turned it again 


upon the fiery balls, which in my excitement I 
had neglected to keep within the rays. Not 
even the outline of the animal could be seen, 
simply those two balls of fire. I had no idea 
how far away the creature was. I raised the 
gun to fire, but could not even see the barrels 
much less the sight, so I pointed in that general 
direction and pulled the trigger. 

Not a breath of air stirred and the gun roared 
like a cannon. Instantly the two glowing balls 
disappeared and some animal let out an awful 
yowl. Without waiting for the lamp, I ran at 
top speed, leaving the doctor far in the rear. 
As soon as I reached the spot where I judged the 
animal should be, if my aim had been true, I 
began to search about, but, having gazed for so 
long into the glare, I could not see. Soon my 
eyes became accustomed to the darkness and I 
thought I saw a movement a little to the left. 
Jumping to the spot, I gave a kick. Again 
the creature began to yowl and started off, 
but it had taken only a few steps when I 
jumped on it and began shouting for the doctor. 

What the thing was I could not tell. That 
it was not a springhaas I felt certain, for it was 
too large and its cries were not those of a jump- 


ing hare. Quickened by my cries and those of 
the animal, the doctor soon came up with the 
light, and found me waltzing about on the hurri- 
cane-deck of a large grey fox, for all the world 
a prototype of our American grey or "woods 
grey" fox. Why it did not bite my legs I can- 
not understand. We put it out of its misery 
immediately and were greatly pleased with our 
success so early in the hunt. 

It would be a serious breach of a field natu- 
ralist's etiquette not to mention that this fox 
proved to be a new species, and was named by 
Doctor Miller, of the National Museum, Otocyon 

We both realised that killing animals in this 
manner was all luck, and that in order to make 
our aim true every time we must devise some 
way of casting the light along the gun-barrels so 
as to reveal the sight. After a little experi- 
menting we found that by holding the lantern in 
the left hand and resting the gun on our wrist 
we could twist the lantern so that the rays would 
strike the barrels and show the animal's eyes at 
the same time. Aiming, then, was quite as easy 
as in broad daylight. 

Having but one lantern, it was now the doc- 


tor's turn to show his skill, so I carried the fox 
while he prospected about for more eyes. We 
had gone only a short distance when we "picked 
up" a pair of eyes, and the doctor let fly and 
shot a springhaas. 

We did not get back to the hotel until after 
midnight, and during the time killed four more 
springhaas. This trip proved to be more of a 
lesson than a hunt. We learned many things 
of interest, and, although we missed several 
shots, we always profited by the loss. 

We found springhaas singly, in pairs, or in 
groups of three to five, and sometimes several 
pairs of eyes could be seen within the radius 
of the lamp. 

At first our eagerness to secure the animals 
led us to shoot before we were within range, and 
it was some time before we were able to judge 
the distance accurately. Perhaps we would be 
near enough the instant the light revealed the 
animal. Sometimes the springhaas would be- 
come suspicious; then we had to follow it about 
the flat before we could get a shot. 

After the novelty wore off and we saw that 
we would easily secure all the specimens we re- 
quired, we began to study the animals more 


and to see how near we really could approach 
them. Rarely did we get so near that the whole 
outline of the animal could be seen, but once or 
twice one allowed us to walk within ten feet of 
it. There it posed like a miniature kangaroo, 
raising and dropping its head in a nervous, 
jerky manner as though puzzled by the glare. 
The dazzling light, of course, prevented the crea- 
tures from seeing us behind the lamp, and, as we 
made no more noise than possible, it was prob- 
ably just as difScult for them to tell how far 
away we were as it was for us to gauge their 
distance from us. 

It was a strange fact, that while the person 
who held the lamp could easily see the eyes of 
an animal when the light shone directly into 
them, a companion standing by his side or look- 
ing over his shoulder was usually unable to 
distinguish a thing. Finally, however, our eyes 
became so keen that when we missed a shot, we 
could often see the faint side-light glimmer from 
the eyes as the animal dashed away. 

This ''jacking" was extremely interesting 
from one point of view. We found that at night 
the diurnal life had been replaced by an entirely 
different fauna. For instance, during the day 


we did not see a single springhaas or a white- 
tailed mongoose and only one fox, but while 
"jacking," we killed several mongooses, six or 
eight foxes, and a fine series of springhaas, 
besides seeing many more of each. 

Difficult as it might seem, it was not long 
before we were able to tell the different species 
of animals by their eyes and their actions. The 
constant bobbing motion of the springhaas 
identified them at once. The foxes would peer 
at the light, then the glare was lost as they turned 
their heads and looked away, but a second later 
it appeared again. Then we would lose it en- 
tirely; but by shifting the fight from right to 
left or by advancing a few steps, we would again 
pick up the eyes shining at us from another 
quarter. The foxes were harder to approach 
and were very restless, and sometimes we were 
obliged to follow one about for half an hour 
before we could get a shot. 

We discovered springhaas and foxes living 
amicably together. Foxes are perfectly able to 
kill jumping hare and quite probably do at 
times; nevertheless we " shone" the eyes of both 
of these animals at the same time, showing that 
they must have been standing within a few 


yards, if not feet, of each other. We examined 
the stomachs of all the foxes we killed and in- 
variably found them filled to bursting point 
with the queer insects erroneously called ''flying 
ants." These insects live in holes in the ground, 
and at this time of the year, on cloudy days and 
after dark, emerge in a steady stream, so foxes 
have little diOiculty supplying their wants. 

Tin cans, pieces of tin, and pieces of glass 
shone quite as brightly as animals' eyes, and 
while they deceived us many times before we 
had had much experience, we never blundered 
to the extent of firing at them. 

Mr. Cherry Kearton, England's famous na- 
ture photographer, was working at Naivasha 
at the time of our visit. He was anxious to get 
a flash-light photograph of a springhaas and 
I told him that I thought it might be accom- 

He had an electrical, flash-light contrivance 
rigged up on a pole with wires, batteries, and 
buckles. This he strapped about the waist of 
his assistant, Jimmy Clark, who, when every- 
thing was in readiness, ignited the flash by press- 
ing a button. 

It took about half an hour to get Jimmy 


properly harnessed to the apparatus, and then 
we started out. It was agreed that I should 
carry the lamp and walk ahead and find a 
springhaas, and when we got within fifteen feet 
of it, Kearton, who was close by, should focus 
the camera on the brute, give the signal to 
Clark following behind, and he would then 
press the button, explode the flash, and the 
picture would be taken. 

We had proceeded only a few yards when I 
discovered the eyes of a springhaas about a 
hundred feet away and called Kearton's atten- 
tion to them. He made some reply that led 
me to suppose that he, too, saw them, and we 
began to stalk the animal. We had gone but 
a few feet when Kearton knelt low over his 
camera and began to focus. Puzzled at his 
action, for we were too far away for a photo- 
graph, I was about to remonstrate, when glanc- 
ing down I saw the single glare of a piece of 
tin not ten feet from the camera. Before I 
could give the warning, Kearton had signalled to 
Clark to press the button. There was a dull 
roar and a blinding flash. 

*'I have him! I have him!" shouted the ex- 
cited photographer. 


I stepped forward and turned the light full 
in the face of an innocent-looking tin can. 

In print it may not sound funny, but the elab- 
orate preparations that had been made and the 
stealth with which we stalked the supposed ani- 
mal added to the ridiculousness of the situation, 
and it was some time before we recovered our 
composure. I met Kearton in New York three 
years later and he still clung to the belief that 
it was a concocted scheme. 

Colonel Roosevelt went out with us one 
night. He was greatly handicapped by poor 
eyesight and missed several shots, but he soon 
caught on to the trick and then had better luck. 

As we groped about in the darkness, the 
colonel with the gun, Doctor Mearns with a 
gunny sack in which to put the game, and I 
with the light, the party had all the earmarks 
of a chicken-stealing outfit on a raid. When I 
called the colonel's attention to our appearance 
he laughed heartily and replied that he hoped 
no reporters would see him and add another 
crime to the already long list of which they have 
accused him. 

Doctor Mearns and I were hunting one mid- 
night along the base of a series of rocky hills 


about three miles from Naivasha. We were 
after foxes and anything else but springhaas, 
for we had long since collected a sufficient num- 
ber of them. 

Now and then the light would fall upon some 
small ground-dwelling bird that allowed us to 
approach almost within arm's length before it 
flew, and several times we nearly caught one 
in our hands. 

Sometimes we would walk suddenly upon a 
mouse or a rat which stopped and blinked at the 
light and then scampered into a hole or into 
a cluster of bushes. 

Again, a tuft of grass, a hummock, a stone, 
or a bit of wood, discovered at such a distance 
that for the minute we could not tell whether 
it was an animal or not, caused us to approach 
cautiously in anxious expectation of adding 
another species to our already large collection. 
Far back in the hills, fully a mile away, came 
the deep guttural moan of a Hon. Possibly he 
had just made a ''kill" and was voicing his sat- 
isfaction at the prospect of a full stomach; we 
hoped so at least, for then we were in Uttle 
danger from that particular Hon. 

From right to left and back again the light 


searched the open, brushy, and rock-strewn 
country, trying to discover some specimen of 

The lamp had just finished a half -circle to the 
left and I had started to swing it back, when a 
faint glimmer caught my eye. I held the lamp 
steadily and looked again. Two fire balls, much 
wider apart and quite different from anything 
we had ever seen, stared at us. 

"What's that.?" I asked. 

"Go on," replied the doctor. 

Cautiously and silently we approached. Larger 
and larger grew the lights. My heart began to 
bump against my ribs. , Now we were within 
shooting distance. 

"Let him have it!" whispered the doctor. 

"No," I said, "It's neither a springhaas nor 
a fox; it's too large, it must be a lion." 

"Give it to him, anyway," he replied. 

"Not on your life! I'm not going to tackle a 
lion in the dead of night with nothing but a shot- 
gun and two loads of number four shot," I 

"All right, then! Give me the gun, I'll shoot 
him," said the doctor. 

Just at that moment the lights flared up, and 


I then saw that our Hon's eyes were nothing 
more than the dying embers of a Kikuyu native 

Probably the blacks were clustered about five 
or ten deep and at that moment were sleeping 
the sleep of the just, oblivious of wild animals 
or wild white men. Had I fired, I should un- 
doubtedly have peppered a dozen or more of 
them. It was a fortunate thing that I dis- 
covered the mistake in time, for it costs some- 
thing to shoot a native in Africa. One must not 
only pay for those he wounds but all the near 
relatives of a man he may kill expect payment. 

After we returned to the hotel, we began to 
figure. Based on the damage paid for such 
suits, we came to the conclusion that that shot 
would have cost each of us at least two dollars 
and thirty cents. 



TO fully appreciate the danger of lion- 
hunting, a person should visit the little 
cemetery at Nairobi, British East Africa, 
with some one who can show him the graves of 
those unfortunate hunters who have been killed 
by these mammoth cats. Gruesome though 
such an experience may be, it serves as an ob- 
ject-lesson to the green hunter who has just 
arrived in the country, and proves to him the 
need of being cautious, cool, and accurate in his 

I feel safe in saying that inexperienced sports- 
men do not at first realise the great danger of 
lion-hunting. They take it for granted that 
one or two well-placed bullets from a modern 
high-power rifle are sufficient to stop the charge 
of any so-called dangerous animal. Such is often 
the case; but again several balls in vital spots 
will fail to kill a lion before it has succeeded in 
killing the hunter. 



It is too often true that sportsmen who are 
killed or are mortally wounded by lions have 
placed their lives in jeopardy by following 
wounded animals into thickets or into tall 
grass, where the meeting is almost certain to be 
at close range and unexpected. And yet many 
an experienced lion-hunter has been mauled when 
the conditions were such that an '* accident" — 
as the English call a mauling — seemed impossi- 

Some African tribes of natives do not hesitate 
to attack lions with spears, even though they 
know that usually it will result in the death or 
serious injury of one or more of their party. 

We were camped in the Sotik country, on 
the North N'Guasso Nyero River, where lions 
were abundant. One afternoon a young En- 
glishman named Chapman, who was travelling 
through the country selling and trading sheep 
with the Masai tribe, camped near by. We 
spent a pleasant evening together, and during 
the course of our conversation he mentioned 
that he had never shot a lion, but was anxious 
for an opportunity. He showed us an anti- 
quated single-shot rifle and asked if we thought 
it powerful enough to do the work. We ex- 


pressed a doubt. The following morning he 
broke camp and moved over to a Masai village, 
some twenty miles away. 

About supper time two days later I stepped 
to the tent door and, gazing across the veldt 
opposite camp, saw a man leading a mule on 
which was perched a very wabbly object resem- 
bling a native. As they drew near I discovered 
that it was Chapman's tent boy leading the ani- 
mal, and that the wabbly object was a porter. 

They slowly plodded into camp, and the tent 
boy handed Doctor Mearns, our physician and 
surgeon, a note from Chapman. The doctor 
opened the letter and began reading, while the 
injured man, his arms and legs bandaged in 
pieces of cloth, was helped from the mule and 
immediately sank to the ground. 

The note told us that Chapman had attacked 
a troop of lions in a thick brush and wounded 
two of them, one of which had charged the 
party and mauled the porter. The poor fellow 
was badly injured. Both of his legs and arms 
were bitten and scratched, and his thumb was 
crushed. Doctor Mearns washed out and steril- 
ised the wounds, then wrapped them in clean 
bandages, and we made the man as comfortable 


as we could. The tent boy was then sent back 
to Chapman's camp with the mule. 

At breakfast time the next morning, who 
should appear but the same boy, this time riding 
the mule. He carried another note from his 
master saying that after the fight, the Masai 
had attacked the lions and that two of the men 
were badly mauled. He wanted the doctor to 
come over as soon as possible and treat them. 

The doctor left immediately and returned 
late that evening, and this is the story he told: 

"Chapman had camped near a Masai 'kraal,' 
and, after selling the villagers a few sheep, he 
asked them if they knew where there were any 
lions. They took him to a thicket that even- 
tually proved to be the lair of a troop of lions. 
It was then late in the evening, so the English- 
man decided to postpone his attack until the 
following day. 

"Soon after daylight Chapman returned with 
his boys and a Masai spearman, and, sneaking 
up to the thicket he saw two half -grown cubs 
playing at the skirting. He opened fire and 
wounded them, but they bolted out of sight 
into the brush before they could be despatched. 
He circled the brush patch several times, but 


did not find them, so he determined to send in 
the boys to drive them out — a dangerous under- 

"Reluctantly the blacks entered the lair and 
began shouting and beating the brush with 
sticks. Chapman, on the outside, a few rods in 
advance, waited for the lions to appear. Half 
of the thicket had been driven over when a 
beater found one of the lions, dead, and it was 
dragged into the open. This discovery some- 
what encouraged the men, and they returned to 
the brush more willingly. 

"There still remained about one hundred 
yards of the thicket to be driven, yet so far 
only two lions had been seen. Chapman was 
beginning to think that the ones he had seen 
the evening before must have escaped during 
the night. Suddenly a large lioness stepped 
from cover and calmly stood gazing at the 
Englishman. As he raised his rifle and took 
aim, two more lions appeared some distance 
farther on. Chapman fired, and when the bul- 
let struck the lioness she gave a deep, hoarse 
growl and, wheeling about, charged him. The 
distance between them was so short that he 
did not have time to reload. The infuriated 


beast was almost upon him when one of the 
porters in the edge of the brush jumped from 
cover directly in the path of the charging brute. 

"The poor fellow discovered his mistake too 
late, for, as he turned to run back, the lioness 
reared, and, burying its teeth in the man's 
shoulder, bore him to the earth. The man and 
the cat tumbled about on the ground while 
Chapman worked frantically to reload his rifle. 

''At that moment the Masai spearman 
bounded up to the struggling pair. Crouching 
behind his rhinoceros-hide shield, he poised his 
spear in the air and drove the steel shaft into 
the lion's body. Growling savagely, the lion 
dropped its victim and turned upon the Masai. 
Chapman had reloaded by this time, and he 
managed to shoot the animal through the 
shoulder before it had a chance to maul the 

"Chapman's narrow escape convinced him 
that he had better not attack any more lions 
with his single-shot rifle, so, after attending to 
his wounded porter, he started back to camp. 
He had gone only a short distance when he 
met a party of Masai warriors who had been 
attracted by the shooting. They were heavily 


armed with their tribal weapon — spears. After 
they heard what had taken place they wanted 
Chapman to return with them and kill the other 
lions, but he refused to go. 

"The Masai were insistent. They said that 
they would go whether he accompanied them 
or not, so finally he gave his rifle to one of his 
boys and sent him back with the natives while 
he continued on with the wounded porter. 

"On arriving at the lair the warriors took 
positions on the outside of the thicket and sent 
several men inside to drive out the lions. In a 
few minutes the shouts of the beaters told that 
a lion had been started, but the animal kept 
closely under cover so there was no opportu- 
nity to spear it. The beaters had worked along 
to the end of the thicket, when suddenly a large, 
black-maned lion rushed from the thicket within 
a few yards of two warriors. Both men hurled 
their spears at the animal. One of them missed 
his mark, but the spear from the other struck 
the lion in the flank and it turned and bounded 
back to cover. 

"The lion could be heard snarling, growling, 
and thrashing about in the brush in an effort 
to extract the spear from its side. From the 


swaying of the bushes the Masai saw that the 
animal was working its way into a dense part 
of the thicket, so they thought it best to leave 
it in hope that it would soon die from its wounds. 

"The beaters worked around behind the 
wounded lion, as they supposed, and again com- 
menced to beat the brush for other lions. They 
had not given the spearmen time to properly 
distribute themselves since the last encounter, 
however. Only one man had reached the far 
side of the thicket when a deep, guttural growl 
was heard. The next instant the wounded lion 
bolted out of the brush close to the solitary 
spearman and, catching sight of him, threw 
up its tail and charged. 

'*The Masai, crouching behind his shield, his 
spear poised in the air, waited until the brute 
was almost upon him, then with a gentle flirt 
of his wrist he sent the keen-bladed weapon 
into the lion's shoulder and out on the opposite 
side, fully eighteen inches. The Hon struck the 
uplifted shield and, reaching over it, seized the 
man by the shoulder and the two sank to the 

"Had the other spearmen been present to 
follow up the attack, the man's life might have 


been saved. As it was, after he had once thrown 
his weapon he was helpless, for these people 
carry only one spear, relying upon their kins- 
men for help when needed. 

''A sixteen-year-old boy who chanced to be 
tending cattle near by had been watching the 
hunt and was only a few rods away when the 
lion attacked the Masai. Seeing the plight his 
comrade was in, he rushed to his assistance and, 
with only a '' knob-stick "* for a weapon, began 
beating the great cat on the head. Three blows 
were sufficient to make the shaggy-maned crea- 
ture leave the man he was mauling and spring 
upon the brave little herder. Only a few mo- 
ments elapsed before a score of spearmen arrived 
and riddled the animal with spears, but the poor 
little fellow had been mortally wounded." 

Doctor Mearns made three trips from our 
camp to the village in an effort to save the 
lives of those two natives, but both of them died 
of blood-poisoning. When the news reached 
us that they were dead, the doctor said: "Lo- 
ring, during my career as an army surgeon I 
saw and heard of a great many cases of bravery, 
but never have I known a boy so young to vol- 

*A three-foot stick with a knob the size of a baseball at one end. 


untarily enter a conflict which he must have 
known meant certain death. It seems a pity- 
that such an act of bravery should pass without 
some recognition from a civiHsed people." 



THE chief difference between the croco- 
dile and the aUigator hes in the head, 
the snout of the latter usually being 
much longer and narrower than that of the 
former. While there are no alligators in Africa, 
there are both crocodiles and alligators in the 
United States. 

As we left Lake Albert and entered the Nile 
we found crocodiles in considerable numbers. 
As the steam-launch Kenia glided down-stream, 
crocodiles slid from the bank into the water. 
Frequently, while passing a narrow bay or round- 
ing a sharp bend, we surprised one or more 
at close range, and they swished their tails in 
the air and scrambled into the river. 

At ''Rhino Camp" they were very common, 
and our party killed several during our three 
weeks' stay. Colonel Roosevelt shot one from 
which we took forty-eight eggs and Kermit 
killed another that contained fifty-two eggs. 



On a high bank of the Nile, about fifteen feet 
from the papyrus, I discovered a crocodile's 
nest with thirty-eight eggs and in the bushes 
near by were the shells of several more eggs that 
had been stolen and eaten by monitor lizards. 

These nests were depressions in the ground. 
The eggs, placed in layers, were so arranged as 
to leave no doubt that the crocodile used her 
forefeet in placing and covering them with the 
earth and rubbish in which they were always 

Several times I surprised a "croc" lying out 
on the bank about a mile from one of our camps, 
but it was so watchful that it managed to elude 
me. One afternoon I crept stealthily to the 
edge of the bank and, looking over, saw it bask- 
ing in the sun with its jaws wide open — a 
favourite attitude. As usual, it slid into the 
water before I could aim and fire. I knew that 
it would return soon, so I took a short hunt 
and then came back. There it was again, 
hauled out on the bank much farther than 
usual, the tall grass concealing quite half of 
its body. A brain shot, or one through the 
spine, is the only sure medicine for a crocodile, 
so, as its head was hidden, I was compelled to 


aim at the middle of its back. At the sound 
of the rifle it threw its head high in the air and 
wriggled about so that my second shot missed 
the brain and struck the jaw. The first shot 
had severed its vertebra, however, and it soon 
died. That night the body was carried away 
by some animal. 

A few days later another croc slid off the 
bank, not far from the same place, but foolishly 
rose to the surface a few yards away, giving me 
time to shoot it through the brain with a ball 
from my 32-40 Mounds ville three-barrel gun. 
Turning on its side it sank at once and was not 
seen again. 

Another wily old fellow lived in a channel 
between the bank of the river and a papyrus 
island fifty feet away. Time and again it man- 
aged to escape me by scurrying into the water 
before I could fire. The first time that we met 
I came upon it so unexpectedly that it almost 
turned a back somersault off the bank, as it 
wheeled and plunged into the channel. After 
that it would lie in the water, close to shore, 
with only its eyes and tip of its nose above the 

How many times that old villain escaped I 


am ashamed to say, but one morning I crept up 
behind a huge tree and, peeping through some 
bushes, saw its eyes and nose. Through an 
opening I carefully aimed and took off the top 
of its skull. It sank instantly, and, as the water 
was shallow, I tried to persuade my gun bearer 
to wade in after it. He was afraid of being 
nabbed by another croc, however, so it was left 
to me to get the animal out. Armed with a long 
pole, I waded into the shallow and fished about 
until I found the body, while the gun bearer 
stood on shore with my cocked rifle in case 
another croc appeared. Finally, I managed to 
drag the croc close enough for us to catch it 
by the tail and haul it to the bank. It was a 
small one, only nine feet long; in fact, of the 
four crocs that I killed none was larger. 

When we commenced to skin it the thing 
thrashed and kicked as though it were alive, but 
of course no animal whose brains had been 
floating down the Nile for the past fifteen min- 
utes could still be ahve. Nevertheless, it was 
the Kveliest dead thing I ever attempted to take 
the bark from. My gun bearer straddled and 
tried to hold it, but it wrenched its tail about 
and threw him several feet. Finally I managed, 


after a half-hour's fight, to sHce off the few 
pieces of skin I wanted. 

While we were going down the Nile, on the 
way to Nimule, my tent boy spied a crocodile 
on the bank about fifty yards away. We had 
passed before I saw it, and by the time I could 
get my rifle it was hidden by a patch of grass. 
Taking a quick aim into the tussock, I pulled 
the trigger and had the satisfaction of seeing 
the croc's jaws fly open and come together with 
a snap, and as it did not leave the shore we knew 
that he was hard hit. 

To many people this may not sound commend- 
able, but I am sure that my action will be in- 
dorsed by every one who has visited the upper 
Nile country and knows the true habits of these 
reptiles. Crocodiles deserve no more sympathy 
or protection than do tuberculosis or cancer 
germs, for they are nothing more than a gigan- 
tic parasite. Annually hundreds of natives are 
carried off by these loathsome creatures, and, 
knowing them as I do, I must confess that a 
sort of fiendish glee overcame me whenever I 
killed one. That our entire party shared much 
the same opinion is proven by the fact that of 
all the animals we killed during our eleven 


months in the country, the crocodile was the 
only one whose body or skin was not put to 
some useful purpose. 

While lions also prey on the natives, their 
mode of attack and their entire life is so differ- 
ent from that of a crocodile that their crimes 
do not seem as repulsive. A lion will not hesi- 
tate to risk its life in a fight for food and, in a 
way, will give its victim a chance to protect 
itself, but a croc shows no quarter; it drowns 
its prey without endangering itself, and then 
leaves the body in a hole, or on a ledge under 
water, to be devoured at leisure. Instead of 
enjoying life in an active, intelligent manner, as 
most animals do, its only ambition is to bask in 
the sun until hunger compels it to commit an- 
other crime. Of what use is such a creature 
either to itself or to the world at large, and why 
did nature place such an animal on earth? 

In the stomach of a crocodile killed by Kermit 
Roosevelt were found the claws of a cheetah, 
the hoofs of an impala, the bones of an eland, 
and the shell plates of a river-turtle. Not 
only do crocodiles slay wild animals, but they 
prey extensively upon sheep, goats, donkeys, 
horses, dogs, and cattle. Once a camel that had 


gone to water to drink was grabbed by the nose 
by a croc and hauled under the surface. There 
is even an authentic record of a full-grown rhinoc- 
eros being caught by the leg and dragged into 
deep water and drowned, and the witness took 
several photographs of the beast as it was 
gradually pulled farther and farther toward its 

When a crocodile discovers where the natives 
gather at a watering-place, it lurks near by, com- 
ing to the top only when compelled to breathe. 
It may float on the surface, several rods away, 
until a native approaches to fill a water-jar. 
Instantly it dives, and, swimming under water, 
is not seen again until it has grabbed him by 
the legs, or the hand, and dragged him in. Per- 
chance it will first strike its victim with its tail, 
knock him off the bank, and then seize him; at all 
events the result is the same. 

Women and children are the chief victims, 
because upon them rests the duty of providing 
the household with water. 

A Httle girl was given a gourd water-bottle 
and sent to the river to fill it, but she never 
returned. Through friends, with whom she 
stopped to play en route, she was traced to the 


watering-place, where the half-filled gourd was 
found at the water's edge. 

As our boats drew up to the landing at Nimule 
I noticed women dipping up water with gourd 
shells fastened to the ends of long poles, and 
learned that such caution was necessary because 
of the danger from crocodiles. Only a few days 
before a woman had been seized and carried away 
by a croc, and we were told that these animals 
were particularly dangerous at this place. 

A few years ago — and this is only one of 
many similar instances — a boy seated on the 
gunwale of a Soudan boat was dangling his feet 
over the side. Suddenly a croc threw itself 
out of the water, and, snatching the lad by the 
legs, dragged him in. A native sailor saw the 
tragedy and plunged in after the boy but was 
unable to save him. 

Two Boganda lads about ten years old were 
fishing in a little estuary of the White Nile near 
Nimule. Tiring of their unsuccessful efforts, 
boy -like, they romped up and down the shore. 
They were chasing each other close to the 
water's edge when a croc's tail whipped around 
and knocked one of them into the water. His 
spunky companion grabbed him by the leg; 


at the same instant the croc caught the boy's 
arm. A few minutes' struggle and both boys 
were slowly dragged farther out into the river, 
and finally the rescuer was compelled to loose 
his hold. A throng of natives gathered and wan- 
dered along the bank seeking some clew of their 
kinsman's whereabouts. Finally, the crowd dis- 
persed without finding him, but two hours 
later several women, returning to the village 
with fire-wood and unconscious of what had 
happened, passed the spot and heard faint cries 
for help. They searched the neighbourhood, but 
the voice was weak and came so irregularly 
that they abandoned the hunt and went to the 
village for assistance. Some two hundred peo- 
ple assembled. By keeping quiet they finally 
located the cries, which apparently came from 
the bowels of the earth at the base of a big 
tree growing at the water's edge. Several 
women began digging about the roots, and in 
time the earth gave way and they discovered a 
cavity where the waves had undermined the 
bank so that when the water receded a ledge 
was left. On this ledge the boy was found. 
He was some fifty yards from the spot where 
he had first disappeared. After the crocodile 


had held him under water until it supposed him 
drowned it had carried him to the cavity and 
left him for dead, but the lad had recovered 
consciousness and was rescued before the brute 
returned to make a meal of him. 

The story is told of two natives who at- 
tempted to cross the Nile in a leaky dugout 
canoe. They had gone but a short distance 
when they saw a crocodile floating on the sur- 
face twenty rods away. It sank and came to 
the top much nearer to them; again it went 
down and this time reappeared only ten rods 
from the canoe. 

The natives are familiar with the habits of 
these reptiles, and the canoemen realised from 
its actions that it intended to attack them, so 
they bent all their efforts toward reaching shore. 
They were half-way across when the croc's head 
burst from the water close to the stern and made 
a lunge at the man in the back of the canoe. 

The blacks had been shouting for help, and the 
people who had gathered with spears and clubs 
ran along the bank shouting and gesticulating. 
Encouraged by the villagers and spurred by a 
dexterous swing of the croc's tail that just missed 
one of the men, the two paddled for shore with 


all their might. A second blow and the reptile 
struck the canoe on the side, keeled it over, and 
it slowly filled with water. When it finally set- 
tled back on an even keel only a few inches of 
the gunwale were above the surface. 

One of the men had lost his paddle and in the 
excitement he tried to paddle with his hands, 
giving the croc the very opportunity it sought, 
of which it was quick to take advantage, for it 
grabbed the man by the hand. The canoe cap- 
sized and threw out the occupants. 

In all dugout canoes there are several stays 
that are used to spread the sides and keep them 
in shape. To one of these the croc's victim 
held with his free hand, while his companion 
floundered to safety. 

A score of blacks rushed into the water, and 
while some snatched the canoe others grabbed 
the struggling man and dragged him and the 
writhing croc toward shore. As soon as the 
creature appeared above water a dozen spears 
were thrown into it, compelling it to loosen its 
grip on the man, and he was dragged to the 
bank beyond harm's way. 

The croc, badly wounded, kept floundering 
about and snapping at the spear shafts dangling 


from its body. Finally, a native succeeded in 
throwing a noosed grass rope about its head 
and they all began to haul the big reptile ashore. 
The brute fought desperately but was soon half- 
way out of the water, and the people fell upon 
it with clubs and spears and put it to death. 

The native's arm was badly lacerated to the 
shoulder- joint and was amputated by a doctor 
from one of the near-by missions. 



WHILE Colonel Roosevelt was engaged 
collecting a group of elephants on the 
opposite side of Mount Kenia Doc- 
tor Mearns and I had been instructed to ascend 
the west slope as high as possible and make a 
thorough biological survey at various altitudes. 

Boga, a Kikuyu native, had heard of our 
intention to climb the mountain, so, while we 
were camped at Neri, he presented himself and 
applied for the position of guide. He knew the 
way? Oh, yes; he had been a member of the 
Ross expedition that had ascended to the top 
of the mountain a few years before; therefore 
he had qualified as a guide. 

One might ask: "But why should you need a 
guide to show you the way to an isolated moun- 
tain of jungle, bamboo, heather, rock, and snow 
seventeen thousand two hundred feet high and 
only thirty miles distant?" So far as not being 
able to find the mountain was concerned, there 



was no need. What we wished to avoid was cut- 
ting our way through the jungle when we should 
reach the actual base of the mountain, and, as 
this man knew the trails, he could save us days 
of arduous work and vexation, so we ''took him 
on," to use an English expression. 

Three hours' march from Neri brought us 
to the end of what seemed to be a ''wood trail" 
— used by the native women wood-carriers — in 
the thick of a bit of jungle. 

"Boga," said we, "you're a great guide. 
You told us you knew the trail, and here, before 
we are scarcely out of Neri, you've lost us on a 
wood trail. We don't believe you have ever 
been up Mount Kenia." 

Boga's ingratiating smile spread from ear to 
ear. ''Bwana (master), indeed I have been al- 
most to the very top of the mountain, but you 
see, Bwana, I went up from the opposite side. I 
know nothing of the trails on this side," he 

How like a native! Either through cunning- 
ness or stupidness — it might have been either; 
it might have been both — he had trapped us 
into hiring him. 

Among our hundred Kikuyu porters, who had 


lived under the very shadow of the mountain 
all their lives, there must be some one who knew 
the right trail. But no; the snow-capped peak, 
glistening in the sun, did not appeal to these 
half-naked fellows. They were working for us 
because their chiefs, in making the treaty with 
the government, had agreed to furnish the 
white men with porters when called upon, and 
they were anxious for some excuse to turn back, 
so none volunteered to act as guide. 

"Very well," we said, *'we are going up 
Mount Kenia, trail or no trail, so if you would 
prefer to cut your way through the jungle or 
stumble along with your heavy packs it makes 
no difference to us," and we started on again. 

Then it was that a porter suddenly remem- 
bered that he knew the general direction — if 
we crossed the gully beneath us we would soon 
come out on a veldt and by skirting it for a 
few miles we might strike the right trail. The 
rascals! They knew the way well enough but 
hoped to turn us back by declaring their inabil- 
ity to act as guides. 

We put the new guide at the head of the pro- 
cession and in half an hour were out in the 
open country once more. In the distance was a 


Masai kraal (village) and we decided to get a 
man there who could put us right again. 

This fellow — a rather old man who carried a 
spear — proved to be worse than the first guide, 
for, after proceeding about five miles, he called 
a halt just as we were about to enter another 
dense jungle. He said that he was not sure 
of the direction and wanted time to look for 
the trail, so we seated ourselves in the shade of 
the forest and awaited developments. 

He kept us there for half an hour and then 
returned with the discouraging news that he 
could not find the trail. Once more he started 
ofip in another direction, and that was the last 
that we ever saw of him, for he deserted us slick 
and clean. 

That the trail was to the north seemed rea- 
sonable, so, with my gun bearer running by my 
side, I put spurs to my horse and started off 
to do a little scouting on my own account. 

A mile and a half I rode over veldt, through 
brush clumps, and then into the jungle, where, 
for the most part, I followed elephant and rhino 

Finally, I came to a stream about fifty feet 
wide. Had it been early in the morning, before 


the snow on the mountain top had commenced 
to melt, I should have had no difficulty in ford- 
ing it, but the sun had been beating down on 
the drifts for hours, and the stream was con- 
verted into a raging torrent that undermined 
great boulders and sent them bumping over 
the rocky bottom to find new resting-places far 

I worked my way along the bank, looking for 
a chance to cross, and finally came to a place 
where the creek widened and the water was 
shallow. Although the current ran swiftly, it 
seemed to be the only near-by spot to ford and, 
as we had already lost much valuable time, I 
decided to make the attempt. 

At the foot of the riffle the stream narrowed, 
and there appeared to be an abrupt drop 
in the river bed, for the water suddenly broke 
into a succession of angry billows, three feet 
high, that extended down the main channel, 
like the waves that follow in the wake of a 
large steamer. 

Taking my rifle from my gun bearer and lay- 
ing it across the saddle in front of me, I told 
him to wait there until I should return and 
then rode into the stream. 


In addition to my hunting-coat with large 
inside pockets, I wore hobnailed shoes, spurs, 
and a belt filled with cartridges, from which 
dangled my hunting-knife. 

Lazarus, my hunting pony — so named be- 
cause of his lack of flesh and general ansemic ap- 
pearance — stepped fearlessly into the stream. 
He was perfectly at home in the water and a 
good swimmer; at least that was what I was 
told when I purchased him. 

The creek became deeper and deeper with 
every step, and by the time I was in the middle 
the water was dashing wildly against my ani- 
mal's legs. I had reached the most dangerous 
spot when my gun bearer shouted. The roar- 
ing of the torrent drowned his words, so I turned 
to look back. 

At that instant Lazarus must have stepped 
on and slipped from a large boulder, for sud- 
denly he stumbled and fell upon his knees. He 
fought bravely for a few seconds to regain his 
footing, but the tumultuous water was more 
than a match for him. He slipped, slid, and 
floundered about, deluging me with water. 

Nearer and nearer we bumped along toward 
the end of the riffle and the rolling billows below 


it. On the brink of the drop the faithful beast 
made a frantic effort to save himself and did 
manage to gain a footing for a few seconds; so 
I turned his head up-stream.' It was too late, 
however, for the instant that he raised his foot 
the impact of the water against his chest swept 
him from his feet, and we were carried into 
deep water. 

I shall never forget the feeling that passed 
over me as the ice-cold water crept up my 
legs and slowly reached my thighs. I could not 
withhold a gasp, and then suddenly the current 
whisked the horse about and bore him into the 
riotous waves. 

The spray dashed into the horse's face, terri- 
fying and bewildering him. He pawed the 
water with his forefeet and refused to swim. 
Each time we headed toward shore, he received 
the full force of the swells on the flank. He 
rolled like a round-bottom boat, while I clung 
to the saddle horn and swayed from side to side 
in an effort to balance him, and also to prevent 
being pitched oflf. 

Two hundred yards below, in a sharp bend of 
the stream, a mass of logs, limbs, and tree tops 
had lodged, and the spray was boiling over this 


drift pile with terrific force. I instantly real- 
ised that if the horse should be carried against 
it we would both be drawn under by the suc- 
tion of the water. 

Lazarus was hopelessly unseaworthy, that 
was plain; so there was no alternative but to 
desert him to his fate and try to save myself. 
With all my strength I hurled my rifle toward 
shore and saw it fall within a few feet of the 
bank. Then I kicked my left foot from the 
stirrup and tried to do likewise with the right 
one, but it caught in some manner, and, struggle 
as hard as I could, it would not free. 

I imagined myself thrown from the horse and 
dangling head down in the water, with my foot 
fast to the saddle. This vision brought me to 
my senses; it was no time to think, but to act. 

Jerking my hunting-knife from its sheath, I 
reached down, cut the stirrup strap that held 
me prisoner to the horse, gave several vigor- 
ous kicks, and finally the stirrup slid off my 

Then it was that I must have lost my head. 
Of course, I had no time to replace the knife in 
its sheath, but, instead of tossing it ashore and 
hunting it up afterward, as I might well have 


done, I dropped it into the stream. Although 
one cannot think of all these little details at 
such a time, I always feel chagrined when I 
recall the act. 

Once free, I rolled off Lazarus' s back into the 
ice-cold water, that less than an hour before had 
probably formed part of a glacier or a snow- 
bank high up on Mount Kenia. I had scarcely 
left the animal when he rolled completely over, 
and one of his feet hit me as I drifted away. 

The left shore toward which I had floated, 
was a perpendicular bank five feet high, and the 
water that washed its sides was deep and run- 
ning swiftly. 

The instant that I faced the current the spa- 
cious pockets of my hunting-coat filled with 
water and acted as a drag, so I turned and 
tried to swim down-stream and toward the op- 
posite side. The swift current carried me to- 
ward the cut bank, however, and my coat floated 
about my head and shoulders, retarding me 
worse than before, so once more I wheeled 
about and stemmed the stream. 

It was useless and wearing on my strength 
to attempt to swim against the current; so I 
devoted my energy to simply staying on the sur- 


face, for the cut bank here ofiFered no chance for 
a grip or a footing. 

Each time that I sank into the trough of the 
billows all view was hidden; then, as I rose upon 
a crest, I saw my gun bearer running along the 
bank. Finally I passed out of the billows into 
the choppy waves, which splashed into my face 
and choked me. 

The heavy shoes and belt of cartridges seemed 
to be doing their best to drag me down to a 
watery grave. Trees and bushes shot past like 
a moving panorama. 

By this time the distance to the drift pile 
had been reduced to a hundred yards, and as I 
gazed toward it I saw, hanging over the water, 
the top of a small tree from the roots of which 
the water had washed the earth, causing it to 
lean. This seemed my only hope. 

By great exertion I swam to a point where 
the rapid current would carry me within its 
reach. Down, down, down, nearer and nearer 
to death or salvation I drifted. 

As I drew near the limb I tried to swim with 
the stream, but once more the coat flopped 
about my arms and I was able to work my 
hands just enough to keep afloat. Finally, 


only twenty feet separated me from the branch, 
then fifteen, ten, five, and with all my strength 
I threw myself out of the water and frantically 
seized the limb. 

It yielded until it could bear no more and, 
as the current whipped my body about and my 
pockets again filled with water, there was a 
sudden jerk — the strain was too great on my 
numbed fingers and the limb slipped from my 

A feeling of despair swept over me as I looked 
down at the spray, dashing over that pile of 
logs and rubbish, and the swerving whirlpool 
ready to suck me under. 

Then suddenly I saw the end of a Hmb pro- 
truding above the water about five feet from the 
jam. The current swayed it from side to side 
and I knew that it must be insecure, but it was 
my last chance. 

On nearing it I stemmed the current and 
began to swim with all my fast-waning strength, 
hoping thus partly to check my progress and 
ease the shock to my arms and to the limb 
when I should grab it. 

Just as I was about to shoot past I seized it 
in both hands and clung for dear life. The 


limb was attached to a submerged log, one end 
of which was lodged in the drift pile and the 
other rested diagonally against the bank. 

It bent almost double from the awful strain, 
but I managed to keep my grip. At that mo- 
ment my body was drawn under until my head 
was so low in the water that the spray splashed 
into my face. I felt a bar of some sort resting 
across my back — I had been partly drawn under 
the edge of the drift pile. 

Feeling about, I finally found a resting-place 
on a log for my feet, and by pushing, and pulling 
at the same time with my hands, I wriggled my 
body from side to side and managed to work 
my head above the water. 

A mass of roots protruded from the bank 
almost within arm's reach. Again bracing my 
feet against the log that had pinned me down, 
I gave a vigorous push, threw myself toward 
shore, and snatched the roots. 

Under ordinary circumstances it would have 
been easy to scramble out, but in my ex- 
hausted condition, and with at least a bucket 
and a half of water in my hunting-coat pockets, 
I could scarcely drag myself from the stream. 

At last, however, I managed to work my way 


to the top of the bank and, leaning over, allowed 
the water to drain from my coat; then labori- 
ously crawled over the edge and up on the 

When I looked about I saw my gun bearer 
holding Lazarus by the bridle. As soon as I 
had left him he had commenced swimming, 
and after floating down-stream some distance 
he struck a bar and waded back to the bank 
from which he had started. 

Undressing, I rubbed my numbed body and 
ran up and down the shore until my blood 
was again circulating freely. Then donning my 
clothes once more — oh, they did feel so cold 
and clung so tightly! — I walked along the bank, 
found a suitable place to cross, and, plunging in, 
swam over to the horse and man awaiting me. 

The safari was awaiting my return, so after I 
had related my experience we went into camp 
for the night in a small opening in the jungle. 

Early the following morning the head man 
started out in quest of the trail, which eventu- 
ally he found three miles to the east. While he 
was away I went back to recover my rifle. 

The stream was now a mere rivulet, and, after 
locating the spot where the rifle should be, I 


waded about in my stocking feet until I located 
it and then went back to camp. After I had 
given the gun a thorough overhauling and oiling 
we continued our journey up the mountain. 



CONSIDERING the length of time that 
Central Africa has been "opened up" 
to white men, together with the wonder- 
fully large native population that has always 
lived there, it is really astonishing that the 
hippopotamus has not more rapidly decreased 
in number. Of the three great African pachy- 
derms — the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the 
hippopotamus — the latter is, perhaps, the least 
suspicious of danger, is not hard to kill, and, 
being restricted to water, is easily found. 

Seldom is the "hippo" — as it is generally 
called by big-game hunters — found far from 
water during the daytime. As soon as it be- 
comes alarmed, or is wounded on land, it makes 
for water and seeks protection in the dense 
undergrowth in the shallows, or by diving and 
remaining under until forced to come to the sur- 
face to breathe. Even then the white hunter 
can follow along the bank or from a boat can 


" HIPPOS " 153 

fire when the animal's head appears; while the 
method of the natives is to chase it in one or 
more canoes and with spears literally torture 
it to death. 

While more numerous in large waterways, 
the hippo also inhabits small watercourses and 
even small pools, and during the dry season is 
forced to seek the deep, isolated pools that occur 
in the semi-dry river beds, where it falls an easy 
prey to the blacks. 

The female hippo produces but one or two 
young at a time, and probably does not breed 
more than once in two years, if, in fact, as often 
as that. As all of the large lakes and water- 
ways have been traversed by explorers and 
sportsmen for many years, one might naturally 
conclude, after what has been said, that the 
hippo would have been exterminated long ago. 

The natural habitat of the hippo is the low- 
land lakes and rivers and the deep, narrow 
streams bordered with dense aquatic vegeta- 
tion that extends some distance into the water. 
Here it is that the hippo spends the day, hidden 
in the weeds and papyrus, or floating leisurely 
on the surface, or basking on the bank. Some- 
times you will see him floating with only the 


top of his back and head above the surface. 
Again you find him with several of his com- 
panions huddled together on a bar, or on an 
island in midstream, or hauled out on shore 
where he can plunge into the water at the 
slightest sign of danger. As you watch him 
lying there, apparently asleep, save for the sud- 
den and violent spasmodic convulsion of his 
thick skin as he rids himself of insect pests, 
you might easily conclude that he is entirely 
oflf his guard. Try to approach him in a boat 
and, although you will be able to get within 
rifle-range, you find that he is evidently sleep- 
ing with one eye open, for suddenly, without the 
slightest hesitation, he jumps to his feet and 
into the water, followed by his companions. 
Sinking out of sight, he swims so deep that not 
even a ripple is left, but the rising bubbles from 
expelled air mark his course and give you an 
idea of his whereabouts. If you wait a few 
minutes — usually not more than two if you 
have not fired and badly frightened him — ^you 
will see only his eyes and nostrils and hear a 
loud, puffing sound as he appears, some fifty or 
seventy-five yards away, to take a fresh breath 
of air. If he sees you he remains in sight only 

" HIPPOS " 155 

long enough to fill his lungs and then sinks, but 
if you have hidden yourself, he may stay in 
sight for a minute or more before disappearing. 

We were introduced to hippos at McMillan's 
ranch, where, one evening, we walked through 
the garden to the banks of the Athi River, at 
this point not more than thirty-five feet wide 
but having numerous enlargements of still, deep 
water where hippos lived. At intervals along 
the bank well-worn hippo paths led from the 
river bank inland for several rods and then 
dwindled out where the animals had diverged 
to feed. Throughout the undergrowth directly 
bordering the stream, for a distance of fifty 
yards from shore, was a network of hippo trails. 

It was at McMillan's ranch, not many years 
ago, that the gardener, one moonlight evening, 
was awakened in his little grass shack at the 
border of the garden. He stepped to the door 
and discovered a hippo feeding upon the veg- 
etables he had so carefully cultivated and 
guarded. An argument immediately took place 
but was abruptly terminated by the hippo biting 
off the man's head with a single snap of its jaws. 
Now they have another gardener at McMillan's. 

The gardens of villagers living near waters 


inhabited by hippos suffer greatly from the 
depredations of these animals, chiefly at night 
when they break through the brush fences and 
feed on corn, sugar-cane, and garden-truck. It 
is then that the hippo is dangerous and is most 
likely to resent being disturbed. 

While rowing silently along one of these small 
East African rivers a hunter will be startled by 
a sudden rushing sound on the bank only a few 
yards away, or possibly directly opposite him, 
and the next instant a hippo pitches down a 
steep, well-worn trail and plunges into the river, 
sending the waves splashing against the side of 
the craft and perhaps nearly capsizing it. 

Again, if you keep a sharp lookout as you 
round a bend you may catch a glimpse of a 
hippo's head disappearing, and as you pass the 
spot you will see the rank grass moving and 
hear the rustle of the weeds as the animal seeks 

Lake Naivasha was the second place where 
we encountered these great animals. After two 
days' march from the N'Guasso Nyero River 
we went into camp close to the lake. While 
the porters were putting up the tents, I walked 
down to the shore. Peeping through an open- 

"HIPPOS" 157 

ing in the papyrus, I saw two hippos floating 
leisurely on the surface about two hundred 
yards away. Every few seconds one of them 
would open his great jaws and bring them to- 
gether with a snap as he munched the succu- 
lent lily-pads and stems. 

The brush about the lake was very thick and 
in some spots extended inland several hundred 
yards. All through this growth were wide, well- 
worn trails. Where the brush was so thick that 
a person could not penetrate, the hippos had 
forced their way, leaving a deep foot-path only, 
and the branches had swung back into position 
overhead so that to follow them one had to crawl 
on hands and knees. 

Near camp we found the bleached bones of a 
half-grown hippo that had been killed by a 
settler because, either for fun or in fits of ugli- 
ness, it had persisted in chasing his cattle when- 
ever they came down to the lake to drink. 

At Lake Naivasha Colonel Roosevelt collected 
most of the hippos that will some time comprise 
the group in the National Museum at Wash- 
ington. He went hunting several times before 
I finally saw Cuninghame and three of the por- 
ters in a boat towing a large hippo ashore. The 


colonel and Kermit had run into a herd of 
hippos and had wounded one of them, which 
charged through the water. For a few seconds 
it appeared as though the animal would reach 
the boat and dump the occupants into the lake, 
but the colonel's shots, fired into the brute's 
open mouth, finally killed it and the rest of the 
herd made off. 

Frequently boats are upset or crushed be- 
tween the jaws of a hippo, and the hunters are 
drowned or seriously injured. There is, how- 
ever, more danger from a hippo in the water 
than from one on land, for when surprised on 
land, in daylight, their chief thought seems to 
be to get back to water as soon as possible. 

After we left Lake Albert and entered the 
White Nile we found hippos far more abundant 
than in any other section of Africa we had 
visited. During the two days' run down the 
river to "Rhino Camp," and again after we left 
the camp and were on the way down to Nimule, 
we saw anywhere from a dozen to fifty hippos 
every day. 

They were found in ones, twos, and threes, 
and sometimes as many as a dozen to fifteen 
were seen at a time. Usually they were float- 

"HIPPOS" 159 

ing on the surface with only part of their backs 
and their heads visible, but often we saw them 
standing in the shallow water, huddled together 
on a bar or on an island, or lying in groups on 
the bank sunning themselves. 

Whenever we came suddenly upon them they 
would scurry into deep water and sink out of 
sight, but when there was a long stretch of 
water and they were iSioating they could see 
the boats in the distance and would raise their 
great heads to get a better view. As we drew 
near they disappeared, coming to the surface 
once more some distance away. 

Sometimes they would go down and come up 
just as we were passing, not twenty feet away. 
On seeing the boats their surprise was so great 
that they often threw their bodies quite out of 
water, and, falling back with a mighty splash 
that sent huge waves washing against the craft, 
disappeared, and were next seen several hundred 
yards in the rear. 

There is no doubt that we could have killed 
twenty-five or thirty hippos on the way from 
Lake Albert to ''Rhino Camp " and three 
times as many during our two weeks' stay in 
camp. The colonel and Kermit had killed all 


that were wanted for specimens, however, so 
they were not molested. 

x\t "Rhino Camp" we heard them snorting 
and bellowing at all times of the day and night, 
but mostly after dark. The bellowing sounded 
first like the noise produced by the exhaust of a 
huge ocean liner and then ended with a cow- 
like "moo." 

In a little estuary of the Nile that was bor- 
dered on the far side by a wide, dense growth 
of papyrus, not seventy-five yards from camp, 
there lived an old cow hippo. Nearly every 
afternoon about five o'clock, she left the cover 
and swam about in the open water, within easy 
sight and hearing of the group of men and por- 
ters who were watching. One evening the colonel 
saw a young one standing on her back, just as 
they were depicted in our old school-books. 

One night I was awakened by two hippos 
that were fighting just across the bay. I arose 
and, walking to the tent opening, stood and 
listened. The two monsters were bellowing 
fiercely and floundering about in the thick weeds 
and shallow water. Every few seconds I heard 
a great splash as though they had reared up 
and fallen back into the water. The conflict 

" HIPPOS " 161 

lasted about three minutes, then all was silent 
for some time; but finally I heard a hippo bel- 
low several rods down the river, and then came 
the answering bellow of the victorious animal 
in the papyrus opposite camp. 

It is not at all unusual to find hippos with 
their heads and bodies badly scarred from 
wounds received while fighting. 

Kermit and I tried to get some flash-hght 

photographs of hippos, but we were new at 

this kind of photography, and as we did not 

have the time to experiment much we failed. 

One afternoon while we were at work setting up 

the camera, arranging the flash and the cord 

that it was intended the hippo should run 

against, when he came out on the bank at night 

to feed— thereby opening the shutter, setting 

off the flash, and taking his own picture — five 

hippos appeared in the river opposite us, not 

more than fifty feet away. They would poke 

their heads out of water, puff, wiggle their 

short, pink ears, and after a minute draw in a 

long breath, close their nostrils, and then sink. 

They remained in the vicinity for fully half an 

hour, coming to the surface at intervals of 

about two minutes and then sinking again. 


We had our rifles ready in case one should 
charge; they did not attempt to molest us, how- 
e^^er, but simply seemed inquisitive. We were 
unable to tell whether they fed on the vegeta- 
tion at the bottom of the river, for they never 
appeared with food in their mouths, although 
they could easily have swallowed it before com- 
ing to the surface. 

During the early settlement of Africa, when 
the mail was distributed along the Nile by 
canoes, these animals were so abundant, and 
so many of them were truculent, that the mail- 
carriers were provided with large, water-tight 
rubber bags in which the mail-sacks were tied. 
These in turn were fastened to wooden floats by 
long lengths of stout cord, so that when a canoe 
was capsized by a hippo, the sacks could be easily 
located and recovered without much difficulty. 

An ugly old bull hippo which lived not far from 
"Rhino Camp" was a terror to the natives. 
It would lie in the edge of the papyrus and 
charge out at passing boats. It had upset sev- 
eral canoes and drowned one or more natives, 
so the blacks appealed to the colonel to kill it, 
but it wisely kept out of sight during our visit 
in the vicinity. 

" HIPPOS " 163 

While rowing or paddling on the rivers and 
lakes of Africa I was many times very close 
to hippos, but always escaped being attacked. 
Just why these animals, which are considered the 
least dangerous of the three great African mam- 
mals, should attack a craft is somewhat puzzling. 
While a few of them, no doubt, do charge with 
malice aforethought, even without first being 
molested, from all accounts it would seem that 
the greater number do so for sport, or lack of 

It is seldom that a hippo actually demolishes 
a boat or kills its occupants. The few that do 
charge simply bump into a craft and knock a 
hole in it with their snout, or rise beneath it and 
turn it over, and then go on about their business, 
if it can be said that a hippo has any business. 

A few days before our arrival at Butiaba, on 
Lake Albert, a hippo had attacked a small 
steel boat and driven its tusks through the bot- 
tom, sinking it at once. 

Captain Hutchinson, of the Uganda Marine, 
told me of an experience he had with a hippo 
while hunting on Lake Albert. He had just 
left the landing in a small wooden rowboat 
and did not expect to see any hippos for some 


time. Suddenly a hippo rose from the water 
close astern, and, throwing its body into the air, 
it fell on the boat, capsizing and sinking the 
shell with its weight. The occupants were all 
dumped into the lake, but as soon as the boat 
reappeared they swam to it and finally managed 
to reach the near-by shore. The hippo did not 
return to the attack, however, and no damage 
was done other than the battering in of the 
stern of the craft. The danger arising from a 
hippo capsizing a boat is not so much from the 
hippo itself as it is from the chance of one of 
the unfortunate crew being picked up by a 
crocodile. Many casualties of this kind have 

While out hunting crocodiles with the colonel 
and Kermit near "Rhino Camp," one afternoon, 
we suddenly cut across a little bay that was 
completely hidden by the tall, thick papyrus, 
and, as the boatmen allowed the boat to drift 
with the current, the herd of five hippos that 
was basking in tne sun at the far end of the 
bay did not hear or see us until we were within 
fifty feet of them. The surprise was mutual, 
for, while the bay was not unknown to us and 
we had expected to see crocodiles in it, we did 

" HIPPOS " 165 

not count on the hippos; but there they were, 
hippos and crocs, cuddled up together in peace 
and comfort. 

Such a scrambhng and splashing as the 
crowd made when we came into view deiBes 
description. The crocs were out of sight in an 
instant, but the bulky hippos almost reached 
the boat before the water became deep enough 
to submerge them. 

Thinking if we pulled in alongside the papy- 
rus and waited, some of the crocodiles might 
come to the surface in a few minutes and give 
us a shot, we ran the prow of the boat into the 
weeds and watched. Three minutes must have 
passed when, suddenly, the head of a hippo 
appeared, not fifteen feet from our boat. He 
gave one look and, throwing himself out of the 
water, fell back and sank, and the next time he 
came to the surface he was a hundred yards out 
in the Nile. The animal must have been one 
of the herd which, on seeing the boat block- 
ing the entrance when we first appeared, had 
rushed into the deep water and, fearing to dive 
under our craft, had remained there in hope 
that we would pass on, as no doubt he had before 
seen hundreds of boats do. 


On several occasions I saw hippos disappear 
and later come up in the same place. 

Where large beds of papyrus grew on com- 
paratively solid ground hippos had made wide, 
well-worn paths all through it, and all along 
the river bank, in some places at intervals 
of every fifty yards or so, hippo trails emerged 
from the water and led inland, where the ani- 
mals had come out at night to feed on the 
vegetation. Of course, these trails were used 
also by other animals that came to drink, but 
that hippos travelled them extensively was 
proven by our finding hippo tracks two and 
three miles from water. 

By being used generation after generation, 
hippos had worn not trails but trenches ten feet 
deep through the perpendicular clay-banks to 
the water level. The sides of these trenches, 
about three feet apart, were smooth and pol- 
ished, caused by the animals' wet sides rubbing 
against them. The only way such runs could 
have been made was by constant use for years 
while the Nile was rising and falling, until they 
were finally worn level with the low-water mark. 

While the hippo spends most of the day 
snoozing in the papyrus, floating on the surface 

"HIPPOS" 167 

of the water, or basking in the sun along the 
bank, as soon as it becomes dark he takes to 
the land to feed on grass and other vegetation. 
In his meanderings along the bottom of the 
river and as he comes to the surface amid dense 
growths of aquatic plants he often becomes 
tangled in them, and some of the leaves, stems, 
and roots stick to his body. After he has been 
on shore a short time his body dries and the 
leaves and blades fall or are scraped off by the 
bushes; so one will find water-plants strewn 
wherever hippos have been wandering. 

One would think that such a clumsy, short- 
legged animal would not be able to move very 
fast on land, and, in fact, they seldom do move 
fast when not molested; but if they are fright- 
ened they attain remarkable speed. 

One night my tent boy awakened me and 
said that a hippo was prowhng around back of 
the porters' tents. The men had had no meat 
for some time. Thinking that this would be a 
good opportunity to supply them, without run- 
ning a risk of losing the animal by its sinking, 
as hippos do when shot in the water, I snatched 
up my rifle and with Doctor Mearns started 
after the brute. It was a moonlight night, and 


we could see plainly for some distance; so, 
clad in our pyjamas, we scoured the burned- 
grass plain looking for the game, but did not 
find it. 

As before stated, the African natives are able 
to kill hippos with spears. They also destroy 
them with poisoned spears, and then patrol the 
shore for days, waiting for the animal to die 
and float to the surface, which it does from an 
hour to three hours after death. 

Captain Hutchinson tells of seeing the natives 
of the Lake Albert region kill a hippo with 
spears. They first attacked the animal in open 
water, and it made into the papyrus and hid. 
Finally it was driven out, whereupon it charged 
a canoe and seized one of the natives by the 
head. Other canoes were in reach, and before 
it had time to decapitate the man so many 
spears were driven into its body that it opened 
its jaws and attacked another boat but was 
killed before it could do more damage. Strange 
as it may seem, the man escaped with no more 
than a badly disfigured face but probably would 
have died had he not received medical attention 
from a British army surgeon. 

Killing hippos in this manner is considered 

" HIPPOS " 169 

so dangerous that not many of the blacks are 
wiUing to take the risk, which, no doubt, is one 
of the reasons why hippos are still so abundant 
in thickly populated native districts. 



FROM the reader's standpoint a book on 
African travel or African animals might 
seem incomplete without a chapter on 
snakes, yet, after reading these few lines, if you 
feel disappointed, please do not blame me. I 
have tried my best to make an interesting chap- 
ter of a subject that to most people is "repul- 
sively fascinating," but I may have failed for 
lack of material. 

Snakes there are in Africa — ^big, little, poison- 
ous, and non-poisonous — but not nearly so many 
as is generally supposed. One may be able to 
gain some idea of their abundance when I say 
that our- safari never numbered less than a hun- 
dred porters and once reached three hundred 
and sixty -five, and that, while every one of these 
men was a collector of reptiles, our collection of 
snakes at the end of eleven months did not 
exceed a hundred specimens. In short, snakes 



were not so common as in the southeastern part 
of the United States. 

The general interest in snakes is shown by 
the great number of questions asked me, and I 
might say the first one invariably is: "Did 
you see many snakes?" Most people are pos- 
sessed with a desire to learn something of this 
group of truly wonderful animals, which in the 
next breath they characterise as loathsome, 
uncanny, and repulsive. This feeling is born 
in man, civilised and uncivilised. Our porters 
feared them and used as much caution in killing 
a harmless species as they did when attacking a 
poisonous one. They never brought us a snake 
without exhibiting a certain amount of childish 
heroism, and when a group of boys was seen 
bringing in a snake one always knew that it was 
dead, very much dead, and that its head, if it 
had one, was pounded to a pulp. 

In The Journal of the East African and Uganda 
Natural History Society, Mr. C. W. Hobley 
states that there are forty-one species of snakes 
in British East Africa, of which ten are poison- 
ous. There are several species of cobras that 
eject a poisonous fluid at an enemy. When this 
fluid gets into one's eyes it has no worse effect 


than to render him partially blind for a few 
hours. In speaking of these snakes Colonel 
Roosevelt says: 

"One of the latter three times 'spat' or 
ejected its poison at us, the poison coming from 
the fangs like white films or threads to a dis- 
tance of several feet." 

Personally, I saw about a dozen snakes, and 
none of these was poisonous. Doctor Mearns, 
while hunting one day, stepped over a large 
puff-adder lying in the tall grass, and his gun 
bearer was about to follow his example when 
the snake was discovered and killed. It was a 
very thick-set, stubby beast, with a bulldog-look- 
ing head and had enormous fangs. At Gondokoro 
one of our porters, while arranging his blankets, 
was struck on the hand by what he supposed to 
be a small adder. The doctor attended him at 
once, so he suffered no severe results, being able 
to go about his business the next day. 

Our party killed several pythons from ten 
to thirteen feet long — not much of a snake when 
compared to the pythons of India, which attain 
a length Httle short of thirty feet. Like all of 
these big snakes, they are not poisonous but 
kill their prey by coiling about and crushing or 


strangling it to death. In zoological parks I 
have repeatedly seen a python kill an animal 
by first seizing it in its mouth and, instead of 
actually coiling about it, catch it in a bend or 
angle of the body and crush it to death. An 
Indian python about twenty-six feet long, in the 
New York Zoological Park, lately devoured a pig 
that weighed sixty pounds. There is httle doubt 
that an African python twelve feet long might 
swallow an animal weighing twenty pounds. 

We usually found these big snakes near water, 
where they were seen lying out on the rocks or 
on the bank sunning themselves. Aside from 
startling a person when he first sees or almost 
steps on one, they are harmless creatures, and 
when disturbed bolt for water and sink from 
sight. Their food consists of small antelopes, 
hares, monkeys, small mammals, and game- 
birds such as guinea-fowls, spur-fowls, bustards, 
and francolins. 

Colonel Roosevelt had an amusing and inter- 
esting experience with the first python he killed. 
He and Judd were hunting along the bank of a 
river when one of the gun bearers discovered a 
python coiled under a tree. The colonel fired 
and hit it through the back; the snake struck at 


him with its open jaws and then came gUding 
toward him. He stepped aside, and the snake 
passed over the spot where he had been stand- 
ing. A second shot killed it. The colonel does 
not believe the python really meant to charge 
him but is of the opinion that it was bewildered 
and in trying to escape did not realise in what 
direction it was making. It was twelve feet 

In connection with the above remarks, it 
might be well to chronicle the only and what 
seemed to be authentic record that came to our 
attention of an African python attacking a per- 
son. Two small native lads were sent by their 
master to the banks of a stream to cut grass 
for stock. A few hours later they appeared, 
staggering under the weight of the much-man- 
gled body of a twelve-foot python. They said 
that while one of them was on his knees cutting 
grass in the underbrush he was suddenly seized 
from behind by a python. The boy called to 
his companion for aid, and the two finally man- 
aged to kill the snake with their sickles before 
it had seriously wounded them. The lad who 
had been attacked exhibited a lacerated but- 
tock where the snake had bitten him. 


Undoubtedly the python saw only a part of 
the boy's body in the grass and, being hungry 
and mistaking the lad for a quadruped, seized 
him on general food principles, not discovering 
the mistake until too late. 

A porter ran into camp one day with the news 
that a large python was lying out on some 
rocks by the side of a stream, not far away. I 
snatched my shotgun and followed the boy. On 
arriving at the place I found a snake, about 
ten feet long, sunning himself on some rocks 
on the opposite side of the river. There was 
no ford nearer than two miles, so I contented 
myself by giving the reptile a charge of buck- 
shot from where I stood. The snake threw its 
body high in the air, whipped about, and 
plunged into the water. Three days later it 
was found dead floating on the surface. 

On another occasion, while "driving," I had 
an experience that, for a second, sent a cold chill 
over my body. Since I have mentioned "driv- 
ing," may I ask the reader's indulgence long 
enough to explain this most interesting and 
exciting method of hunting, although it is en- 
tirely foreign to the subject of reptiles. 

The greater part of British East Africa is 


plain and desert country. Here and there are 
clusters and strips of bushes, while along the 
streams, pools, swamps, and dry watercourses 
are thick growths of underbrush and trees, 
spoken of as ''dongas." During daytime all of 
the nocturnal animals — lions, leopards, hyenas, 
jackals, and many species of antelopes as well as 
myriads of small creatures — take to these thick- 
ets to rest and sleep, and for protection from 
the sun. 

Selecting a "donga," the hunter stations his 
porters at intervals of ten feet across one end 
of the thicket. At a given signal they start 
toward the other end, shouting, thrashing the 
brush with sticks, and throwing stones and clubs 
as they advance. The hunter, on the outskirt, 
walks along a hundred yards or so ahead of 
the beaters and shoots the game as it is driven 
from cover. 

Anything from a lion to a hare is apt to burst 
into view without a second's warning. Guinea- 
fowls, spur-fowls, and other species of game- 
birds rise above the brush and seek shelter 
farther on. The true big-game hunter always 
carries his heavy rifle and orders his men to pay 
no attention to birds or small mammals; but we 


were naturalists, and our porters had learned 
that we wanted nearly everything, so they made 
almost as much noise when they saw a dikdik 
or a hare as they would had it been a lion. 
Once there was an unusual outcry just as I was 
in the act of shooting at a guinea-fowl. The 
gun bearer snatched the Ithaca shotgun from 
my hands and replaced it with the cocked rifle, 
and I heard some great brute tearing through 
the brush. The next instant a leopard bounded 
past, but the openings were few and small; so 
I did not get a shot. 

Kermit Roosevelt, however, killed several 
leopards in this manner, one of which charged a 
porter and bit and scratched him severely before 
it was finally killed. 

These brush patches teemed with animal life, 
so from the time that a drive began until the 
porters had passed out into the open country 
at the other end it was one continual round of 
excitement. You never knew what kind of an 
animal to expect next, and, no matter what ap- 
peared, you usually had the wrong gun. 

The porters also bagged their share of game, 
for, while they were never allowed to carry guns, 
they were experts at throwing clubs, and there 


was never a drive made that they did not cut 
down several guinea-fowls, spur-fowls, small 
antelopes, or hares. Once I sent out a gang of 
ten porters to find a secretary-bird that I had 
winged with my rifle, and after chasing it some 
distance had seen enter a "donga" a mile away. 
They not only returned with the secretary-bird, 
but with three hares, two spur-fowls, and a 
guinea-fowl, all of which they had knocked down 
with sticks as the game tried to escape. 

But to return to snakes. We were driving 
a small ''donga" bordering a stream in the 
N'Guasso Nyero country and were having fine 
luck. First three mongooses came out, but 
they were so far away that my shots only 
turned them back into the thicket. Next a 
dikdik appeared, then a steinbuck, and a few 
seconds later a flock of spur-fowls. I fired at 
and wounded one of them, and it settled in the 
brush under the ten-foot cut bank of the stream. 
Hoping that the bird would again flush, I sent 
my gun bearer down to drive it out. I was 
walking through the tall grass on top of the 
bank, when, on glancing down, I saw four feet 
of python, another step and I would have 
trodden on it. I leaped over it and at the 


same instant shouted: ''Snake!" The python 
fairly bounded over the bank and into the 
water, almost colliding with the gun bearer, who 
the next instant came rushing up to me, his 
eyes bulging from their sockets. How long the 
snake was I cannot truthfully say, but, as I saw 
four feet of it and my gun bearer six, I figured 
that it was either forty-six or sixty -four feet 

It developed later that I had made a "double 
shot" when I fired at the spur-fowl, for one 
of the porters had strayed ahead of the line of 
beaters and had been struck in the arm by one 
of the spent shot. After the drive was over he 
sought me for an explanation, at the same time 
exhibiting the shot which he had picked out of 
the skin. I told my tent boy to tell him that 
if he had obeyed orders and kept in line he 
would not have been shot. Although it was a 
slight wound, I gave him thirty-three cents — a 
rupee — and he went away quite jubilant. 

Another interesting reptile that we found 
very common in certain sections of Africa was 
the horned or ''rhinoceros" chameleon. This 
creg-ture is about eight inches long and has three 
horns, an inch in length, protruding from the 


top of its head. Its eyes work on the ball-and- 
socket plan and roll about in a most comical 
fashion. The eyes are independent of each 
other and the animal can look in two direc- 
tions at once without turning its head; it simply 
holds one eye stationary and rolls the other for- 
ward, backward, up, or down to suit its wishes. 

Next to its eyes, its tongue is the most won- 
derful part of its anatomy, being quite the length 
of its body. In feeding it perches motionless 
on a limb and waits for its prey to come within 
reach. Should a fly or an insect light out of 
range, it slowly and deliberately walks hand 
over hand out on the limb, takes steady aim, and 
with a lightning-like thrust its long tongue 
darts from its mouth, and the fly is glued to the 
gummy, club-shaped end and drawn into its 

As one travels along a trail where the bushes 
overlap, his head frequently comes in contact 
with these queer creatures clinging to the 
branches by their feet and their prehensile tails. 
There they sit rolling their eyes about in oppo- 
site directions in a most uncanny manner as 
they survey the various members of the party. 

Dangerous as the rhinoceros chameleon looks, 


it is perfectly harmless and so listless that it 
does not attempt to escape or even move when 
discovered. Strange to say, the blacks had not 
learned this and held them in great fear. As 
soon as they discovered the nature of our work 
they began to bring us specimens, and in a 
short time there was a throng of people waiting 
outside of the tent to be paid for the creatures 
they had captured. Every one was anxious to 
dispose of his prize as soon as possible, so that 
he might hurry away for another; but they 
brought in the specimens faster than we could 
handle them, consequently the "congestion." 
Whenever a new arrival appeared with a cha- 
meleon, he caused a stampede by shouting a 
warning and then thrust into the crowd the 
branch to which the animal was clinging. The 
throng immediately gave way, at the same time 
fiercely upbraiding the man for so ruthlessly 
endangering their lives, as they supposed. 

As the natives had no idea why we wished 
these animals, they thought that we must be 
crazy, and the head man said they had told him 
they thought we were collecting them to make 
medicine of, and as soon as we left the country 
there would be no more sleeping sickness. 


In the Lado Enclave country there Hves a 
lizard-Uke animal known as a monitor. These 
lizards sometimes attain a length of four feet. 
They are perfectly harmless so far as being 
poisonous is concerned. Although one might 
give a person a bad bite if he attempted to pick 
it up ; at the slightest sign of danger they scurry 
into the bushes or into the water, near which 
they are usually found. They live in holes in 
the ground and feed upon rats, mice, snakes, 
other lizards, birds, and crocodile's eggs. 

While digging a pit for garbage our porters 
unearthed what we took to be a monitor's nest, 
some three feet under ground. It contained 
several leathery-skinned, dirty white eggs. 

One afternoon I surprised a monitor looting a 
crocodile's nest. The nest was on a high, sandy 
bank close to the Nile, and the eggs had been 
covered with dirt and rubbish by the old croco- 
dile. On seeing me the monitor scurried over 
the bank and into the river. I hid in some 
brush near by and waited for the creature to 
return. Within fifteen minutes I heard it 
crawling out of the water and over the dry dead 
rushes, and then it poked its head above the 
steep bank and looked about. At first it acted 


as if suspicious, but finally it gained confidence 
and came boldly forward. 

Crawling to the crocodile's nest, it picked up 
an egg in its mouth and retreated to a clump 
of bushes. I watched it take several eggs, and 
each time it returned to the bushes, crushed 
the egg between its jaws, then dropped it, and 
lapped up the contents with its long forked 

Finally I frightened it away, and, taking some 
of the eggs from the nest, I arranged them in an 
open spot near by, set up my camera, and to 
the shutter attached a long string which ran to 
a tree where I hid. In this manner I succeeded 
in securing two excellent photographs of the 
monitor with eggs in its mouth, probably the 
only ones of the kind ever secured, although it 
had been generally believed for years that moni- 
tors ate crocodile's eggs. 

This creature must be one of the crocodile's 
worst enemies, for I found several nests that had 
been robbed in this way, and Kermit Roosevelt 
also discovered a monitor robbing a croc's nest 
while the owner lay asleep only a few yards off. 



BACK in the early days/' my friend 
Bancroft began, "the mail that supplied 
the garrisons in Central Africa was 
brought by flat-bottom steamers up the Nile 
from Khartoum to Gondokoro. From there 
carriers transported it overland to Nimule, a 
distance of one hundred and sixty miles. At 
Nimule I received it and distributed it to the 
army and trading posts along the White Nile 
and in the region of Lake Albert. I always 
made the trip by canoe. 

"One spring morning I left Nimule with the 
usual consignment of mail-sacks and began the 
three-hundred-mile journey up the White Nile. 
My water caravan consisted of two large native 
dugout canoes, made each from a single log 
and manned by four stalwart Baganda blacks. 

"On both sides of the river for almost the 
entire distance there were great areas of papy- 
rus from fifteen feet to a mile wide. For miles 



the dark-green tasselled stalks, ten feet tall, 
swayed in the breeze like a gigantic field of 


"Hippopotami were abundant and were 
known frequently to upset native canoes. To 
guard against losing the mail by such accidents, 
the government suppUed me with water-tight 
rubber bags. The sacks were placed in these 
bags and there was a wooden float with seventy- 
five feet of stout cord attached to each bag. 
Thus we could easily recover the sacks in case 
of a mishap. 

"As we paddled slowly against the rapid cur- 
rent of the muddy river, noisy fish-eagles with 
white heads and tails circled overhead or settled 
in the trees, sometimes not more than thirty 
feet away. Myriads of cormorants and snake- 
birds, perched in clusters along the banks, 
stretched out their wings as if taking a sun-bath; 
as we drew near they took flight or plunged 
into the water. Occasionally we saw a troop 
of baboons running along a high, stony bank, 
playing with one another. 

"Now and then we came upon a herd of 
hippos. Some were floating leisurely on the sur- 
face, others were huddled close together on a 


bar or small island or lying asleep in the edge 
of the papyrus. As we approached they lifted 
their heads to gaze at us and then slowly took 
to the water. In a few minutes they usually 
appeared again some distance away. We paid 
little attention to them unless we thought that 
a hippo was coming to the surface close to one 
of the boats. Then I would take the rifle and 
stand guard until the danger was over. 

"One day was quite like another. To break 
the monotony and to furnish a little excitement 
for the men, I occasionally took a shot at a 
crocodile on the bank. We would then stop 
long enough for the boys to wrench out the 
teeth, which they either made into necklaces or 
traded for food with the natives whose villages 
we passed. 

"They were an interesting people, those jolly, 
black-skinned villagers. As soon as we came in 
sight of a town the inhabitants rushed from their 
huts and followed along the bank, laughing and 
joking with my men, and trying to persuade us to 
land and barter. The women and children who 
tended wickerwork fish-traps presented us with 
specimens of their catch and were greatly pleased 
with the trifling gifts we gave them in return. 


"We had passed a village and were skimming 
along close to the papyrus, when suddenly the 
canoe shot across the mouth of a small estuary 
that the high papyrus growth had completely 
hidden. The other craft was following close 
behind, and the two boats were in a position 
to blockade the mouth of the little bay, when I 
heard a terrific splashing of water. I turned 
instantly and saw that we had surprised a 
herd of about ten hippos in the edge of the 

"Our sudden appearance had startled them, 
and so strong was their instinct to seek refuge 
in deep water that with one accord the entire 
herd tumbled ofif the bank and came splashing 
down upon us. 

"I snatched my rifle and turned to fire. 
There was no time to aim carefully for the 
brutes were less than thirty feet away. So, 
hoping that the noise and flash might split the 
herd and cause the hippos to pass round us, I 
simply pointed the weapon at the head of a 
large bull and pulled the trigger. 

"The struggling creatures did not swerve 
from their course. When, however, they had 
come so close that I could almost have touched 


them with a paddle, they reached deeper water 
and, sinking quickly, disappeared. The next 
thing I knew, the canoe was lifted high into the 
air, and we were dumped into the water. 

''I struck on my back, and at the same 
moment something hit me a terrific blow that 
drove me beneath the surface. There I was 
bumped and jostled about for what seemed an 
age. When at last I came to the surface, I 
saw that both the canoes were bottom side up 
and that the men were floundering in the river. 
A long, black arm shot out of the water in front 
of me. I seized it with my left hand and swam 
with the half-drowned boatman to the canoe, 
where I supported him until he stopped choking 
and coughing. 

"Two men were clinging to the mail-sack 
buoys and shouting for dear life. Another 
fellow, hanging to the second canoe, was hold- 
ing up a companion who had been stunned by 
a glancing blow on the head when the canoe 
fell back into the water. No one was seriously 

"The natives in the village, attracted by the 
rifle-shot and the shouts, could see our predic- 
ament from the high bank. Some came to our 




assistance in canoes; others ran along the bank 
and added to the fright of my already terrified 
boys by telling them that the place swarmed 
with crocodiles. However true that may have 
been, there was little danger from them now, 
for the herd of floundering hippos must have 
scared every crocodile away from that part of 
the Nile. 

"In a few minutes we were hauled into 
canoes, and then, after recovering the mail- 
sacks, we towed our canoes down to the village 
and emptied them of water. 

"Presently I saw numbers of natives emerg- 
ing from their huts with long-bladed barbed 
spears, and learned that they were going in 
pursuit of the hippo I had wounded. One of 
them had seen it enter a marshy strip of papy- 
rus on the opposite side of the river. I tried 
to persuade them that it would be foolhardy to 
attempt such a thing without a rifle, and told 
them that my rifle was at the bottom of the 
river where the canoes had capsized. They 
replied that they had often killed hippos with 
spears and would show me how it was done. 

"About a dozen canoes were launched. Each 
one was manned by four paddlers, and by a 


spearman who took a position in the bow. 
In the bottom of each canoe was a bundle of 
spears. To the shaft of one of the weapons 
was tied about forty feet of rawhide rope; the 
other end of the rope was fastened to a large 
chunk of wood. 

"With about two hundred of the villagers I 
went to the high bank overlooking the scene. 
The canoes divided and lined up about fifty 
feet apart on each side of the spot where the 
hippo had entered the papyrus. One canoe 
landed some distance away and several men 
started on a circuit to get behind the animal. 
We could hear them thrashing about in the 
reeds, but it was fully fifteen minutes before 
they found the hippo and, by shouting, started 
him toward the river. 

"As soon as the beaters gave the alarm 
the spearmen stood up in the bows of the ca- 
noes, each with a spear poised above his head, 
and waited breathlessly for the brute to show 

"The crashing of the papyrus and the swaying 
of the tasselled tops announced his coming; the 
next second he broke from cover. Before he 
could plunge into the river several of the barbed 


spears were hurled into his body. Then, as 
the men in the canoes hurriedly tossed the 
wooden floats overboard, he disappeared be- 
neath the surface. For a moment the floats 
bobbed up and down; then, with a jerk that 
pulled some of them under water, they started 

"At first the hippo swam, or ran along the 
bottom of the river so fast that the canoemen 
could hardly keep up with him. He was so far 
below the surface that he did not make a rip- 
ple, and had it not been for the floats there 
would have been no way of telling the crea- 
ture's whereabouts. 

"Some of the canoes followed close behind; 
others hurried ahead of the buoys and kept 
about twenty feet on either side of the spot 
where the hippo would soon come to the sur- 
face. Since enough of the buoyed spears had 
been attached to the animal to mark his posi- 
tion, the spearmen now armed themselves with 
free lances; in the bow of each craft stood a 
stalwart fellow ready to plunge a weapon into 
the hippo the instant he appeared. 

"At that point the river was about three hun- 
dred yards wide. For some distance the animal 


headed straight across; then the floats suddenly 
turned to the right, down-stream. The canoe- 
men quickly changed their course. Those on 
the right side paddled vigorously for fear that 
the beast was charging or that he might come 
up under the canoes and capsize them. 

"Just then his head appeared above water; 
but when he saw the canoes he dived before 
any one had time to throw a spear, and again 
the floats moved down-stream at a rapid rate. 

"The second time that the hippo rose, two 
of the spearmen hit him, and as the spears 
sank into the flesh the great brute threw him- 
self into the air and fell back with a mighty 

"The natives were now worked up to the 
highest pitch of excitement. There seemed to 
be no leader; every one was shouting orders, 
and each canoe went wherever the fancy of its 
crew took it. Whenever the hippo made a 
sudden turn the paddlers would skilfully wheel 
their craft and race off in another direction. 
As a result, there were frequent collisions and 
narrow escapes from upsetting. 

"Each time the hippo appeared they sent 
home several more spears. He fast became 


exhausted; the time that he remained under 
water and the distance that he travelled became 
shorter with each successive dive. It seemed 
strange that he endured the torture so long with- 
out attacking the canoes. 

"'Suddenly, while the boats were huddled 
close together, the floats stopped. To the ex- 
perienced hunters that must have been a signal 
of approaching danger, for, as if by magic, 
silence reigned, and some of the men began to 
back frantically. 

"Again the spears were poised in the air and 
again the great head burst from the water in 
front of the fleet. But this time, instead of 
diving, the animal hurled itself at one of the 
canoes. The beast's blunt muzzle struck the 
craft amidships and tossed it into the air. It 
landed squarely across a canoe near by, and both 
were swamped. 

"The other canoes raced to the rescue of the 
ten men struggling in the water. The air was 
filled with spears, but they seemed to have no 
more effect on the animal than so many pin- 

"In the din caused by the shouting of the men, 
the bellowing of the infuriated beast, and the 


splashing of the water, the hippo's head would 
suddenly appear among the canoes. I heard 
the crunching of wood as canoe after canoe was 
crushed to pieces in the vice-like jaws. Men 
were falling or jumping into the river to escape 
the maddened monster. The sun, striking the 
polished blades of the spears, shot flashes of 
dazzling light across the water. 

"I could not help admiring the wounded 
brute which was fighting so courageously 
against such tremendous odds. Its body so 
bristled with swaying spears that it had the 
appearance of a gigantic porcupine. 

"In the confusion, things happened fast and 
furiously. All at once I discovered that the 
hippo had disappeared; the blacks, paddling 
back and forth and scanning the water eagerly, 
were searching for their missing comrades. 
How many were drowned or killed I do not 
know. Several of the canoes had been smashed 
into kindling-wood, and most of the men who 
had occupied them had been taken into the 
other boats with the wounded. 

"I noticed that the natives who had watched 
the fight were leaving me and running along 
the bank. Then I saw the floats some distance 


below; they were moving slowly, merely drift- 
ing along. Occasionally they would stop for 
an instant and then start again, as if the object 
to which they were attached was bumping over 
the river bed. 

"The canoemen finally left the wreckage and, 
paddling down-stream, caught the buoys and 
began to tow the dead hippo ashore. As soon 
as the body reached shallow water the natives 
waded in and pulled out the spears so that they 
should not be bent or broken; then they fast- 
ened ropes to the body and hauled it out on 
the bank, where the task of cutting up the meat 

"With my boys I went back to the scene of 
our first encounter with the hippos and, by div- 
ing, recovered my rifle and some of the cooking 
utensils. After purchasing from the natives 
enough food to last us until we reached the next 
army post, we continued our journey with the 



NO matter how fastidious a man may be 
before he becomes a "field natural- 
ist," after he has kicked about the 
country a few years, cooking his own meals 
over a camp-fire and eating those served to 
him by all classes, creeds, and nationalties, he 
discovers that his stomach is really not so crit- 
ical as he had once supposed it to be. Fresh 
air, hard work, and plenty of outdoor exercise 
give him an appetite that dulls his epicurean 
sense and causes him to forget polished china- 
ware, clean linen, good seasoning, and delicate 
dishes. He may not relish improperly cooked 
food, or meat the antiquity of which cannot 
be questioned, still he finds himself eating it 
with a relish that a few years before he would 
have thought impossible. Such common cir- 
cumstances as a caterpillar, a yellow-jacket, or 
a horse-fly dropping suddenly into his soup, in- 
stead of causing him to leave the meal in dis- 



gust only disconcert him during the process of 
their extraction. 

As time goes on and he becomes more fa- 
miUar with the hfe histories of the animals, he 
discovers also that many of the beasts of the 
fields and forests are far cleaner in their tastes 
than our domesticated animals. For instance, 
*'What Doesn't a Chicken Eat.^" would be a far 
more appropriate subject for a church debating 
society to argue after a chicken supper than be- 
fore, and the same can be said of swine. But 
should I send out an invitation to a banquet 
and head the menu with a stew composed of 
what are generally termed ''rats and mice," 
how many covers could I count'on.^ While rats 
and mice are hardly proper to serve to one's 
friends, so long as we eat rabbits and squirrels, 
which belong to the same order, there is no rea- 
son why we should not consider field and forest 
rats and mice edible. They feed on fruits, 
seeds, roots, grasses, vegetables, and bark, and 
are exceedingly cleaner in their habits. The 
meadow-mouse, or field-mouse, spends much of 
its time cleaning itself with its tiny front feet, 
and its living-rooms are as clean and sanitary as 
they are in any house or hotel. This is not 


only true of the meadow-mouse, but also of 
most rodents that live in a fixed abode. 

Our highest camp in British East Africa was 
on Mount Kenia, at an altitude of thirteen thou- 
sand seven hundred feet. Here Doctor Mearns 
and I remained four days, Colonel Roosevelt, 
in the meantime, having passed around to the 
opposite side of the mountain to collect a group 
of elephants for the Smithsonian Institution. 
We were above the heavy timber and even 
beyond the bamboo belt, but there were a few 
patches of stunted heather here and there. 
Although the equator crossed the mountain 
peak a mile or so to the east, the nights were so 
cold that half an inch of ice formed on buckets 
of water standing outside the tent. 

We had plenty of tinned food, but fresh meat 
was scarce, which naturally increased our desire 
for it. One or two small antelopes were seen 
about the rocky ridges, but we failed to shoot 
any. Our work consisted in collecting birds and 
small mammals, and we found the latter well 
represented by numerous species of rodents — 
rats and mice. 

The mountain hyrax — an animal somewhat 
resembling a guinea-pig but the size of a wood- 


chuck or ground-hog — was common in the cHffs 
and rocks, and they helped to supply our larder. 
From the time the camp-fire was kindled until 
we left the locality four days later, the body of 
every insectivorous and seed-eating bird, every 
hyrax and every rat and mouse that we skinned, 
was cleaned and thrown into a pot of boiling 

At the expiration of a day the contents of 
that pot had grown to wonderful, not to say 
questionable, proportions, but diminished with 
equal rapidity as each onslaught was made upon 
it. Our stay was so limited and the locaUty 
so valuable, from a naturalist's standpoint, that 
we wasted no time waiting for meals. We ate 
when we were hungry, regardless of each other's 
society, and the last man to leave camp piled 
faggots on the fire and the first one to return 
rekindled it. In this manner our ''vaudeville 
stew," as we learned to call it, was ready day 
and night, and, unlike the traditional "watched 
pot," it always boiled. In consequence, our 
culinary duties were few, although, of course, it 
took five times as long to cook meat at that 
high altitude as it would in the lowlands. The 
coffee-pot always stood near the fire, so a few 


minutes only were necessary to bring it to a boil. 
Then we would fish about in the pot with a fork 
until we had captured the well-done bodies of 
several rats or mice and three or four birds — • 
varying in size from half a mouthful to three 
mouthfuls — and begin our meal. The mice 
and birds were the first to be exterminated, for 
they were tender, juicy, and sweet, and, while 
the variety of species might have caused a vari- 
ety of flavours, there was not enough difference 
to leave an impression that can now be ex- 
plained. Doctor Mearns always declared with 
emphasis, that our ''witches' pot" was the best 
eating he had on the whole trip. 

Since eating fried monkey, I have never 
been able to look a new baby square in the 
face, and it is with a feeling of dread that I 
accept an invitation from a friend to call and 
pass judgment upon the latest addition to his 

Although there was plenty of monkey meat 
to go around — in fact, there was ''some left 
over" — I didn't eat much because my stupid 
Swahili tent boy who cooked it had thought- 
lessly failed to include some sort of strong dis- 
infectant among his seasonings. 


Parrots were really delicious eating, and we 
made use of the body of every one we collected. 
I seldom shot one without half expecting to see 
a window open somewhere and hear an old maid's 
voice reproaching me for the act. 

In Uganda, while passing between Lake Vic- 
toria and Lake Albert, Colonel Roosevelt killed 
a rogue elephant that had been destroying the 
gardens, tearing down the huts, and doing other 

Our cook made soup from the trunk. It was 
thick and dark-coloured, and, while the taste was 
strong, I enjoyed it enough to ask for a second 
dish. Of course, only a small portion of the 
trunk was used and the excessive heat of Uganda 
would not permit a second meal from it after 
twenty-four hours. Not so with the blacks, how- 
ever, for the following morning I was surprised 
and amused to see one of our porters stalking 
down the trail under the broiling sun with about 
two feet of the trunk tied to his pack, the blood 
and grease oozing out of it and flowing down the 
sides of his load. 

The morning following the rogue's death, 
we went out with a number of the natives to 
view the animal. After the tusks had been 


chopped out and the trunk and feet amputated 
for trophies and food, the blacks fell upon the 
carcass with avidity. The heart is considered a 
great delicacy, so, while some were busy hacking 
oflf great chunks of meat others were cutting a 
hole through the belly of the animal, and, this 
having been accomplished, one of the men 
worked his way in until he was half submerged. 
How he managed to remain long enough to 
secure the prize without being smothered is 
more than I can explain. Finally, his comrades 
hauled him out by the feet, and his appearance 
as he emerged, dragging the animal's heart after 
him, is better left to one's imagination. 

Kermit Roosevelt once came upon a band of 
blacks who for several days had been tracking 
an elephant that they had shot and speared 
with poison-tipped weapons. The animal finally 
died, and, judging from the stench, which was 
unbearable, must have been dead some time, yet 
the natives were cutting off the meat in great 
chunks and eating it raw. 

Rhinoceros tongue and hippopotamus tail 
soup were other dishes that were served us. 
The former tasted not unlike beef's tongue; 
that is, it so closely resembled tongue of some 


sort as to be instantly recognised, though it was 
too strong to be good. 

Speaking generally, the game of British East 
Africa does not compare with the meat of our 
American game animals; for, with the excep- 
tion of the eland and the hippo, it is dry, though 
tender when young, and lacks the fat necessary 
to give it the delicious, palatable flavour pos- 
sessed by our deer, antelope, and mountain-sheep. 

After we had skinned an animal and turned 
the body over to them, our porters fought over 
the division of the meat, and we soon dis- 
covered that the only way to keep peace in 
camp was to deal the meat out ourselves. 
Many times I have cut off pieces of zebra meat 
drying before their camp-fires and munched it 
as I travelled along the trail. It made an excel- 
lent substitute for gum, and, while sweet and 
palatable, a small piece would last indefinitely. 
Chew, chew, chew! It seemed as though one 
would never be able to grind the mouthful fine 
enough to be swallowed, and for half an hour 
afterward my jaws ached as they did when I 
had the mumps. 

On the way to Africa we stopped twice at the 
Azores and several places along the Suez Canal. 


We naturalists, with an eye to swelling our col- 
lection, made at once for the open country and 
occupied our time collecting specimens. These 
were deposited in a large-mouthed pickle bottle, 
filled with alcohol, that the steward of the Ham- 
burg had generously donated to our cause. By 
the time we had reached Kapiti Plains the bot- 
tle was packed with lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, 
snails, grasshoppers, beetles, worms, and other 
curious creatures that would have made the 
inventor of the "Fifty-Seven Varieties" blush 
with shame. On entering my tent I placed the 
bottle in one corner and thought no more about 
it. Imagine our surprise, on seating ourselves 
at the supper table that evening, to discover the 
specimen bottle occupying a conspicuous posi- 
tion with other delicacies in the centre of the 
table. My tent boy. Tommy, had discovered it 
and, assuming it to be another strange concoc- 
tion of the white man, had promptly given it the 
place of honour to which he thought it entitled. 
The uncanny suggestion undoubtedly would 
have spoiled the appetite of most people, but 
with us it only proved the source of a hearty 
laugh, in which even the colonel joined, much 
to the embarrassment of the well-meaning boy, 


who for several days was the object of ridicule 
by his associates. 

At Rhino Camp, on the White Nile, some one 
— I don't remember who — suggested that we try 
scrambled crocodiles' eggs. While I cannot speak 
for the rest of the party, I ate the eggs from pure 
curiosity. Were they good? Well, being pressed 
for an answer, I will say that they tasted about 
as I should expect the best quality of sawdust 
to taste if prepared properly. 

The body of a monitor Hzard (described in a 
previous chapter) was also added to our already 
mixed bill of fare. The meat was white and 
tasted like alligator meat that I have eaten in 
Georgia, reminding us of fried fish. 

As I have never been without food for more 
than forty-eight hours, I cannot claim to have 
been hungry; nevertheless, for six long weeks 
I have lived on nothing but dried mountain - 
sheep meat and tea. It kept me in good work- 
ing condition but never satisfied my hunger. 
No matter how much or how often I ate, there 
was that continual gnawing in my stomach that 
only fresh meat and good camp provender can 

I have spent several seasons in the Athabasca 


Lake region of northwestern Canada, and on 
one occasion went sheep hunting with a band 
of Cree Indian half-breeds. By their stupidity 
the sheep saw us before we were within range 
and made their escape. We took up the trail, 
and after following it over two high mountains 
I gave up the chase and started back to camp 
with an Indian boy. 

While descending the mountain we shot a 
half -grown marmot, or woodchuck, which, young 
though it was, equalled in size our Eastern species. 
As soon as we reached the timber, we halted, 
built a fire, and roasted our prize, hide, fur, 
and all. In half an hour there wasn't enough 
left of that marmot to feed a sparrow. Let 
me say that the only way to cook a wood- 
chuck properly is to roast him whole on a stick 
over a camp-fire, turning him from time to time 
until he is well done. The skin keeps the fat 
from broihng out, and enough sinks into the 
flesh to make it tender and juicy. 

The Cree Indians are a hospitable race, even 
to the point of robbing themselves of their last 
mouthful of food; but it always seemed to me 
that they expect far more in return than they 
give. An Indian has no set meal- time; he eats 


when he is hungry, regardless of the time of 
day or night, and no matter how lately he has 
eaten. When food is plentiful he eats all the 
time, and when his larder is exhausted he fasts 
until hunger compels him to hunt. So long as 
you will feed him, so long will he watch for the 
smoke of your camp-fire and drop in at meal- 
time. If you eat without inviting him to join 
you he will take the hint in a short time, and 
within half a day you will see him returning 
from a hunt with his horse or his squaw loaded 
down with venison or sheep meat. 

I rode into a Cree camp one afternoon and, in 
accordance with the custom of the country, was 
asked to dismount and "eat." As I stepped 
into the tepee and took a seat on a sheepskin 
spread on the ground, an old squaw was bending 
over a large pot hanging over the fire. Finally, 
she placed a plate, knife, and fork before me 
and began fishing about in the pot with a fork. 
Piece after piece of meat she brought to the sur- 
face and dropped again until she finally found 
the right one, a hideous-looking beaver's head. 
This she placed upon my plate and, pouring out 
a cup of tea, bade me eat. Waiting for the 
others to be served, and wondering what they 


would draw, I gazed at the bulging eyes and 
grinning teeth which seemed to carry a sort of 
"go-to-it" expression. Next to the tail I had 
been given the choicest morsel, so the other 
members of the party contented themselves 
with various pieces of the animal's anatomy. I 
fell to with a will. The ** other Indians" seized 
a piece of meat between their teeth and, while 
they held it in one hand, sawed oflE a mouthful 
with the other. Since then I have repeatedly 
watched Indians eating in this manner, and, al- 
though I have expected to see one shave off the 
tip of his nose at any moment, up to date I am 
unable to record such a disaster. 

Having disposed of the muscular pieces of 
flesh on the skull and sides of the jaws, I pushed 
my plate away, thinking that the ordeal was 
over. But no; I was reproached for being so 
wasteful and was told that I had overlooked the 
choicest parts, the eyes and brain. Did I eat 
them? I did not. 

A few weeks later this same band of Indians 
tried to feed me on boiled wildcat, or Canadian 
lynx, and I must say that, had I not seen the 
milky-coloured water in which it had been 
cooked, I might have tasted it at least. 


During the early days, as a mark of great 
respect, the Indians always brought the tails 
of the beavers they trapped to the Hudson Bay 
factor. A smoked beaver tail was given to our 
party and was boiled. It was rich and sweet 
and, while really enjoyable, was so blubbery — 
more like marrow fat, in fact — that a few mouth- 
fuls were sickening. 

Moose nose is another Indian tidbit that I 
have tasted in Alaska. It is crisp and insipid 
and lacks a taste that tempts the palate. 

Once, while a boy, camping on the bank of the 
Susquehanna, near my home, Owego, New York, 
I shot a pigeon and a crow, and, being anxious 
to know how the latter tasted, cleaned and 
picked them both before arriving in camp. 
After boihng them for three hours, I served 
them up, being careful that my camp compan- 
ion did not get the pigeon. He sawed away on 
it for a few seconds and then tasted it. The 
uncomplimentary remarks that he made have 
always led me to suspect that he did not think 
the bird he was eating was the same species as 
mine, and, not wishing to deceive him, I ad- 
mitted the truth but made the mistake of giv- 
ing him the Latin name, Corvus americanus, I 


knew he had not studied Latin, but, neverthe- 
less, the name and the taste were near enough for 
him to guess the common term. He promptly 
stalked to the brink of the river and, tossing the 
body far out, spent the afternoon sullen and 
silent. But the agility with which he came to, 
hustled ofif his clothes and dived into the water 
to recover that crow's body when we sighted 
two visitors coming up the river proved be- 
yond doubt that he considered the joke good 
enough to be played on some one else. 

Our friends soon arrived and, following the 
demands of all boys' stomachs, asked for some- 
thing to eat. Corvus americanus was once more 
brought forth and divided equally among 
them. Again I am unable to publish the com- 
ments that were made when our guests discov- 
ered the trick. 

Ten years later, while stopping at a large es- 
tate in Belgium, I was repaid for this deed in 
my own coin, but instead of eating in ignorance, 
the dish was prepared for my special benefit 
and at no little trouble. The European rook 
corresponds to our crow and in that section of 
the country is considered a great delicacy. I 
was told that thousands of them were killed 


annually, the meat being minced, mixed with 
veal, and made into a sort of veal loaf. Had 
I not known what I was eating at the time, I 
surely should have pronounced it veal loaf. I 
will add, however, that I am personally not 
partial to veal loaf of this description. 



BRITISH EAST AFRICA has reason to 
feel proud of the finely equipped narrow- 
gauge railroad that connects Mombasa 
with Lake Victoria, a distance of five hundred 
and eighty-four miles. It is a toy railroad, to 
be sure — so small, in fact, that three days had 
passed before the Roosevelt African expedition's 
outfit was transported from Kilindina to Kapiti. 
But what can one expect of a railroad that was 
only built to open up a savage country to civi- 
lisation and which is operated at a yearly loss 
of thousands of dollars to the government that 
maintains it? 

The tiny cars are drawn by wood-burning 
Baldwin — American — locomotives that haul two 
trains up and down the road every week. On 
account of the destructive '"white ants" that 
devour everything made of wood, sheet-iron 
sleepers are used, and the road-bed — ballasted 



with broken stone — is kept in repair by na- 
tive labour under Indian overseers, usually 

The ''division superintendents," as they are 
called in America, are known in Africa as ''per- 
manent-ways inspectors." They are usually 
EngUshmen or Scotchmen. It is the duty of 
these men to ride over the fifty miles or more 
of railroad assigned to them and see that it is 
kept in good repair. 

On his trips the inspector uses a hand-car, 
not the clumsy kind propelled with pump- 
handles, that is common here, but a light car 
equipped with a long seat that runs from side 
to side through its centre. On this seat the 
inspector sits while two barefoot negroes run 
on the rails behind and push. A third man 
rides as passenger until it is time for him to 
relieve one of the other two. 

On two occasions the inspector at Naivasha 
let me accompany him on his trips. We would 
be rolling along through a cut, and suddenly 
ghde out on the veldt into the very midst of 
a herd of zebras, hartebeests, or Thomson's 
gazelles. The surprised creatures would bound 
away in all directions or race along parallel 


with us for half a mile or more. Or perhaps, 
when we were coasting down a grade, we would 
round a sharp curve and surprise a hyena or a 
pair of jackals hunting mice in the tall grass. 

Once, after passing through a bit of bush, we 
ran right up to a secretary-bird that was stalk- 
ing along beside the track. He raised his 
wings, flapped them vigorously, and ran along 
the ground, preparatory to taking flight, but 
we were under such headway that we overtook 
him and, as he launched into the air, I brought 
him down with a charge of number four shot. 
Now his skin is in one of the big cases in the 
Smithsonian Institution. 

A few months later, when I was travelling in 
a ''down train," I related this experience to an 
inspector who was a fellow passenger. 

"I can understand why a novice might 
think such a trip interesting," he said. *'But 
we get rather accustomed to adventures. I'll 
tell you one of mine. 

"There had been a heavy rain, and the road 
south of Naivasha had suffered badly. I put 
several extra gangs at work to repair the dam- 
age and then went north to oversee the construc- 
tion of a bridge that had been swept away. A 


week had passed before I finally found time to 
take a run south to inspect the grade repairing 
that had been going on in the meantime. It 
was about nineteen miles to the end of the 
washed-out stretch, so we started early. The 
boys, chanting a song as they skipped over the 
rails, sent us along at a lively clip. 

'' We had gone about eight miles and were 
travelling through a bit of open bush-veldt 
when we saw two rhinos standing near the 
track ahead of us. In a low voice I ordered the 
boys to stop and at the same moment applied 
the brake. The car halted about fifty yards 
from the brutes. 

"A rhino is a stupid, unreliable creature and 
his eyesight is so poor that when the wind is 
in the right direction a person can walk within 
fifty yards of him without fear of being seen. 

"The rumbling of the wheels had attracted 
the attention of these animals, and they stood 
gazing at us. One of them walked slowly to- 
ward us ; then it paused and sniflfed the air. They 
were so near the track that it would have been 
impossible for us to pass without provoking 
an attack. We rolled the car back a few rods 
and waited for them to go on, but they did not 


seem inclined to move. Finally, one lay down 
within twenty feet of the track. 

"In the hope that if we retired from their 
sight the rhinos would saunter off, I ordered 
the boys to run the car into the bush. There 
we left it, and I walked back to the skirting and 
watched the brutes from ambush. 

" I must have remained there twenty-five 
minutes, but the rhinos did not change their 
position. The delay was exasperating. Why 
had I not brought my rifle? We should then 
have had something with which to protect our- 
selves, and I might have fired a few shots and 
put them to flight. 

"At last I had the boys bring up the car 
again, and once more we moved forward, al- 
though I had no clear plan in mind. 

"When we were within a hundred yards of 
the animals we halted and awaited develop- 
ments. The rhino that had been lying down 
rose, and stood looking in our direction; its 
mate also showed signs of interest. 

"We began to push the car ahead. Nearer 
and nearer we came. The stupid creatures 
simply stared at us until we were within fifty 
yards of them. Then one puffed, snorted. 


and began a series of comical, awkward bucks; 
after that it ran about twenty-five yards and 
stopped. The other stood still and continued 
to stare at us. 

"I ordered one of the boys to walk ahead 
and try to drive it away from the track. Re- 
luctantly he obeyed, much to the amusement 
of his comrades. As the boy waved his arms 
and shouted the rhino wheeled about and 
rushed off after its companion. I jumped on 
the car, shouted to the boys to push, and we 
started rapidly down the track. 

"Ahead there was a sharp bend. For most 
of the way round the track ran through a cut 
eight feet deep; at the farther end of the cut 
it dropped down a steep grade. The rhinos 
were cutting across this bend, and, although the 
chance of meeting them again at the farther side 
occurred to me, the possibility seemed remote. 

"We were nearly out of the cut when a 
great dark body suddenly came plunging over 
the bank on our left. We all shouted, and the 
rhino tried to turn, but its momentum was 
too great; the animal lost its balance and came 
rolling down the bank ahead of us. 

"The boy who was riding with me jumped. 


and so did I. When we struck the ground and 
turned to run the two men who had been 
pushing the car were fully twenty feet ahead 
of us, for they had taken to their heels the in- 
stant the rhino appeared. 

'*As the huge body of the brute rolled down 
the bank and onto the track, the car struck it a 
glancing blow on the side, then left the rails, 
and ploughed into the bank. The rhino jumped 
to its feet and, with a toss of its head, attacked 
the car. Then, seeing us running up the track, 
it came charging after us. 

"The two boys ahead of me ran up the left 
side to the top of the bank and I quickly fol- 
lowed. The rhino kept on after the third boy, 
who was dashing along the right-hand side of 
the track. We shouted to him to climb the 
bank, and he bounded up with the agility of a 
cat. Below, in the cut, the animal rushed by 
us, and it was only ten feet behind the boy when 
he reached the top of the bank. The bank was 
low at that point, and the clumsy animal, after 
slipping and sliding back into the cut several 
times, succeeded in scrambling up. 

"Meanwhile, the boy had run some distance 
along the top of the bank and thrown himself 


flat on the ground. When the rhino reached 
the top it ambled out on the veldt a few yards, 
and, since it could not find its enemy, it stopped 
and looked about. 

"While the animal's back was turned the 
two boys and I jumped down into the cut and 
made for the upturned car. Hurriedly we lifted 
it on the track. I told the boys to push it to 
the top of the down grade and to wait there 
for me. Then I climbed back to the bank 
and looked about to see what had become of 
my third assistant. On the veldt only thirty 
yards from him, the rhino stood, snorting and 
puffing, and turning first to one side and then 
to the other. I watched my opportunity and 
then waved to the boy several times; but he 
was so occupied in watching the rhino that at 
first he did not see me. Finally, however, he 
jumped up, dashed for the bank, and leaped 
into the cut. 

"He was hardly on his feet when the brute 
caught sight of him and again charged. The 
boy bounded down the track toward us. The 
rhino reached the top of the bank a hundred 
feet behind him; it plunged down and contin- 
ued the chase between the rails. 


*' While the two boys and myself had ample 
time to escape, I saw at once that the brute 
would overtake the other man long before he 
could reach the car, and, as we could not desert 
him, we were forced to again take to the top 
of the bank and the pursued boy once more 
followed our example. The persistent rhino 
lost considerable time scrambling up after him, 
and again the two came tearing on toward us, 
the boy now fifty yards in advance of his 

"Now was our chance, for the boy would reach 
the car at least fifty yards ahead of the rhino. 
We darted back into the cut and slowly started 
the car down the grade. 

''The boy kept to the bank till he was abreast 
of us; then he jumped down and joined the 
other two boys in pushing the car. The rhino, 
charging along the top of the bank, gained on 
us rapidly. The bank now sloped toward the 
track, and every step that our pursuer took 
brought it nearer our level. 

''I urged the boys to exert every bit of their 
strength, and a few seconds later they jumped 
aboard, for the car had attained such speed that 
there was danger of their being left behind. 


"There was nothing we could do now except 
to watch the brute thundering along between 
the rails. Although the weight of all four men 
caused the car to gain headway, the rhino was 
drawing nearer every second. Faster and faster 
we sped along, but still the animal gained until 
it was only a few rods away. 

"A short distance ahead was another sharp 
curve, and round this we flew at breakneck 
speed. We were going so fast that I feared 
the car might leave the rails at any moment. 
It was a choice of two evils, and we chose to 
stay with the car as long as it remained on the 
track. As we rounded the curve I was hor- 
rified to see a gang of graders at work. They 
saw us approaching. One of them cried out 
in alarm, and the whole crowd flung their tools 
aside and bolted into a near-by "donga." 

"When I again looked back I saw that the 
rhino had not gained on us in the last hundred 
yards. As the steepest part of the grade was 
before us, I knew that we had won the race. 
Still the stupid brute kept doggedly on. In 
half a minute more we had reached the steep 
grade and began to leave our pursuer behind; 
but it was not until we were a quarter of a 


mile in the lead that we saw the rhino slacken 
his speed and finally stop. 

"Then I gently applied the brake, and we 
continued slowly until we had reached the next 
gang of workmen. 

*'My one regret is that there was no motion- 
picture man present to record our game of 



AS soon as Colonel Roosevelt announced 
r^L tis intention to head a scientific expe- 
dition into the wilds of Africa, a number 
of journalists and nature photographers seized 
upon the opportunity to precede him and mar- 
ket their work while the interest in the Dark 
Continent was a live one. 

Among this class of adventurers were several 
nature photographers from England and Amer- 
ica. To be at the head of this profession requires 
untold patience, almost supernatural coolness, 
and the highest type of bravery. To-day the 
photographer is creeping stealthily upon a doz- 
ing rhinoceros, an African lion, or a buffalo, any 
one of which big-game hunters consider a dan- 
gerous adversary, even when pitted against mod- 
ern firearms. 

In order to get unique photographs, some- 
thing that will be in demand by publishers, the 
nature photographer must provoke an attack 



from his subject. As the beast dashes at him 
he must take the charge with sullen indifference 
and press the button at the critical moment, 
leaving it to his armed companion to carry him 
through in safety. 

The next day you may find this same man 
cooped in a little blind, with his camera trained 
upon the carcass of a freshly killed bait, to which 
he hopes some passing bird of prey or carnivo- 
rous mammal will be lured. 

It was while thus engaged that one of these 
nature photographers had a thrilling experience 
with a cobra, the most deadly of all poison- 
ous snakes. At the time he was camped with 
twenty porters at the south end of the Ulucania 
Hills, a series of rocky ridges in which live lions, 
leopards, hyenas, klipspringers, hyraxes, eagles, 
vultures, and cobras and other species of snakes. 

Looking over the grassy veldt bordering these 
hills, one sees herds of zebras, hartebeests, wilde- 
beests, bustards, secretary-birds, and ostriches. 
On being fired at, the sound of the hunter's 
rifle has scarcely died away when the vultures, 
eagles, kites, and marabou storks begin to con- 
gregate to feed upon the carcass of the victim. 

Seizing upon this suggestion as a good oppor- 


tunity to secure rare photographs of the great 
birds, one of the nature photographers killed a 
hartebeest and had] his porters carry it to the 
foot of a rocky ridge. 

"I found a place where an oval-shaped slab 
of rock rested on and overhung a great boulder," 
he said. "By draping the green canvas ground- 
cloth of my tent over this rock and securing the 
lower corners to the ground, I made a sort of 
bhnd behind which I could hide. A few leafy 
branches placed against the canvas gave the 
structure a more natural appearance. 

"Everything in readiness, I had my men put 
the body of the hartebeest within fifty feet of 
the blind, and then I sent them back to camp. 
Crawling into the blind, I focussed my camera 
upon the body through a slit cut in the canvas. 
Although the vultures, storks, and eagles were 
already beginning to gather in the air, I knew 
that probably it would be some time before they 
would congregate in suflBcient numbers to suit 
my purpose. 

"I fear that I was somewhat greedy in my 
ambition. I did not care for a photograph of 
two or three birds; what I wanted was a group 
of fifty or more tearing away at the carcass 


and fighting with one another for the choice 

*'I arranged my field-glasses, water-bottle, 
and camera case in a crevice behind me and 
leaned my rifle against the rocks by my side. 

"For some time I amused myself by watching 
the comical and awkward actions of the birds. 
Eagles, vultures, and storks came from every 
direction and circled about a few minutes, then 
gracefully lighted on the ground near the car- 
cass, where they stood eyeing the blind sus- 

''Whenever a new arrival appeared an ag- 
gressive bird would raise its wings over its back, 
lower its head, and take several awkward hops 
toward him. Occasionally fights took place, 
but they were never serious and usually ended 
by one of the birds taking wing and joining 
another and more friendly group. 

"Becoming sleepy and knowing that as soon 
as the birds had gathered in sufiicient numbers 
to suit my purpose their squabbles would 
awaken me, I made a pillow of my rain-coat 
and curled up in my cramped quarters for a 
few minutes' snooze. 

"'How long I slept is of little consequence. It 


might have been an hour; it might have been but 
fifteen minutes. At any rate, I was awakened 
by a peculiar grating sound, as of something 
being dragged over the loose, fine gravel; in 
fact, I became aware of the presence of some 
creature before I was fully awake. When I did 
come to my full senses I was horrified at dis- 
covering an immense cobra stretched full length 
at my feet. 

"I reaUsed that the slightest move on my 
part meant death; in fact, the mere opening of 
my eyes had attracted the snake's attention, for 
instantly it stopped and its sinister, beady eyes 
stared at me from their lidless sockets. 

"I have faced many dangers in the course of 
my short time on earth, but heretofore it has 
been in the open where I had the freedom of 
my Hmbs and the power to use them. But 
here I lay a captive at the mercy of the fangs 
of the most gruesome of all creatures. For all 
practical purposes I might just as well have 
been charmed, for there was my rifle within easy 
reach yet I dared not make a move to secure it. 

"To prevent my limbs from shaking and be- 
traying me, I set my muscles, locked my jaws, 
and simply stared. So long as the cobra re- 


mained in the confines of my small enlcosure it 
was always within striking distance of me, and 
I realised that my safety lay in either being 
able to kill it or in waiting for it to depart. 

''The minutes seemed like hours — they al- 
ways do under such circumstances. Finally, the 
snake turned to one side and began slowly to 
crawl toward the opposite end of the blind, 
where the ground-cloth failed to reach the 
earth and there was space for it to get out. It 
was within a foot of the opening when its head 
struck the cloth, and, drawing back suddenly, 
it paused for a few seconds, then, to my horror, 
turned and slowly glided back toward me. Be- 
fore it had covered half the distance, however, 
it came in contact with the camera tripod and 
began to slide up one of the legs. 

"At this juncture I decided to try to reach my 
rifle. While the reptile was fumbhng about the 
camera I carefully reached out, but fate was 
against me, for I had hardly moved when my 
coat sleeve grated on the gravel. Slight though 
the noise was, the cobra heard it, turned its 
head toward me, and its hood began to inflate. 
There it stood, quite a third of its body in 
mid-air, swaying its head from side to side, its 


long, forked tongue darting in and out of its 

*'My blood seemed to freeze; a cold sweat 
covered my forehead and I was nearly petrified 
from fear. Every instant I expected to see the 
reptile's head dart forward and to feel its 
deadly fangs enter my flesh. Had I moved 
again, this would have happened. Finally, 
the hood gradually contracted and the snake 
dropped to the ground and continued its tour 
of investigation. 

"It moved around behind and out of my 
sight, but I could trace its position by the 
grating of Its body on the gravel. Soon I heard 
it scuffling about at my feet and the next instant 
felt its head hit them and its body begin to slide 
over. That snake seemed to be a hundred feet 
long, but, finally, it once more came into view, 
its head held close to the ground. 

"I had kept still for so long that my nerves 
were almost shattered, and I was willing to 
resort to desperate means in order to rid myself 
of my captor. 

"While I had been sleeping my helmet had 
fallen from my head and had rolled to the 
ground in front of me. Toward this the cobra 


was making, and as soon as its head had dis- 
appeared behind it my hand shot out and I 
seized the snake by the neck. Springing to 
my feet, I did not wait to go out by the regular 
exit, but burst through the front of the bhnd, 
tearing the canvas fastenings from the ground. 

''Finding itself a captive, the snake instantly 
twined about my waist, and I felt its hood try- 
ing to expand in my grip. With jaws wide 
open, it twisted its head about and worked its 
triple set of fangs backward and forward in a 
vain effort to bury them in my hand, while the 
venom oozed from their points in drops. 

''Fortunately, the cobra is not a constrictor 
like the pythons and many other species of 
snakes, so its grasp upon my body, while un- 
comfortably tight, was not dangerous. 

"It was evident that to dislodge the snake 
was going to be no easy matter. Fearing to 
lose my grip for even a second, I kept a steady 
strain on its body and wondered what next to 
do. Suddenly the cobra began to relax its hold 
and I felt the coils slipping. Encouraged by 
this, I pulled harder and again the coils gave 
way, until I was holding the snake at arm's 
length with only a single coil about my body. 



"Holding the snake in one hand, I seized it 
about the middle with the other, but the in- 
stant the reptile felt itself grasped in another 
place it struggled so hard that I was obliged 
to again grip it with both hands about the neck. 

"My strength was waning fast, but the sat- 
isfaction of knowing that the cobra, too, was 
becoming exhausted gave me courage. The 
constant strain that I kept on it had weakened 
it, so the next time I caught it in the middle it 
made one feeble effort to contract, then the coil 
gave way and slipped off my body entirely. 

"Swinging the snake free from my body, I 
waved it about my head and with all my 
strength brought it down on a rock. Again and 
again I whacked it over the boulder and finally 
threw it as far as I could. 

"Then rushing back to the bhnd, I returned 
with my rifle, but I was so unnerved that the 
bullets went wild and I was obliged to resort 
to stones in order to kill the cobra, although 
it was almost dead from the hammering I had 
given it." 



CRITTENDEN left London because he 
had to. His creditors pushed him so 
vigorously that they made him uncom- 
fortable, and, as his bank account was exhausted 
because of his extravagant mode of living, he 
sneaked up into Yorkshire and took a position 
as bookkeeper. 

"I simply made up my mind," he said, ''that 
home was no place for me until my debts were 
paid, and, as my creditors still kept nagging me, 
I remained in my new position just long enough 
to lay by a few pounds and then booked on a 
steamer for British East Africa and drifted up 
here into the Congo to hunt ivory." 

"How long have you been here?" I inquired. 

''Not quite a year, and I'm going to stick it 
out until my pile has been made and I can go 
back and pay up." 

"But isn't there some risk of your creditors 



being cheated of their pay by the elephants? " I 
ventured. ''Don't you consider it a Httle risky, 
this prowKng about after five-ton monsters with 
tusks that have gored scores of hunters, feet 
that have stamped out many a man's Hfe, and a 
trunk that acts Uke the tentacles of an octopus? 
Isn't there a slight element of danger in ram- 
ming about through the jungle, the bamboo, 
and the tall elephant-grass, chasing such crea- 
tures as these?" 

"Certainly there is, but it's part of the game. 
Every elephant hunter understands that, and 
it is up to him to play a trump card every time 
or else be euchred. But still there's no more 
danger here in the wilds of Africa than there 
would be in any large city. 

"Take, for instance, the automobiles; they 
are continually blowing their horns and tooting 
their whistles, danger or no danger, and you get 
so accustomed to them you become careless. 
But when you hear an elephant trumpeting you 
sit up and take notice. You can shoot an ele- 
phant if he comes too close, but you can't shoot 
a 'bally' chauffeur, can you.^ — so there you 

"Did you ever have to shoot an elephant 


chauffeur to keep from being run down?" I 

''Did I! Being charged by elephants is such 
a common occurrence to an ivory hunter that 
he remembers only the dangerous charges. The 
most thrilling escape that ever happened to me 
occurred in the very country to which you are 
now going. 

"We had so far made a good kill of ivory. 
One noon three of my trackers who had been 
looking for fresh signs returned and told me 
that, some five miles north, they had discovered 
a watering-place on the Nile where elephants 
came to drink. 

" I took my gun bearer Kongoni — Swahah 
for hartebeest — three trackers, my blankets, and 
two days' grub and left at once. 

**Late in the afternoon we arrived at the 
spot. The earth along the bank near the water- 
ing-place was trodden hard by huge feet, and, 
after looking over the scene, I saw at once that 
the elephants must have watered there the 
night before. 

"There was little use in trying to trail them 
up that day, for they might be twenty miles 
away, so we back-tracked a mile and went into 


camp for the night, intending to take up the 
fresh tracks in the morning should the animals 
return that night. 

"It must have been some time past midnight 
when my gun bearer awakened me to say that 
he heard the elephants coming. I, too, could 
catch the faint sound of trumpeting, and as 
time passed the trumpeting became louder and 
more frequent, and finally we could hear the 
animals bellowing. For over two hours the 
noise continued and then gradually grew fainter 
and fainter as the herd moved back into the 

"We were up before the sun and after a 
hearty breakfast, for we knew not when we 
would get another square meal, hurried off to 
the watering-place. 

"A faint glow in the east showed that the day 
was dawning, and when it became light enough 
to see clearly, we picked up the trail. It was 
evidently an enormous herd, but the ground 
was pounded so hard by its previous visits that 
for the time we could gain no correct idea of its 
true size. Kongoni said that there were a hun- 
dred; one of my trackers doubled the number, 
and I felt sure that he was nearer right. 


**We followed the wide trail at a rapid rate 
and hoped to overhaul them soon, for as they 
had been feeding all night, they might halt 
about ten o'clock to rest. 

"Through patches of tall elephant-grass, 
groves of thorn-trees, and then out into a some- 
what barren open country the tracks led us. 
On all sides were uprooted trees and great 
branches that the animals had wrenched off 
as they passed along. 

"We had gone about five miles when we sud- 
denly passed out of the elephant-grass, crossed 
a dry, sandy creek bed, and came to a level piece 
of ground about a mile wide. A fire had lately 
swept the grass from this flat and at the far side 
we could see a dense bush-veldt. 

"The elephants were probably resting in that 
bush-veldt, and, as there was no longer need for 
professional trackers, the men were told to wait 
at the edge of the clearing until they saw Kon- 
goni and me enter the bush on the other side, 
then to follow slowly so as to be near and ready 
to assist in cutting out the ivory should we suc- 
ceed in shooting a tusker. 

"We had crossed the flat and were two hun- 
dred yards from the timber when Kongoni 


stopped; he said he could hear the elephants 
feeding. A few seconds later the sound of 
breaking branches and then the crash of a fall- 
ing tree dispelled all doubt. 

"We were discussing a course of procedure 
when Kongoni caught me by the arm and, point- 
ing toward the thicket, exclaimed: 

'''Bwana, there's an elephant standing un- 
der that thorn-tree!' 

''Straining my eyes to the limit, it was im- 
possible to discover the brute, but suddenly an- 
other elephant appeared, and then another and 
another, until in all some ten or fifteen animals 
were in sight. 

"'Hurry, Bwana,' said the gun bearer, 'they 
are coming this way and we will be caught in 
the open.' 

"Scattered here and there were small clusters 
of bushes that had escaped the fire. Fifty 
yards to our left stood a solitary tree. A hurri- 
cane had taken out the top, leaving several large 
limbs protruding from the upper part. Sixty 
feet from this tree was an ant-hill six feet high; 
a small patch of bushes grew just beyond, while 
still farther on the Nile flowed placidly beneath 
a perpendicular twenty -foot bank. 


"Moving slowly so as not to attract atten- 
tion, we reached the tree and I placed my rifle 
on the ground, intending that Kongoni should 
hand it to me as soon as he had assisted me into 
the limbs. He gave me the expected boost, 
but when I turned and reached down for the 
gun he was gone. 

"'Kongoni! Kongoni!' I called in a low 
tone. There was no response. Then Kongoni 
was seen waving to me from a clump of bushes 
a few rods off. The idiot! what had possessed 
him to suddenly desert me in this manner? 
There was no danger so long as we were hidden, 
even if the herd was large and only two hundred 
yards away, for an elephant's eyesight is so 
poor that he cannot see a man much more than 
fifty yards off. 

"I should have descended the tree at once, 
thrown the rifle strap over my shoulder, and 
climbed back again, but I wasted so much time 
trying to persuade Kongoni to return and hand 
it to me, that when I did think of it the ele- 
phants were dangerously close and I did not 
dare make the attempt. 

"It was a grand and wonderful sight; that 
army of two hundred modern mammoths — left- 


overs from antediluvian days — marching ma- 
jestically toward us in one solid, unbroken mass, 
their great ears waving back and forth as they 
calmly fanned themselves. They were continu- 
ally tearing up bunches of grass and tossing 
them upon or over their backs ; the totos — young 
ones — strolled along by the side of their mothers, 
who frequently reached out their trunks and 
appeared to fondle their offspring. 

"How I yearned for my rifle, for there were 
many big tuskers in the herd. Several of them 
were within range and from my elevated posi- 
tion there was a fine opportunity to bowl one 

''Some of the animals walked right under my 
tree and I held my breath lest they should look 
up and discover me. Probably a third of the 
herd had passed when several of them lifted 
their trunks and waved them in the air; they 
had caught our scent. 

''One began to trumpet, and the others 
quickly took up the alarm. Suddenly every 
elephant in the herd seemed to have lost its 
head, for they raced backward and forward 
quite panic-stricken. In one wild dash the 
advance-guard suddenly wheeled around and 


started back toward the timber, the Httle totos 
dodging about to prevent being trampled. 

"Kongoni dared not hft his head for fear of 
provoking an attack, so he crouched low, a 
silent listener. Had he been able to see, there 
would have been no trouble, for he would have 
noticed that the stampeding elephants had 
passed him, leaving a little toto in the rear, its 
mother a few rods in advance. But two of 
the brutes had torn by uncomfortably close to 
him, which, together with the roaring and 
trumpeting, struck terror to his heart, so in- 
stead of holding his position, he broke cover 
and bounded for my tree. 

"As he burst through the brush he nearly 
collided with the toto, which gave a peculiar 
little squeal and dodged out of the man's way. 
The mother had heard her child's cry and, 
wheeling about, came to its rescue. 

"Kongoni saw that he was trapped so he ran 
for the ant-hill, dodged behind it, and stood 
waiting. He did not have long to wait, how- 
ever, for Mrs. Elephant soon reached the spot 
and for a few seconds, in double-quick time, the 
two raced around the clay pyramid. 

** Thinking that she would surely catch the 


boy, I was about to descend, grab my rifle, and 
help him out of the scrape, when the elephant, 
on the far side of the ant-hill, began tearing it 
down with her tusks. I realised that now was 
Kongoni's opportunity to escape. From the op- 
posite side of the ant-hill he could not see what 
was taking place, so I called out, *now is your 
ciiance, run for the tree!' 

'*With the ant-hill between him and the in- 
furiated animal, he bounded toward me and, as 
he reached the stub and began climbing up, I 
leaned down and gave him a helping hand, and 
the next instant he was safe in the branches. 

''The elephant demolished that ant-hill as 
completely as a stick of dynamite could have 
wrecked it, and then stood over the ruins, sur- 
prised, no doubt, at not finding her victim. 
The moving branches and the scratching of our 
bodies on the limbs must have betrayed our po- 
sition, for she caught sight of us and bore down 
on the tree. 

''Before climbing the tree, which was fully 
eight inches in diameter, it seemed impossible 
that any elephant could push it over, but as I 
looked down and saw her put her great head 
against it, it was evident that she intended to 
make the attempt. 


"There was a ripping, grinding sound and 
the sod about the base began to heave; stub- 
bornly the tenacious roots fought against sur- 
rendering the burden that they had supported 
for so many years. The five tons of flesh and 
bones were more than a match for them, how- 
ever, and slowly the tree began to descend. In- 
stead of toppling over with a crash, the sinewy 
tentacles eased its fall so gently that we were 
given an opportunity to adjust our positions and 
prepare for the worst. 

"Even after the tree had attained an angle of 
forty -five degrees, we stood on the trunk and 
clung to the now almost perpendicular branches. 
The elephant must have thought that it was 
going over; she backed away for a second but, 
seeing her mistake, again began to push, and 
this time the tree slowly went down. 

"As it struck the ground, the sudden loosen- 
ing of the roots on one side caused it to roll 
slightly which threw the gun bearer to the un- 
derside and buried him beneath the branches. 
At the same time I was brought to an upright 
position and, jumping to the ground, started for 
the small patch of bushes in which Kongoni 
had first sought shelter. 

"If I could only gain possession of the rifle 


that Kongoni in his excitement had left some- 
where in the brush, it might be possible to bring 
our troubles to an abrupt termination. The 
black rascal was to blame for our predicament 
and it would serve him right if the elephant 
gave him a chastising. 

"Where was he now? Was he pinned help- 
lessly beneath the limbs, or was he simply lying 
there in the hope that he would escape punish- 
ment and the infuriated beast would make me 
the target for her revenge? 

"'If he reasoned thus, he reasoned wisely, for 
on looking back over my shoulder I saw the ele- 
phant charging after me, her trunk curled up 
between her tusks and her great ears extended 
on both sides of her villainous-looking head. 

"There had been no chance for me to recover 
the rifle that had been left at the foot of the 
tree, neither was there time to search for the 
gun in the bushes; in fact, should I succeed in 
reaching the shelter before she could overtake 
me, under the circumstances it was all that 
could be hoped for. 

"Luck favoured me, and darting in with head 
bent low and arms thrust out in the position 
of a diver, I bolted through the tangle. The 


crashing of brush resounded in my ears as I 
turned sharply to the right, threw myself flat 
on the ground, and lay there, panting and 

''On she came and must have passed within 
ten feet of my hiding-place, but I dared not 
look up, for to show my pale face or move 
might have attracted her attention. 

''She rushed through the thicket and trum- 
peted loudly at the other side, while my heart 
hammered away as though it would break 
through my ribs. From what I knew of the 
habits of elephants, there was little possibility 
of her leaving the locality until she had either 
killed me or had demolished that clump of bushes 
in her eflforts to find me. 

"One thing was sure, the bushes were only 
fit for temporary shelter, and it was a matter 
of only a few minutes before I should be com- 
pelled to leave them. A solitary tree growing 
on the brink of the Nile seemed to be my only 
hope, but one experience with a tree as an 
'elephant escape' had not proven particularly 
satisfactory, still there was no choice. 

"These thoughts were suddenly dispelled 
by another commotion in the brush; the 'old 


woman' was coming back to make a more 
thorough investigation. This time she charged 
by to my right, and as soon as she had passed 
I sprang to my feet and once more rushed on, 
relying on the noise she was creating to drown 
whatever racket I might make. 

"As I broke through the cover and for an 
instant glanced back, she was standing at the 
far side of the brush patch looking in my di- 
rection, but before two more steps could be 
taken she was at me again. 

"My eyes were riveted on that tree, and with 
every jump I longed for postponement of the 
silence that would tell me she had passed out 
of the thicket and into the open. I could then 
judge how much lead I had and what were my 
chances for escape. 

"Suddenly the crackling of limbs and the 
swish of bushes ceased and the shuffling and dull 
thud of feet on the gravelly earth was heard. A 
hasty calculation placed me a little more than 
half-way between the animal and the river, 
still I did not look back. I could not look! I 
did not want to see her, and yet in my mind's 
eye I depicted her charging along behind as 
plainly as though she had been in front, instead 
of in my rear. 


*'0n I rushed at top speed. The shuffling 
grew louder and louder every second, for she was 
fast overtaking me. But that tree grew nearer 
and nearer with each step. Just then Kongoni 
shouted : 

'''Pacey! pacey ! Bwana T ('Hurry! hurry! 
Master!') and I knew that she must be crowd- 
ing me closely. Even should I reach the tree 
ahead of her, evidently there would not be time 
to climb it before she twined her snake-like trunk 
about my body and hurled me to the ground. 

"What was beneath that bank.^^ Was it a 
drop off of twenty feet to a mass of jagged 
rocks or into the water? The elephant would 
surely kill me if I did not make the jump, so 
what was the difference? If the river was deep 
and ran in flush with the bank, as from the top 
of our perch in the tree it appeared to do, and 
I could only outdistance my pursuer, there was 
nothing to fear, for I was an expert swimmer. 

"It certainly was a relief to see the water-line 
creeping gradually toward shore over the horizon 
of the bank, and as I rushed along I wondered 
if the animal had gained such headway that she 
would come tumbling down on top of me. 

"A few more strides and the bank was 


reached, and without a second's hesitation I 
sprang into the air and shot through the twenty 
feet of space into the swiftly running water. 
The force of the fall drove me out of sight. 
Turning quickly, I swam under water and down- 
stream until lack of breath compelled me to 
come to the surface. 

"The elephant was standing on the bank 
above, trumpeting loudly and blowing great 
clouds of dust and ashes into the air. Now a 
new peril presented itself — crocodiles. The Nile 
swarmed with them, but on second thought I 
remembered that they frequented sluggish water 
and, as the current here ran fully six miles an 
hour, there was, after all, not much danger 
from them. 

"Striking out for shore, I was soon so close 
under the bank that the elephant was lost to 
view. By continuing alongshore for a hundred 
yards, the exposed roots of a tree were found, 
and to these I clung until my breath had re- 
turned. Swimming on down-stream to a point 
where the bank was low, I climbed out into a 
fringe of bushes and small trees. 

"Working my way quietly through the foliage, 
I went back part way and then cUmbed a tree 


overlooking the country. The old elephant was 
prowling along the top of the bluff, but just then 
she turned and, shuffling over to the prostrate 
tree, began breaking off the branches with her 
trunk. I watched anxiously to see if she would 
find the gun bearer, although I felt quite certain 
that if he had not been injured he must have 
taken advantage of his opportunity to make his 
escape to a more secure hiding-place. 

"After she had nearly stripped the tree of its 
branches and scattered them over the ground, 
she put her head against the trunk and pushed 
it aside. But Kongoni was not there. The 
little totOy in the meantime, was running about 
shaking his head and squealing. 

''Unable to find her enemies, the great brute, 
after again looking the ground over carefully, 
sauntered off into the bush, her little one follow- 
ing by her side. 

"Suddenly Kongoni's head appeared above a 
clump of bushes. He hustled up to the scene 
of the conflict, secured both of my rifles, and 
came running toward the spot where I had dis- 
appeared over the bank. Before he arrived, 
however, I diverted his course by shouting, and 
as I descended the tree he came up. 


"By losing his head he had almost caused us 
to lose our lives, and he knew too well that he 
was to blame. His face bore an expression of 
fear and shame combined, and we stood gazing 
at each other without saying a word. Finally, 
he fell to his knees and, kissing my hand, sobbed: 
'Master, forgive me. I will never do it again. 
I have always been faithful to you until to-day, 
so if you will forgive me I swear by Allah that 
I will never, never again desert you.' 

"Undoubtedly the elephant had taught him a 
lesson, and I felt so thankful that we both had 
escaped that I took him at his word, so after 
severely reprimanding him and fining him twen- 
ty rupees from his salary, I returned to camp, 
picking up the other boys en route." 



WHILE it is true that I knew nothing 
of forestry, the government was also 
aware of the fact, so I felt that I had 
not accepted, under false pretences, the position 
of forester," said a former occupant of the West 
Kenia Forest Station. 

"My superior at Nairobi had told me that 
my chief duty would be to watch for forest fires 
and to extinguish any that occurred. He also 
instructed me to hire a gang of Kikuyu natives 
and cut a trail up the south side of Mount 
Kenia to timber-line. I was working on this 
trail when my friend Brown, whom I had 
asked to come up and visit me, arrived, and we 
planned to go high up on the mountain and 
do some exploring after the trail was finished 
and the men had been discharged. 

"We two 'trekked' to an altitude of thirteen 
thousand seven hundred feet and pitched our 
tent. On the morning of the third day at our 



alpine camp I arose rather late and found that 
Brown had left camp. The teapot near the 
smouldering fire showed that he had had break- 
fast. 'Probably stepped out to shoot some 
game for our larder,' I thought, as I brushed 
the coals together and started to prepare my 
morning meal. 

"Having finished my breakfast, I picked up 
my Ithaca shotgun, camera, and barometer, 
that hung from one of the tent-poles, and strolled 
up on a high ridge back of the camp. From 
here a fine view could be had. Small green 
lakes fed by tiny rivulets that trickled over 
the rocks, great drifts of snow, and constantly 
changing scenery kept my eyes busy. 

"One thinks of Africa as a land of jungle and 
extreme heat, and, as I stood there gazing at 
scenery such as I had seen in Alaska and in 
northwestern Canada, I could scarcely believe 
that I was standing on the equator; neverthe- 
less, 'the line' does run over the top of the 

"The hand of the barometer pointed to fifteen 
thousand feet, and from that point refused to 
record a higher altitude, although it was sup- 
posed to register as high as twenty thousand feet. 


From this point a great snow-bank rose gradu- 
ally for several hundred yards and then formed 
a high, steep bank dangerous to climb for fear of 
starting a snowslide. For half a mile the drift 
extended eastward and away from the moun- 
tain peak. I saw that by crossing it to the far 
end and then turning back I could reach the 
north side of the peak on top of the steep, dan- 
gerous bank. 

"The glare from the sun on the drift was very 
intense, but it seemed no more dazzling than I 
had found it under similar circumstances in 
America. For most of the way the snow was 
soft and I sank to my shoe tops, but after I had 
turned back toward the mountain I found a 
tract about a hundred yards wide where, for some 
unaccountable reason, the snow was packed hard. 
Even when I jumped on it my feet left no im- 

"I proceeded until I had passed two thirds 
of the way around the mountain peak. The mass 
of cUfifs and jagged rocks rose to a total height 
of seventeen thousand two hundred feet above 
sea-level; now they were not more than seven 
hundred feet above me, therefore I must have 
ascended to an altitude of sixteen thousand five 


hundred feet. To the right, half a mile away, 
was a round-topped mountain of snow of un- 
known depth. In many places it had cracked 
open, leaving great crevasses, which showed that 
the snow was at least fifty feet deep. 

*'From where I stood, on the snow ridge that 
connected the snow mountain with the peak, 
the drift sloped downward toward the north 
end of the mountain half a mile; beyond this I 
could not see. If I could get down it would be 
a shorter way to camp than to retrace my steps, 
so I decided to make the attempt. 

''I had gone about half-way when I discov- 
ered that the snow-field terminated in an abrupt 
wall several hundred feet high. On reaching 
it I dared not go close enough to the edge to 
make a more thorough investigation for fear 
the snow cornice might break and precipitate 
me to the bottom. 

"Where the snow met the bluff of the peak 
there seemed to be a break through which one 
might descend to the valley, so I walked over 
to it and followed along the base of the cliff for 
some distance. The drift became steeper and 
steeper as I proceeded. I was within about 
seventy-five feet of the wall when suddenly my 


feet flew out from under me and I found my- 
self sliding downward. 

"None of the snow above was moving, but a 
great mass below had given way and was hurry- 
ing down the mountainside at a terrific rate. 
Unless I could check myself I should be carried 
over the brink of the wall and into the valley 
below, I knew not how many hundred feet. 

'* Frantically, I tried to dig my heels into the 
snow but could not stop. I had fallen just 
beyond reach of the rocks but managed to roll 
over a couple of times, and, seeing a projection a 
short distance below, I seized it as I was passing 
and held on until the snow had slipped out from 
under me. 

"Being at the extreme upper edge of the 
slide, only a few inches of the surface had given 
way, so, after the excitement was over and I 
had scrambled to my feet, I found myself stand- 
ing on the drift while the slide poured over the 
edge of the wall with a sound like escaping 

"Regaining my somewhat startled wits, I be- 
gan to wonder how to get out of my predica- 
ment. To attempt to pass around the mountain 
as originally planned now seemed impossible. 


and should I try to retrace my steps I might 
start another sHde and this time lose my life. 

*'It was about four o'clock. In another hour 
a crust would begin to form and by ten o'clock, 
or half past at the latest, it would be hard 
enough to bear my weight; and then, of course, 
there would be no danger of snowslides. So, a 
prisoner of the snow, I decided to remain there 
until the elements should let me escape. 

"Holding tightly to the rocks, I began, gently 
at first, to tramp the snow and in a few min- 
utes had made a hard, comfortable footing. 
Contrary to general belief, the African twilight 
is quite as long as any twilight. Slowly the 
shadows of the peaks, over which the sun was 
sinking, lengthened and at last darkness fell. 

"One by one the stars came out between the 
fleecy clouds. As the air grew chilly the clouds 
descended and by eight o'clock enveloped me 
in a mist that shrouded the 'arctic' scenery for 
half an hour. Finally, the mist disappeared and 
I saw the clouds floating far below and a clear 
sky above. 

"Now, for the first time, I began to have 
trouble with my eyes. They ached, then they 
burned, and in half an hour it seemed as though 


a bundle of quill toothpicks was being thrust 
into them. I rubbed them with snow and closed 
my lids, but when I opened them again the 
agony was excruciating. A thick smoke seemed 
to obscure the view; then, for the first time, I 
realised that I was becoming snow-blind. 

"How fooHsh I had been not to blacken my 
face with a piece of burnt wood before leaving 
camp, but when I started I had no intention of 
climbing high, and, as I have said, after the 
snow was reached the glare from the drifts 
seemed no more intense than I had found it 
many times before. 

"What if I should become totally blind! 
Here I was, marooned four miles from camp 
and on the opposite side of the mountain. 
Brown would never think of looking for me here. 

"One thing was sure: I must get away and 
try to work out on the big drift to the east of the 
peak before I completely lost my sight. This 
drift was visible from a long distance to any one 
approaching from the south, so if Brown should 
come he could easily see me on the snow a mile 

"Of course there was some danger of stum- 
bling into one of the many crevasses I had 


passed on the way up, but I knew this could not 
happen unless my sight became so poor that 
I could not follow my tracks back. 

*'From time to time I kept testing the crust, 
now forming rapidly, and about ten o'clock con- 
sidered it firm enough to support my weight. 

"While my tracks, made in the afternoon, 
were somewhat obliterated by the melting of the 
snow, they were still visible. By moving slowly 
and straining my eyes it was, at first, not diflS- 
cult to follow them. Every few steps the crust 
gave way, but it was hard enough to prevent a 
slide. So, keeping close to the base of the clifiF, 
I finally reached the spot where I had crossed 
the drift and first struck the rocks. 

"Every minute it was becoming more and 
more difficult to follow the trail; my eyesight 
was failing fast. Gradually, I was obliged to 
lean over farther and farther, until at last I 
dropped to my knees and crawled along. Even 
then it was hard to see the tracks, and finally 
I gave up and began feeling my way along. 

"My hands became numb from cold and my 
knees ached, so I was forced to stop frequently 
to warm up and rest. The bank was almost 
level now, and shortly I began to descend and 


knew that the ridge had been passed. I was 
crawhng out on the great drift to the east of 
the mountain and nearing the packed-snow area 
where no tracks had been left. There was Httle 
chance of crossing it with the expectation of 
finding the trail on the other side. 

*'It was slow, tedious work, groping along in 
the darkness and feeling out each frozen foot- 
print. My hands were sore from shuffling over 
the rough snow, so I put my camera in a pocket 
of my hunting-coat and, slipping my left hand 
into the leather case, used it as a shield while 
sliding along. Every few minutes the shotgun 
that swung from my shoulders worked forward 
and I had to stop to adjust it. 

"So hour after hour I crept along fifteen or 
twenty feet at a time, then stopped to rest. 
The tracks were becoming more and more shal- 
low; evidently the hard snow was not far off. 
Two more spells of crawling, two more rest 
halts, and then, search as hard as I could, not 
another footprint was found; they were not 
there to find. 

"This tract must be crossed regardless of 
consequences. I stood erect and, stepping out 
boldly, tried to walk in as straight a course as 


possible. Only a short distance had been trav- 
ersed when the drift seemed to descend more 
rapidly than I had anticipated. A few more 
steps and it was so steep that there was danger 
of slipping. Was it possible that I had so soon 
wandered from my course? It must be so, for 
certainly I had not passed over such a grade 
that afternoon. 

"I turned and, dropping on my hands and 
knees, started to climb back, but slipped and 
fell upon my face and then began to slide. Roll- 
ing over on my back I tried to dig my heels 
into the hard crust. This swayed my body 
around, and the next instant I was scooting 
over the crust head down. Then the stock of 
my gun cut through the crust and retarded my 
progress enough to swing me back until I lay 
in an upright position, but the next instant the 
stock lost its grip and once more I descended 
head foremost. 

*' Spinning round and round in this manner, 
first to one side, then to the other, I whizzed 
over the snow until the air whistled in my ears, 
and I became so dazed that I could scarcely 
tell when I was right side up and when not. 

"The uppermost thought in my mind was: 


'Where am I going to land, — would it be at 
the bottom of some deep crevasse or out on a 
harmless tract of snow? 

'* Gradually my speed began to slacken, for 
I was nearing the foot of the incline. Working 
the shotgun strap over my shoulder, I gripped 
the gun-barrels in my left hand, seized the 
pistol-grip in the other, and throwing the stock 
of the gun under my right arm, I bore down on 
it with all my weight. The sharp rubber heel- 
plate cut through the crust and finally brought 
me to a full stop. 

"Where could I be? The drift on which I 
had been travelling when I fell extended on 
eastward, fully half a mile beyond the hard 
snow I had attempted to cross. I could not 
have wandered that far before losing my way, 
therefore I must have gone too far to the 
right and tobogganed down the very snow- 
bank that I had circled during the afternoon. 
In other words, I had taken a short cut to the 
exact position I was seeking — the middle of the 
drift where I had first stepped upon the snow. 

"There was nothing to do now but to wait 
for Brown to come, provided he did come. I 
had lost all count of time but felt that it must 


be long after midnight. How penetrating the 
chilly air was, and how my eyes ached, now 
that there was nothing to occupy my attention! 
The rocks could not be very far away, for oc- 
casionally the shrill cry of a restless rock hy- 
rax floated up from below. Once I heard ele- 
phants trumpeting in the heather three miles 

*'And so the weary minutes formed the hours 
until suddenly I thought that I heard a bird 
singing; yes, it was a bird, the twittering of a 
sunbird. Oh, what a welcome sound was that 
heralder of dawn! 

"If Brown could only strike my trail at once 
he would be here in a few hours. I waited until 
I thought that he might be within hearing, then 
at intervals of about half a minute fired three 
shots — the universal signal of distress. The 
echoes roared back from the mountain peak as 
eagerly I listened for an answer, but it did not 
come. I waited another hour, then fired three 
more shots, but still no reply. 

''An inventory of my cartridge-belt showed 
nine cartridges left. The third signal of three 
shots failed also to bring an answer, so, dis- 
couraged and weak from hunger and lack of 


sleep, I started on, feeling with my shotgun 
before taking a step. Every fifteen minutes I 
stopped and fired a single shot. In this way 
I must have travelled for an hour and then 
fired another shot. The echo from the moun- 
tain peak came from behind me, so I knew that 
I had turned too far to the left. Facing about, 
I had taken but a few steps when far oflF in 
the distance came the unmistakable report of a 
rifle. I leaped into the air from joy and began 
shouting and waving my hands, but on second 
thought realised that Brown was yet too far 
off to see me. 

"Fifteen minutes later I fired my last car- 
tridge and received a reply from very near, and 
then I heard Brown shout: 

'"What in thunder are you doing up there? 
If you think I'm coming up after you you're 
jolly well mistaken.' 

"'I can't come down; I'm snow-blind,' I 
shouted back. 

"'Where have you been all this time.^^' he in- 
quired as he came up. 

"'Wandering about on the snow all night; 
and I took a fine toboggan slide to wind up 
with!' I answered. 


(< ( 

You look it. You're as white as a sheet. 
Here, take a hoot of this; and here's a sandwich. 
I thought you would need something when I 
found you.' 

"'How did you find me? What made you 
think I was up here?' I inquired. 

"'Well,' he began 'you remember that you 
had said you wanted to come up here, so, when 
you didn't appear last night and I saw that the 
barometer was missing, I knew you must have 
gone for the snow, as we have taken altitudes at 
lower levels. Soon I struck your tracks on the 
ridge back there and managed to keep them 
fairly well until I heard your shouts, and then 
I started on a run.' 

"He led me back to camp, and after three 
days in the tent my sight gradually returned, 
and then we packed up and descended to the 
forest station." 



WHEN our party arrived at Nimule, my 
first act was to send some letters to 
America, and as I approached the 
post-oflSce I found the following warning posted 
on the door: 

Nimule, 16th November, 1909. 
It is with deep regret that the commissioner 
of the Nile District has to report the murder 
of Mr. Buccura, a big-game hunter, by the 
natives of the Lado Enclave at Katurunga, 
seven hours' march N. W. of Dufili, on the 8th 

Hunters and sportsmen are warned of the 
apparent truculence of these particular natives 
and are cautioned against them. 

(Signed) R. D. Anderson, 

Com. Nile District. 

It was only the week before this report 
reached Nimule that Frank Barrett had started 
into this very country to hunt ivory and to 
trade with the natives. 



On reaching his destination and utterly igno- 
rant of danger, he began a brisk trade with the 
blacks. They appeared to be very friendly. 
Nearly every day they brought him milk, fruit, 
and sweet potatoes. But one morning they 
arrived at his camp earlier than usual, and by 
ten o'clock fully a hundred natives had assem- 
bled. Such a throng made Barrett somewhat 
suspicious, but they all seemed in good spirits, 
and some of them made a few trifling exchanges. 

After a time they formed a wide circle and 
began dancing and singing. Barrett did not 
suspect treachery until he realised that they 
were gradually closing in upon him. Trying 
not to betray any nervousness, he carelessly 
picked up his rifle and began wiping it with 
his handkerchief; finally he sat down in front 
of the tent, with the rifle resting across his 

Presently one of his porters came up and 
asked to have his injured foot examined. As 
Barrett leaned forward a black rushed up from 
behind and snatched his gun; then the treacher- 
ous crowd leaped upon the white man and bore 
him to the ground. In a few moments they had 
tied his hands and fastened one end of a ten- 


foot rope about his neck. Seeing their master 
a prisoner, Barrett's porters bolted into the 
brush; two of them were struck down with clubs 
and spears. 

Barrett was then made to rise and walk. 
Three men, who carried his shotgun, elephant 
rifle, and repeater, walked beside him and fre- 
quently threatened him. A fourth man led 
him by the rope along a well-beaten trail. 

As he plodded along, a captive of villainous 
savages, Barrett wondered what would be the 
outcome. That death would eventually end 
his misery he had little doubt; but in what 
form.^ That was the question uppermost in his 
mind. He thought of the many methods of tor- 
ture that savage brains can devise, and he won- 
dered which one of them it would be his fate 
to draw. 

Barrett hoped that some of his porters had 
escaped and that they would succeed in passing 
through the treacherous country safely and in 
bringing help. But when he realised that that 
would take a week at least he knew that he 
must find some way to outwit his captors. He 
could not speak their language, and therefore 
he could not threaten them with what would 


happen when the British soldiers learned of his 

At about six o'clock, after travelling some fif- 
teen miles, Barrett and his escort arrived at a 
village. The people swarmed out to see him. 
He was led through an opening in the brush 
fence and taken before the chief. 

The chief ordered that he be taken to a grass 
hut. Then Barrett was given a supper of boiled 
mutton and sweet potatoes. With his feet tied 
and his hands bound together in front of him, 
he spent the night lying on a bed of dried 
grass. His arms and legs ached badly and he 
slept but little. When day dawned two women 
brought him a breakfast of boiled bananas 
and mutton and relieved the guards who had 
kept watch all night at the entrance of the 

After breakfast two other guards escorted 
Barrett to the centre of the village, where, 
under a large tree, the chief and a number of 
head men were seated in a circle. Barrett's 
captors placed him before the chief. The vil- 
lagers formed a wide circle on the outside; 
whenever they pressed forward too far guards 
with sticks severely beat them. 


The chief sat on a stool, with his feet on a 
grass mat. A leopard skin was tied about his 
loins, and from his right shoulder was draped 
a blue silk sash that was tied at the waist on 
the left side. His air was important and he 
took full charge of the ceremony. 

Barrett was untied and his trial — for such 
it seemed to be — ^began. What law or laws he 
was charged with violating he could not make 
out. The trial lasted two days; the men who 
had seized him were the chief witnesses and 
gave their testimony both by word and by 
action, dramatically rehearsing the incidents of 
his capture. 

He was well fed and given water whenever 
by signs he indicated that he was thirsty. This 
treatment puzzled him. Was he to receive a 
mild sentence or were the savages preparing 
him for some horrible end? 

During the first part of the trial Barrett paid 
close attention, in the hope of gaining some idea 
of the charge that was made against him, but, 
failing in this, he began to think of some way to 
escape. So far throughout his imprisonment 
he had tried to maintain an air of unconcern, 
in order to make his captors believe that he 


thought himself in no great danger and perhaps 
cause them to relax their vigilance. 

There was small hope of escape from the 
hut in which he spent the nights. His guards 
bound his hands and feet and, moreover, kept 
watch with his guns outside. On the third 
morning they freed only his legs. After that 
they tied a bark rope ten feet long round his 
neck and led him outside before a throng of 
shouting men, women, and children. He thought 
that the death sentence had been pronounced 
and that the crowd had gathered to witness 
his execution. 

The guards led him through the shouting, 
jeering throng, out of the village, and down a 
trail. After a time the people who had fol- 
lowed began to turn back. Barrett knew then 
that, for the present at least, no harm was com- 
ing to him; for if he were to be killed the vil- 
lagers would certainly wish to be present. 

All that day Barrett and his guards travelled 
northward. They stopped for the midday meal 
at one village and at nightfall reached another 
one. There Barrett's guards turned him over 
to new guards, who took the rifles and watched 
the hut in which he lay bound. For two more 


days the white man was kept moving at the 
rate of about fifteen or twenty miles a day. 
The apparent object of all this travel was to ex- 
hibit him to the people; at every village there 
was a crowd collected that followed for several 
miles, jeering and taunting the prisoner. 

On the evening of the third day Barrett was 
placed in a hut that was evidently a storehouse, 
for piled against the sides were heaps of sweet 
potatoes and husked corn that had lately been 
harvested; here and there were gmss baskets 
and huge earthen pots filled with meal and 
tempting sweet potatoes. Large pieces had been 
chipped from the rims of several jars, and the 
edges were rough and jagged. It occurred to 
Barrett that he could saw the rope from his 
bound hands on the edges of the broken crockery. 

After a supper of boiled seeds that reminded 
him of a flaxseed poultice the guards, as usual, 
tied his feet together and bound his hands in 
front of him. 

It was after midnight before the villagers 
stopped their singing and dancing, a nightly 
performance. Barrett could hear the guards 
moving about outside, but they had ceased 
talking and evidently were becoming sleepy. 



Carefully he crawled on hands and knees until 
he reached the pots; then he felt about for 
one with a sharp, broken rim. By sitting down 
and dragging the jar over his feet he got it 
between his knees and, gripping it tight, began 
to saw the rope on the rough edges of the 
broken part. At first he worked slowly for 
fear of making a noise, but he found that he 
could bear down quite hard without producing 
any sound. 

From time to time he twisted his little fingers 
round to find out what progress he was making; 
he was delighted at the rapidity with which 
the dry bark yielded. At intervals he stopped 
to listen for the guards. In fifteen or twenty 
minutes his hands suddenly dropped on each 
side of the pot with a jerk; the rope had parted. 
In ten minutes more he had untied his feet, 
and was at least "fighting free." 

His first move was to crawl to a pile of sweet 
potatoes; from it he selected four large ones 
and tucked them into the front of his shirt; 
then he crept to the entrance of the hut and 
peeped out. The darkness inside made it easy 
to see into the starlit night. 

One of the guards sat leaning against the 


side of the hut, asleep or dozing; the elephant 
rifle stood by his side. The other guard was 
about ten feet away, with his back to the hut. 
Barrett cautiously reached out and drew the 
rifle to him. For a long time the active sentry 
walked back and forth past the entrance; occa- 
sionally he stopped and gazed about. Barrett, 
crouching in the shadow inside, waited for him 
to come within reach. 

It was fully half an hour before he came 
close to the door and, turning, stood with his 
back toward the entrance, not six feet away. 
Instantly Barrett sprang forward and dealt 
him a stunning blow over the head with the 
rifle. He sank to the ground like a stone, 
and the repeater fell from his hands. Barrett 
snatched it up, wheeled about, and found that 
the other man had been awakened by the 
scuffle and was on his knees fumbling about 
for his missing weapon. Barrett swung at him, 
but the guard dodged the blow and darted be- 
hind the hut. 

Barrett was half-way to the entrance of the 
kraal before the frightened savage regained his 
wits and began to yell. As Barrett pulled 
away the brush that at night always blocks 


the entrance of the kraal he glanced back and 
saw the villagers swarming from their huts. 
He fired a shot in their direction, in order to 
hold them in check, and in a few seconds more 
cleared the opening and started down the trail. 
The war drums and shouts of the excited sav- 
ages spurred him to top speed. 

For fully a mile he kept the course; then he 
turned ofiF into the brush and paused to get his 
breath. The blacks had stopped shouting, but 
the war drums were still beating, and Barrett 
knew that the trails must be swarming with 

During the preceding days of travel he had 
carefully observed the direction in which he 
was being taken and had learned that the 
general course was north and parallel to the 
Nile, which lay to the west. He now had hope 
of reaching the river within two or three days 
and of intercepting the regular mail-boat that 
plied once a week between Butiaba and Nimule. 
Once out of the hostile country, he would soon 
fall in with friendly "Shenzies," who would 
surely give him assistance. 

He climbed a tree and got the points of 
the compass from the southern cross; then he 


struck out again, moving cautiously. Wherever 
it was possible, he followed game trails and 
disused paths. His rifle was cocked and ready 
for instant use, but he had determined to fire 
it only as a last resort; he meant to husband 
the four remaining cartridges for an emergency. 

At first he skulked along like a hunted ani- 
mal, stopping to scrutinise every dark object; 
but as he proceeded farther and farther he 
gained courage and travelled faster. When 
dawn broke, he judged that he was fifteen miles 
from his captors. 

He spent the day in a dense papyrus swamp, 
and ventured into the open only long enough 
to gather a little fire-wood. When darkness 
set in he built a fire in the thick green papy- 
rus, roasted and ate two sweet potatoes, and 
then, making sure of his bearings, again struck 

The second night's travel was without inci- 
dent. He came upon two villages but circled 
them safely. By daylight he had covered an- 
other fifteen or twenty miles and knew now 
that he must be near friendly natives. But he 
thought it wise to keep in hiding for another 
day at least. 


From the edge of the ten-foot elephant-grass 
where he hid, he saw plenty of hartebeest and 
water-buck. Although he longed for fresh meat, 
he dared not risk a shot at the animals. Late 
in the afternoon he was awakened by the 
voices of women who were evidently gathering 
wood near by. As soon as it was dark enough 
he cooked his last sweet potatoes, and when he 
had eaten them he struck out once more on 
his journey. 

That night's travel was the hardest he had 
experienced. There were many lagoons and 
swamps of papyrus, and in order to get round 
one of them he had to tramp fully five miles 
out of his way. When morning came he felt 
sure that he had gone less than ten miles in a 
direct line. 

As soon as the sun rose he climbed a tree 
and saw a small banana grove about a mile 
away. He was hungry, and the good luck he 
had had so far made him bold. He was walk- 
ing somewhat carelessly along a trail toward 
the grove when, in a sharp bend, he came face 
to face with a woman carrying several gourds 
of milk. A boy about ten years old was walk- 
ing behind her. 


Instantly Barrett covered the woman with 
the rifle. The frightened creature dropped the 
gourds and began to sob; the boy turned and 
bolted down the trail. 

A moment later the woman spoke, and Bar- 
rett recognised a friendly tongue. At once he 
explained his situation, and the woman turned 
and walked with him down the path. Suddenly 
the war dri\ms began beating; the boy had 
given the alarm. Terrifying as the sound had 
once been, it was now to Barrett the sweetest 

In a remarkably short time the warriors, 
armed with spears and big shields, appeared; 
but when they saw Barrett returning with the 
woman, who threw up her hands and shouted 
to them, they stopped. In a few minutes more 
Barrett was telling his story to the chief. In 
an hour the white man was eating the first 
substantial meal that he had had in three days. 

He rested until noon and then set out with 
a guide for the Nile, which was distant only a 
short day's march. Soon after dark that eve- 
ning he reached a village on the bank of the 
river, and stayed there until the mail-boat 
arrived, two days later, and took him aboard. 


On arriving at Nimule, Barrett found, as he 
had expected, that most of his porters had ar- 
rived safely. They had found the bodies of 
two of their companions in the brush and had 
spread a report that he also had been killed. 
Twelve of his men never returned and un- 
doubtedly were killed by the savages. 



THE Roosevelt African expedition en- 
countered many baboons. We found 
them in troops of hundreds frequenting 
both the rocky country and the bush- veldt. As 
soon as an ape caught sight of us he gave the 
alarm by uttering a warning bark; at once the 
whole army would scurry off to the cliffs. 
Without showing the slightest fear of falling, 
they would perch a hundred feet or more above 
our heads, with their tails hanging over the 
edge of the cliff in an extremely ludicrous man- 
ner. It was interesting to see a mother bound- 
ing from rock to rock with her young one cling- 
ing to her breast or perched on her back. 
When she finally reached the cliffs she would 
sit in a most human manner and hold her off- 
spring in her arms. 

We found their footprints in the mud along 
the waterways and pools and in the sand and 
dirt. As bands of the animals frequented the 
same general locality until they had cause to 



leave, they wore well-defined trails about the 
base of the cliffs and in the thick jungle along 
the streams. 

While we were passing through Uganda on 
our way to the lake country, I left camp one 
afternoon to set a line of traps for small mam- 
mals. A deep pool of clear water tempted 
me. I undressed and, leaving my clothes, bag 
of traps, and rifle on the high bank, plunged 
in for a swim. Finally, tiring of what was a 
rare diversion in this generally waterless tract 
of Central Africa, I climbed out. Scrambling 
up the bank, I poked my head over the edge 
and found myself face to face with a huge 
baboon. The animal was standing beside my 
belongings. Evidently he had just discovered 
them. I have often wondered what he would 
have done with my clothes had I not disturbed 
him. Upon seeing me he burst into a discon- 
certing guffaw and then wheeled about and 
scurried away. 

The troop, of which he seemed to be the 
leader, was following close behind; when he 
gave the alarm they took the cue and stam- 
peded. I watched them bound over the hun- 
dred yards of open country, cross the creek. 


and clamber up a tree that grew at the foot of 
a perpendicular bank. From there they ran 
out on a limb and jumped to the ground. The 
stream of dropping baboons looked like an ani- 
mated cataract. The instant they struck the 
ground they were hidden by the tall grass, but 
I caught sight of them again as they paused for 
a few seconds at an opening a little farther on 
to look back and give me a derisive bark. 

Although we heard that baboons would some- 
times attack a person, there was only one au- 
thentic case that came to our notice of baboons 
having actually killed a person. The father of 
one of Colonel Roosevelt's trackers had been 
killed by baboons. His body was horribly man- 
gled and torn; near by was a dead ape pierced 
with a spear, so probably the attack was not 

An Englishman who was the owner of a large 
estate in British East Africa once had a narrow 
escape from baboons. It was his habit to rise 
early and take a long ride before breakfast. At 
daylight one morning he mounted his horse 
and, throwing his rifle across the saddle in front 
of him, started out on a tour of inspection. He 
had travelled possibly three miles without seeing 


more than the usual number of zebras, harte- 
beests, wildebeests, and Grant's and Thomson's 
gazelles, when suddenly, upon issuing from a 
bit of brush-veldt, he came to the edge of a 
deep ravine through which, during the rainy 
season, a stream had flowed. 

A much -worn and broken sandstone cliff that 
varied from five to fifty feet in height capped 
the top of the gorge on both sides. The steep 
banks were strewn thickly with boulders and 
great masses of rock that had broken from their 
foundations and rolled down the hillside. Here 
and there were bushes and small trees, and in 
the bottom, some two hundred feet below, the 
dry creek bed was filled with foliage. 

The beautiful sunrise, the magnificent scenery, 
and the clear, crisp air led the Englishman to 
tie his horse to a tree some distance from the 
cliff and to sit down by a bush overlooking the 

Suddenly he saw a slight movement among 
the rocks far down the ravine on the opposite 
side of the gorge. Through his binoculars he 
recognised the animal as a baboon. Then ap- 
peared another and another, until the cliff 
seemed to be alive with the creatures. 


To the Englishman, baboons were fascinating 
animals. So from pure curiosity he stepped 
behind the bush and awaited their coming. 
Stopping now and then to turn over a stone in 
search of mice and insects, while the young ones 
frisked and capered about like children in a 
frolic, the baboons worked their way slowly along 
through the rocks. Closer and closer they came 
until they were nearly opposite him. 

For fully half an hour he watched them play- 
ing and feeding; the antics of the young ones 
were so amusing that several times he nearly 
betrayed his presence by laughing aloud. 

A young baboon was busy overturning stones 
when a mischievous companion sneaked up be- 
hind and grabbed it by the tail and the two en- 
gaged in a friendly tussle. Then off they went 
over the rocks, and as they passed through the 
troop other youngsters joined in the chase, 
which ended in a grand rough-and-tumble scrim- 

No sooner had this scuffle subsided and the 
participants returned to their respective moth- 
ers than a young baboon would start something 
going in another section of the throng. 

During one of these scenes an accident hap- 


pened to one of the youngsters that involved 
the EngKshman in the performance. 

Two young baboons were engaged in a strug- 
gle on the opposite side of the gorge. Suddenly 
they broke away; the one who had been getting 
the worst of the struggle turned quickly and 
started to run. At that moment a third animal 
rushed up and headed it off. Seeing that its 
escape was blocked from that quarter, the lit- 
tle fellow again turned and tried to dodge past 
its first antagonist. The somewhat larger and 
stronger animal was too quick for it, however, 
and the two came together violently on the very 
brink of the thirty -foot precipice. 

The force of the impact sent the young ape 
toppKng over the edge of the cliff. Its little 
arms reached out in a vain effort to find a grip 
and the next instant it was falhng through the 
air to the jagged rocks below. 

There was a faint thud as the little body 
struck; then it lay motionless. 

The Englishman snatched his rifle and, run- 
ning along the edge of the cHff, found a place 
to descend. The instant he appeared, the troop 
caught sight of him and bounded up into the 
high rocks, where they sat chattering and scold- 


ing, unaware of the accident that had hap- 
pened to one of their number. 

Soon he was standing by the side of the 
young baboon. A hasty examination showed 
that no bones had been broken by the fall. 
The Englishman picked it up and, carrying it 
to a pool of water in the bottom of the ravine, 
bathed its head. In a few moments it had so 
far regained consciousness that it sat up and 
looked about in a stupid manner. 

Just what to do with it was a question. As 
it was in no condition to take care of itself, the 
Englishman decided to take it home and care 
for it until it had recovered enough to be given 
its liberty. 

He removed his belt, and, after cutting a hole 
in the strap with a knife, he buckled it about the 
little baboon's neck and started off. 

Everything went well until he was almost at 
the top of the cliff. Then his prisoner suddenly 
gave an ear-piercing scream and leaped from 
his arms. But he had a firm grip on the strap 
and so, when the baboon struck the ground and 
started off, he brought it up with a sudden jerk. 
There it stood for a second, gazing into the 
man's face. Then it drew back its lips, tugged 


violently at the tether, and began to scream at 
the top of its lungs. The Englishman attempted 
to comfort the youngster, but the more he tried, 
the louder it screamed. 

The other baboons now worked themselves 
into a frenzy. Suddenly the whole troop came 
streaming down from the clifiF. That they were 
actually charging did not enter the man's mind. 

"Well," he thought, "if those animals think 
they can take care of this little fellow, I will 
give them the chance." 

He unbuckled the strap, and off the young- 
ster bounded over the rocks toward the onrush- 
ing baboons. 

One that was evidently its mother ran up. 
The little one threw its arms about her body 
and was borne off, clinging to her under-side. 

It was natural to suppose, now that she had 
regained her baby, the other baboons would be 
satisfied. But no! On they came, as furious 
and excited as ever. 

When the huge *'dog" baboon that was lead- 
ing the charge showed no inclination to halt, 
the Englishman realised his danger. He saw 
that he stood no chance against a hundred or 
more of the infuriated creatures, each one of 


which had canine teeth as long and as sharp as 
those of a mastiff dog. 

It was fully a hundred feet to the top of the 
cliff. There was nothing for him to do except 
to look for a place in which to hide. 

At intervals the soft, sandstone ledge had 
cracked and split open and the action of the 
weather, together with the gradual settling of 
the rock, had caused the fissures to spread into 
varying widths. A V-shaped recess, not more 
than three feet wide at the entrance and run- 
ning back into the rocks some fifteen feet, was 
the nearest available refuge that he could find. 
The baboons, widely scattered when they first 
began charging, concentrated as they drew near. 
When the Englishman ducked into the crevice, 
cocked his rifle, and stood waiting to meet their 
onslaught, they formed a solid mass of screaming, 
howling demons. For a few seconds they dis- 
appeared from view; the next instant they came 
bounding over the rocks hke a pack of famished 

When they were within ten feet of the open- 
ing, the EngHshman fired. They jumped aside 
and one of them rolled down the hill. The oth- 
ers scattered and ducked out of sight. But soon 


they began to reappear from behind the rocks; 
they stood raihng and bawHng. The bedlam 
of noises seemed to come from the very walls 
themselves, and the drums of the man's ears 
seemed on the point of bursting. 

Suddenly sand and dirt began to shower 
down from overhead. Looking up, he was hor- 
rified to discover that baboons were swarm- 
ing on the rocks above him. On either side, 
along the opening, two rows of hideous faces 
showed themselves. Now and then an animal 
too closely pressed by those behind would 
spring to the opposite side to keep itself from 
falling into the fissure. The grotesque figures 
jumping back and forth were like caricatures 
of boys playing at leap-frog. One particularly 
inquisitive baboon, which, perhaps, had so far 
been robbed of a view of the captive, could not 
restrain its curiosity, so it reached forward, 
seized a companion by the scruff of the neck, 
and hauled the animal back out of the way. 

The Englishman knew that if any one of 
the animals should muster courage to jump 
down, or to rush in from the front, the other 
baboons would immediately fly to its assistance. 
With the idea of intimidating them, he raised 


his rifle and swept it along the Hne of heads. 
But the agile creatures were too quick; they all 
dodged back without being struck. 

Then the baboons in front charged, and one 
of them, either intentionally, or from being 
crowded by those behind it, actually gained 
the entrance to the crevice. Just in time the 
Englishman turned his rifle on it. 

The troop scrambled away but immediately 
came back and stood guard at the entrance. 
With only three more cartridges left, the pris- 
oner thought it advisable to hold his fire. 

In front of the crevice the animals were 
jumping up and down on all fours. Now and 
then a ferocious beast would rush up to a bush 
or a small tree, grasp it, and shake it furiously. 

When the animals behind slowly and uncon- 
sciously crowded the others forward, the En- 
glishman would move back until they drew dan- 
gerously near. Then he would lunge forward 
and let out a piercing yell, and they would tum- 
ble over each other in a wild scramble to safety. 
But in a few seconds they would be back again, 
as thick and pugnacious as ever. 

The baboons overhead were far more aggres- 
sive than the others; they kept stretching their 


long, skinny arms down at the man until they 
were frightened back by a swing of the rifle. 
Almost invariably the baboons in front took 
advantage of these feints to make another sally. 
What with the troop on the roof and the troop 
at the front door, the Englishman was fully 
occupied for more than an hour. 

At last the baboons began to lose interest; 
one by one they left the throng and began 
hunting about in the rocks for food. Occa- 
sionally one would come tearing back to resume 
hostilities, but these sudden outbursts of pas- 
sion were short-lived; soon the animal would 
again disappear. 

A solitary old female, lacking two toes on 
her left front foot and with the scars of many 
battles on her face, was the last to leave. She 
was trying to persuade the others not to give 
up the fight; she turned and chattered to them. 
But finally she, too, lost heart, and followed the 
others down through the rocks and into the 
fringe of trees to the bottom of the gully. 

When the animals were out of sight the En- 
glishman crawled from his refuge and quickly 
climbed to the top of the cliff. Then he mounted 
his horse and returned to the house, thoroughly 


convinced that the best thing to do under all 
circumstances is to mind your own business 
and to let nature take its course. 



SOON after the British took over British 
East Africa a large nuraber of EngHshmen 
emigrated to the new colony and took up 
homesteads. Among this number was a family 
consisting of father, mother, Fritz a boy of 
eighteen, and a second son of fourteen. They 
settled on a beautiful strip of veldt at the west 
side of the Mwa Hills. 

Naturally, the first duty of a settler is to build 
a suitable farmhouse, and, as the owner of the 
new farm was a carpenter by trade, this task 
was made much easier than it is to most home- 
steaders. Labour, with the exception of the 
unskilled and slow natives, was expensive and 
hard to get, and, as the family was of limited 
means, every member helped in building the 

But let Fritz tell the story as he told it to me: 

"It was Saturday afternoon, and we had 

all been working hard that week. Father and 

mother mixed the mud mortar and laid the 



stones for the foundation of the house, while 
my brother and I, with the stone-boat and a 
span of oxen, hauled the stones from a cliff a 
half mile away. 

*'We had made four trips that day and were 
well tired out, for it was no easy task prying 
up the heavy stones and rolling them down to 
where the boat stood at the edge of the veldt. 
The sun had been beating down upon us as 
only a tropical sun can shine, and the perspira- 
tion soaked our clothes and caught the rising 
dust and dirt, so that when the afternoon was 
over we were two tired and grimy boys. We 
had been trying hard to take out another full 
load of stones before dark, but I soon saw it 
would be impossible. 

''As my brother, who was not very strong, 
appeared somewhat overcome by the heat and 
the hard work, I told him that he might return 
to the tent — our temporary home — and I would 
put the half load on the stone-boat and follow. 

"By the time I had finished loading the boat 
Jim had disappeared, and I started for the 
oxen, grazing on the veldt several hundred yards 
away. I yoked them up to the boat just as the 
sun went down behind the hills and, with a 


crack of the big bull- whip, started them toward 
home. They needed no guiding when once 
headed toward the kraal, and, as their normal 
gait was not much more than a mile and a half 
an hour, I seated myself on the stones and put 
in the time gazing at the scenery. 

"About half-way between the quarry and 
our tent was a mass of rocks and boulders on 
the hillside, many of them the size of a house. 
These crags were the home of a little band of 
klipspringers that I had discovered soon after 
our arrival in the country, and we had decided 
to protect them as much as possible, for it was 
a pleasure to watch them scampering about the 
rocks. For want of something better to do, I 
began to scan the crags in hope of seeing some 
of the tiny antelope at play. And, sure enough, 
there they were, eight of them, some feeding 
quietly in the grass-plots among the rocks, 
others standing like statues on the tops of 
boulders, gazing at me. 

" Suddenly two of them took to their feet and 
bounded up the rocks with remarkable agility 
and the rest quickly followed. When well in 
the cliffs they stopped on points of vantage and 
looked down at something a little to their right. 


"I knew that they had not taken fright at 
me, for many times they had allowed the oxen 
to pass within a hundred yards without paying 
the slightest attention to the team, so I began 
to search for the cause of their alarm. 

"I was not long in discovering it, for suddenly 
a lioness appeared among the rocks, then an- 
other and another, until, in all, four lionesses 
and one fine, shaggy, black-maned lion had 
come into view, all slowly sauntering out of 
the rocks for an evening's hunt. Their actions 
showed plainly that they had seen the bullocks, 
for every few seconds one or another of them 
would stop and gaze at us, while the oxen, 
innocent of any danger, plodded onward. 

"To hurry them was almost certain to pro- 
voke an attack, especially if the lions were in 
the least hungry, so I simply let the animals 
jog along at their leisure. As soon as the lions 
emerged from the rocks they followed along 
parallel with me but a little behind and about 
three hundred yards distant. Although they 
seemed in no hurry, they were slowly overtaking 
the team. 

"The wind was blowing from them toward 
me, but the lions' scent had been carried behind 


the oxen, so that they did not catch it. Sud- 
denly, however, one of the Uonesses crouched 
low and began to creep toward the team in 
true catlike fashion, and an instant later a 
second one followed her example. I then real- 
ised that they meant trouble, but I had no time 
to reflect, for at that moment one of the oxen 
stopped short, threw up his head, and sniffed 
the air; then, getting the scent, they both broke 
into an awkward, swinging shuflBe for the 

"Over the rough, uneven ground we tore — 
bumpety-bump, I clung to the stones to keep 
from being thrown off and tightly gripped the 
big bull-whip, my only weapon of defence. 
There was no use in trying to guide or control 
the oxen; in fact, I had no idea of doing so, 
even if I could, for under the circumstances they 
could not get back to the kraal any too soon to 
suit me, even if they did run away. All that I 
could do was to cling to the stone-boat and await 
the lions' attack. 

"It was a short race. Those who have seen a 
lion capture its prey know too well what little 
chance there would be for a runaway team of 
oxen hitched to a loaded stone-boat. 


"The foremost lioness charged from right 
angles, and when within fifteen feet of the boat 
sprang into the air and landed squarely on the 
shoulders of the near bullock, dug her hind 
claws into his side, threw her front paws over 
his back, and buried her teeth in his neck. 
The poor creature went to the ground as if 
shot and, rolling over on his side, bawled in 
the most pitiful manner. By this time a second 
honess had rushed in from behind, and I turned 
just as she was about to spring — at me, to all 
appearances; but she leaped clear over my 
head and landed squarely upon the back of the 
bullock already down. 

"The fall of the wounded bullock brought the 
stone-boat to a halt, and the frantic struggles 
of its frightened companion broke the yoke. 
Away he went over the veldt just as the third 
lioness came charging up. She, too, was coming 
straight for me; but, seeing the loose ox that 
had veered off, she changed her course for him, 
and as she passed me not ten feet away, I 
brought the bull-whip over her back with all my 
force. Without altering her course or slacken- 
ing her speed in the least, she turned her head 
and showed her contempt by snarling as she shot 


past. A second more and she had overtaken 
her prey and pulled it to the ground. 

*'The two other lionesses had killed their 
bullock, and for the first time I realised that 
they were likely at any moment to attack me; 
so I jumped from the stone-boat and bolted for 
home as fast as I could run. I had gone but 
a few steps when I looked back and saw the 
black and shaggy-maned lion coming behind at 
a terrific pace. There was no mistake this time; 
he surely was after me, for there were no cattle 
in the line of his charge. 

''It was useless for me to try to outrun him, 
and to continue would only give him courage. 
Realising this, I turned and faced the brute, 
and as he came to within a hundred feet of me I 
cracked the bull- whip as loud as I could. This 
had the effect of stopping him at fifteen paces 
from me. And there we stood, facing each 
other like two gladiators, the lion lashing his 
tail, wrinkling his nose, and snarling, while I 
kept cracking the whip in his very face and 
backing off slowly. 

"The big cat seemed to lack the courage to 
follow up his attack but stood there threatening 
me until I had gained several paces on him. 


Then he crouched low, his shoulder-blades pro- 
truding above his back, and slunk off to the 
right in an effort to get behind me. I kept 
facing him, however, and, finding himself baffled, 
he stood for a second, then came for me like a 
shot, growling hoarsely, his jaws wide open. 

'*At the very instant that he was about to 
spring the whip-lash all but cut him in the face, 
which again brought him to an erect position. 
Once more I began backing toward home, and 
again gained several yards before he came to his 
full senses. He was getting accustomed to the 
harmless crack of the bull-whip, and I knew 
that soon it would have no effect upon him. 

"At his present rate of progress it would be 
but a few minutes before he would get within 
springing distance, and if once he sprang at me 
I should be as helpless as a mouse in the jaws of 
a cat. 

"I was debating as to whether I should make 
a rush at him in an attempt to intimidate him 
when I heard a shot from behind me. The lion 
fell to the ground mortally wounded, but raised 
himself upon his forefeet and, growling sav- 
agely, began to bite at his side. 

"Instantly I turned to run and saw father. 


some three hundred yards away, spring from a 
kneeling position, snatch from the ground beside 
him a second rifle, and start toward me. We 
ran for each other at the top of our speed, and 
as we met father handed me a rifle, and I turned 
back to make war upon my enemies. 

"At the sound of the shot the two lionesses 
had left their kill and were slowly sauntering 
off, stopping occasionally to look back at us. 
The other, however, was still tearing away at 
the dead bullock. We ran up to within a hun- 
dred yards of her, and while I drew bead on 
her father began shooting at the two farther 

"My first shot went wild, but as the lioness 
turned to run I caught her with my second bul- 
let back of the shoulders but too high to be 
fatal. Instantly she wheeled and came for us, 
grunting and growling in a most awe-inspiring 
manner. Father in the meantime had got in two 
shots at his lionesses and had wounded one, but, 
seeing my lioness charging, he also began shoot- 
ing at her. The bullets seemed to have no effect 
whatever, for although we could see that we 
were hitting her, she never slackened her speed. 
On she came until within about sixty yards. 


when she slowed down, her head sank to the 
ground, and she fell dead. 

"Instantly we turned our rifles upon father's 
wounded lioness. She was more than three hun- 
dred yards away by this time, and making to- 
ward a clump of thick thorn-bushes. Before she 
reached it, however, a bullet from father's rifle 
struck her in the hind leg. She disappeared in 
the thicket, badly wounded. 

*'The back of the black-maned lion had been 
injured by the first shot fired, and during the 
fight with the other two he had been growling 
and snarling and trying hard to reach us, but 
we saw that there was no danger to be feared 
from him. 

"Father suggested that, since he had tried 
his best to make a meal of me, it was my right 
to finish him; so I advanced to close range and 
planted a ball in his heart. Even then it was 
several seconds before he threw up his head, 
gave several gasps, and fell dead. 

"A wounded lion in a bush is a dangerous 
adversary, even in broad daylight, and in the 
dusk of the evening a man would be foolhardy 
indeed to attack one, so we decided to let that 
one remain imtil morning. 


"It was then that I learned how father 
chanced to appear on the scene at the critical 
moment. My brother, on leaving me, instead 
of going directly home, had stopped at the edge 
of the rocks to rest. He had seen one of the 
lions come out of the cliff and had hurried 
home to give the alarm. 

"We skinned the two lions that night and 
found the third one dead in the thicket the fol- 
lowing morning. Although we watched at the 
bullock carcasses that afternoon and the next 
morning, hoping that the lioness that we had 
seen escape, as well as the fifth one, which, dur- 
ing the thick of the fight, I had lost sight of 
and which probably went back into the rocks, 
might return to the body, but they disappointed 
us. We were, however, quite satisfied with three 
out of the five." 







o J^ 

%.^ . 

:♦• ^^^X'-wssj^^^'^-^^ ->] 

1^ • 

1.0 v\ 

.^ ^--^^ 


•^<^ 4^^ * 
v-^;^ «