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Sport and Adventure 
in the Indian Jungle 

Sport and Adventure 

in the Indian Jungle 


, , 9 

With Illustrations from Original Drawings and Photographs 



All rights reserved 




THE following stories originally appeared in the columns of the 
Calcutta Statesman, and are reproduced in their present form with 
the permission of the proprietors of that journal. 

Most of the incidents narrated fell within the personal experience 
of the writer, much of whose professional life was spent in the 
jungle tracts of India. Where his description of the habits of wild 
beasts differs from that of accepted authorities, he can only plead 
that he has recorded the facts as they appeared to him at the 
time of their occurrence, and that he does not pretend to a scientific 
knowledge of the Indian fauna. 


LONDON, March, 1904. 








5. PEER Bux, THE "MUST'' ELEPHANT .... 38 


7. ADVENTURE WITH A BOA ...... 63 







14. TREED BY A WILD BUFFALO . . . . .112 


1 6. A WATER HOOPOO 130 






22. THE "AHNAY PAYEE" 170 

23. His FIRST BISON 180 



24. THE MONKEY-EATERS . . . . . . .186 




28. THE "DHOLE" 214 



31. A BIG SNAKE 243 





37. THE BANDYPORE MAN-EATER . . . . .281 

38. STRANGE PETS ........ 289 





ALL Mysore was agog when it was known that the 
Heir-presumptive of the mighty Empire of the 
Kaiser-i-Hind was to visit that province. What 
sort of a reception should we give him ? Was it to 
be the usual review of troops in garrison, triumphal 
arches, fireworks, and illuminations, the reiteration 
of sights which must have palled on him long ere he 
reached far-off Mysore ? It was a happy thought 
indeed which fixed on a hunt of the leviathans of 
the forest as worthy the attention of our illustrious 
visitor. Sanderson, the hathee (elephant) king, was 
amongst us. He had just returned from his big 
catch of six hundred elephants in one lot on the 
Garo hills, and was now in charge of the kheddah, or 
elephant-catching operations, in Mysore. To him 
was entrusted the task of arranging a drive and 
capturing a herd of wild elephants in the presence 


of the Royal Duke. The Mysore table-land is 
almost denuded of jungle in the east, north, and 
centre. Along its western and southern borders 
primeval forests clothe the deep valleys of the 
Shayadri or Neilgherry mountains, and in this 
canopy of green, herds of wild elephants have 
disported themselves unmolested, from time im- 
memorial. The Belligherry Rungan hills form an 
outlying mass of the Neilgherries, on the south- 
eastern frontier of Mysore, and, rising to a height 
of nearly five thousand feet, are clad with dense 
vegetation. Save for a solitary planter who had 
made a home in these solitudes, they were thus 
far untouched by the ruthless hand of the coffee- 
planter. Here was the favourite feeding-ground 
of numerous herds of elephants ; and here was 
the spot chosen for the great " drive " to be 
witnessed by the grandson of our Queen. 

Mysore's first glimpse of its illustrious visitor so 
shocked its anticipations of the Royal advent, 
that I am tempted to describe it. It was on 
a cold, misty morning in November that the 
special train conveying his Royal Highness steamed 
into the Pettah station. All official Bangalore and 
a large sprinkling of the native population were 
assembled there to do him honour, although his 
stay was to be for only a few minutes on the 
way to the capital and thence to the scene of the 
elephant-hunt. The train drew up, and all was 
expectation to catch a glimpse of the Prince. My 
native friends expected to see a personage decked 
out in cloth of gold and resplendent with jewels of 


inestimable value, such as they were accustomed to 
see among their own rajas; or at least a gorgeous 
uniform with cocked hat and feathers, and breast 
blazing with orders ; and it took a good deal to 
convince them that the tall, slight figure which 
after some delay emerged from a saloon carriage, 
dressed in a pink silk night-suit, with naked feet 
thrust into slippers, and bare head, and alighted 
on the platform rubbing his sleep-heavy eyes, 
was the Royal visitor ! The Prince had been 
asleep, and was awakened to have his cup of 
early tea. After he had partaken of this beverage, 
however, the Dewan (Chief Minister) of Mysore, 
Sir Sheshadri Iyer, and one or two others were 
presented to him. " What/* said a native friend, 
" can this be his Royal Highness ? No chobdars 
(silence-keepers), no mace-bearers, no guards, no 
standards, no firing of guns, nothing to distinguish 
him from the common ? " 

The kheddahs, or elephant-traps, were constructed 
in a heavily-wooded valley at the foot of the 
Belligherry Rungan hills, fifty-six miles from 
the railway terminus at Mysore city. For fifty 
miles the Maharaja of Mysore a skilful whip 
drove his illustrious guest in his four-in-hand up 
to the edge of the forest, whence saddle horses 
conveyed the party to the platform overlooking the 
massive drop-gate which was to close the entrance 
of the kheddah, once the herd of elephants had 
been driven into it. The kheddah had been con- 
structed months before. A short description of this 
elephant- trap may not be uninteresting. During 


the dry months from January to May, when fodder 
is scarce on the plains, the elephants retire to the 
upper slopes of the hills, where green food is more 
abundant. With the first rains in June the herds 
seek the rich pastures at the foot of the hills, and 
make occasional raids into the neighbouring grain 
fields. During the absence of the elephants (from 
January to May) a site for the trap is selected at 
the foot of the hills, in some low, heavily-wooded 
valley known to be one of their favourite resorts. 
Plenty of forage, such as they love, and an ample 
supply of water are the great desiderata, and a 
ploughing or two, and planting with coarse cereals 
make the locality chosen more enticing. Three 
circular stockades, the largest one hundred and 
fifty acres in extent, the next one acre, and the 
smallest half an acre, with an opening from the 
largest into the second, and from that into the third, 
and all surrounded by a ditch eight feet deep and 
six feet wide, form the kheddah. Diverging lines 
of stockade and trench radiate from the circumfer- 
ence of the largest enclosure, and stretch across the 
width of the valley. When the herds come down 
from the hills and enter the top of the valley they 
gradually feed towards the lower end, till stopped by 
the diverging trench and turned towards the open- 
ing of the largest enclosure. Once within this en- 
closure the herd is practically secured, the entrance 
being guarded by a line of beaters, who frighten 
away the animals should they make any attempt 
to return. Here the elephants may be left till such 
time as it is convenient to begin the drive into the 


second or securing stockade. This large enclosure 
must be plentifully supplied with food and water, 
so that the beasts may not be in want of either 
during the time they are kept within the encircling 

It was at this stage of the proceedings that the 
Prince and his party arrived on the scene to witness 
the drive into the second or securing stockade. Plat- 
forms high up among the branches of the trees, and 
overlooking the trap-door closing the entrance to 
the second enclosure, had been erected for the 
spectators, and to these the party was silently 
conducted. A cord connected with the arrange- 
ment for closing the great doors was placed in the 
hand of the Prince, and he was requested to give 
it a slight tug as soon as the last of the herd had 
passed from the first into the second enclosure. A 
herd of thirty-seven elephants had been quietly 
enticed into the largest enclosure about a fortnight 
before, and now at a preconcerted signal the drive 
was to begin. Boomay Gowda, the famous Sholigay 
tracker, of whom Sanderson gives an interesting 
account in his " Thirteen Years Among the Wild 
Beasts of India," had charge of this delicate opera- 
tion. Beaters had been placed at intervals of thirty 
paces all round the large enclosure. These men 
were concealed from view, but should an elephant 
attempt to break through the stockade they would 
come out of their concealment, and the elephant, 
catching sight of them, would at once turn away. 
The beat was conducted in perfect silence, the 
spectators being asked to keep as quiet as possible. 


We were told the drive had begun, but there were 
no signs of it to -our uninitiated ears. The herd 
was being gradually worked in our direction ; the 
beaters would flit from tree to tree, and the keen 
scent of the elephants would indicate the direction 
from which their human foes were approaching, and 
send them off in the opposite direction. It took 
fully an hour to drive the beasts half-a-mile and 
bring them within view of the platforms. When I 
first caught sight of them they were packed close 
together like a herd of swine. Some of the larger 
ones were evidently alarmed, and with trunks 
uplifted were endeavouring to scent on which side 
the danger lay. The younger ones and there 
seemed to be several baby elephants among their 
number were disporting themselves and chasing 
one another under the bodies and between the legs 
of their seniors. Browsing as they went, the herd 
gradually approached the trap-door. A young 
tusker was the first to enter ; then followed some 
of the younger ones. Two large females, with very 
young calves at their heels, seemed instinctively to 
know that there was danger beyond the narrow 
opening, and would not approach the entrance, 
although the remainder of the herd had passed 
through. It looked as if they would have to 
be left out, and the trap-door closed, lest the 
others should return to the outer enclosure and 
rejoin the wary females. At this point the forest 
craft of Boomay Gowda came into play. The short 
yap of the wild dog was heard in the distance. 
Instinctively the little calves took shelter under 


their mothers, while these latter turned anxiously in 
the direction of the sound. Another and apparently 
nearer yap settled the matter, and the anxious 
mothers, forgetful of the danger in front and only 
mindful of the foe behind, set off to join the herd and 
passed through the gates, which closed with a bang. 
A hurrah from the spectators sent the whole herd 
flying to the far end of the second enclosure, and 
through that into the third. This ended the first 
day's drive. It should here be mentioned that 
the second enclosure is cleared of underwood and 
small trees ; only the large trees are allowed to 
stand, and to these the elephants are secured when 
captured. The third enclosure is completely bared 
of trees and brushwood. Just before the drive, 
large bamboos, with all their branches and leaves 
on, are stuck firmly in the ground to resemble a 
bamboo forest. The frightened elephants rush 
eagerly into this cover, and remain concealed 
in it while the door is being secured. Watchers 
encircle the stockade, and there the animals remain 
till next day, when the more exciting operation 
of singling out and securing each member of the 
herd begins. 

A fine camp of some thirty-two tents, pitched in 
open ground, three miles away from the trap, af- 
forded accommodation for the night to the shikar 
party. After an early breakfast, we were off to the 
kheddahs to witness the lassoing and securing of the 
elephants. On arriving at the platform overlook- 
ing the third or smallest enclosure, what a strange 
sight met our gaze ! During the night the elephants 


had trodden down all the artificial shelter of bam- 
boo trees, and were now grouped together in the 
centre, sterns inwards, and heads facing the circle 
of stockade. The previous evening they had 
entered with skins black and glossy, and with all 
the pride of independence in their gait ; now mud- 
bespattered, disreputable, and cowed, they looked 
exactly like a herd of swine awaiting slaughter. 
The squeal of the baby elephant resembles that 
of a young porker, and squeals and grunts were 
of frequent occurrence as the calves kept chasing 
one another and frolicking among the massive 
pillar-like legs of their parents. In order to secure 
the elephants it was necessary to get the captured 
herd, a few at a time, into the second or securing 
stockade. The spectators on the platform were 
asked to conceal themselves. The Prince and Mr. 
Sanderson took up a position near the door, which 
had been thrown open, leading to the second en- 
closure. The beaters on the side furthest from the 
door were directed to clap their hands. Immediately 
the clapping began there was a stampede among 
the elephants. The more timid ones rushed tumult- 
uously towards the open door ; the largest of the 
females turned in the direction of the beaters and, 
trumpeting shrilly, charged up to the stockade 
and kicked showers of dust and stones with her 
fore legs into the faces of the beaters behind 
the stockade. She was making some attempt to 
pull down the stakes in order to get at the 
beaters, when a shrill cry from her baby made 
her hurry back to the herd, now assembled near 


the open door. A renewed clapping of hands sent 
a young tusker and five large females through the 
entrance, when down came the ponderous door 
and separated them from the rest of the herd. 
Bang ! bang ! with blank cartridge into the faces 
of those nearest to the gate, and the herd retreated 
to the middle of the enclosure, where they were left 
for the time while the six animals on the other side 
were being dealt with. Among these was a very 
large female with one exception the largest in the 
herd which had been separated from her calf. She 
appeared to be nearly frantic, and made repeated 
charges at the door, in spite of rounds of blank cart- 
ridge fired in her face. Her charges were terrific 
and would probably have brought down the great 
door if the koonkies, or tame elephants, had not 
been sent in to secure her. Six trained female 
elephants, with mahouts (drivers) on their necks, 
were turned into the enclosure and endeavoured to 
surround the frantic mother ; but she simply 
pushed them aside and again made for the door. 
Jung Bahadoor, the great fighting elephant of the 
Maharaja of Mysore, was then sent in, and took up 
a position before the gate with his formidable tusks 
in front, making a barrier on which the furious 
female would impale herself should she attempt to 
charge. She approached within a few yards of 
Jung, looked at him attentively and then trumpeted 
loudly, and was answered by a shrill signal from 
her calf on the other side. She appeared inclined 
even to push by the great tusker, but a warning 
grunt from him seemed to cow her. The koonkies 


had again approached and, close-packed behind her, 
had cut off her retreat. She had the tusks of Jung 
before her and six tame elephants jostling her 
behind. The famous noosers, Gunnee and Fuzlee, 
were soon down, and had the hobbles round her hind 
legs. To these a great hawser was attached, and 
two of the tame elephants taking the end of 
the hawser in their trunks commenced to drag her 
away from the gate. Her efforts to break from the 
hawser were truly marvellous. She would throw her- 
self flat on the ground with legs spread far apart, 
and roll clean over on her back. Then she would 
rise suddenly and throw up her hind legs, exactly 
like a horse kicking. Again she would rise high 
in the air, supported on a single foot, and with 
trunk uplifted trumpet shrilly. I had often seen 
ancient Hindoo carvings representing elephants in 
positions that I thought to be impossible and to 
exist only in the designer's imagination, but after 
what I saw at the kheddahs I know that the sculp- 
tors were close observers, and that the seemingly im- 
possible poses are really true to nature. These huge 
unwieldy brutes seem to have no joints, or rather 
one universal joint, as they can turn and twist in 
a manner that is truly astonishing. As all efforts 
to drag the recalcitrant female to a tree were un- 
availing she was left for the time while the other 
five were secured. Some were hobbled and dragged 
to a tree, and there made fast. Others were lassoed 
and secured between two tame elephants, and led 
out of the enclosure and fastened to posts. It was 
now about noon and the beaters had gone off to get 


their midday meal, when it was time to lift the 
ponderous door and let a few more elephants into 
the securing stockade. The few natives present 
were unable to lift the gate and Mr. Sanderson im- 
pressed the British officers present to help. It was 
amusing to watch Captains Holford and Harvey, of 
the Prince's staff, Colonels Macintire and Grant, 
of the Maharaja's staff, Mr. Claude Vincent, of the 
Madras Governor's staff, Sir Oliver St. John, the 
British Resident, and others, take hold of the 
hawser supporting the door and draw it up with 
a " Heave, oh ! " Up went the gate, and in rushed 
the little baby elephant, whose mother was still 
trying to shake off her hobbles. It was touching to 
watch her fondling her calf as soon as it rejoined 
her. She felt it all over with her trunk, thrust it 
from her to have a good look at it, and drew it again 
to her side, and repeated this a dozen times, her 
head wagging up and down, and her forelegs 
beating time as if to a dancing measure. Now 
and again she would put her trunk down her 
own throat into her stomach and draw thence 
a quantity of water, which she would blow 
over her body in a fine spray and also sprinkle 
over her calf. With the second batch let into 
the enclosure was a huge female, the largest in the 
herd. She was said to be very old, as the top of 
her ear curled forward a sign of extreme age in 
elephants. This brute was very vicious, and had 
shown no fear of the beaters. Indeed, she had 
made frequent attempts to get at them by putting 
her trunk over the palisading. When driven into the 


second enclosure, and cut off from the main body 
of the herd, she kept running hither and thither, 
pulling at the log partition between the two 
pounds, and seemed likely to break her way 
through, when Sanderson ordered in six more 
koonkies a dozen in all to secure her. 

It was thought that with a dozen trained ele- 
phants inside the enclosure there would be very 
little danger from the wild ones, so the Prince and 
Sanderson entered to get a nearer view. The 
mahouts mounted on the necks of the tame 
elephants are in perfect safety, as the wild ones 
take not the slightest notice of them, being 
apparently unaware that the little object on the 
neck of their domesticated brethren is their real 
source of danger. Should a rogue elephant (one 
that has made its escape from captivity) be among 
the captives, it at once attacks the mahout. The 
vicious female had been close-hemmed in by the 
tame elephants, and repeated unsuccessful attempts 
had been made to hobble or lasso her But she 
was a wary brute and with her trunk threw off 
the lasso, and by swinging her hind legs backwards 
and forwards prevented the hobbles being fixed. 
The Prince was intently watching a young tusker 
being dragged to a tree, when suddenly there went 
up a shout, and the great female was seen to 
break through the encircling tame ones and rush 
straight in the d.rection of the Prince. Our hearts 
were in our mouths ; some involuntarily closed 
their eyes as if to shut out the sight of an Empire's 
heir torn limb from limb or crushed out of human 


shape. What would the scion of our Royal House 
do ? The infuriated beast charged down on him 
with several tame elephants close at her heels. 
The Prince calmly awaited its approach, but when 
the brute was within a dozen paces Sanderson, 
who had been standing beside the Prince all the 
while, stepped forward, raised his hand, and 
shouted. Well was he called the hathee king ! As 
if obedient to an order, the brute turned sharply 
to the left and made off. This is what actually 
took place, but Renter's agent, who was not 
present when the incident occurred, telegraphed 
home the camp version of the story, and numerous 
were the mistaken messages sent to the Duke 
of Clarence from all parts of the world ! 

Of the thirty-seven elephants captured on this 
occasion, eight were shot next day by Sanderson's 
order, as they were too old for work and could not 
be tamed. I asked him why he could not let them 
go free rather than destroy the poor brutes. He 
told me that a herd consisted of a single family 
youngsters, parents, grandparents, great-grand- 
parents, sisters, cousins, aunts, et hoc genus omne ; 
that the members of a herd always kept together ; 
and that if he set some of them free they would not 
take themselves off, but would linger around and 
probably attack the camp at night. He added that, 
on one occasion, when he was fresh to the business 
of elephant-catching, he set free several old beasts, 
after he had removed the remainder of his captives 
to a camp twenty-six miles away. At night the 
animals he had set free stampeded his camp and 


nearly killed several keepers. There was no help 
for it, therefore, but to kill the old and useless 
beasts. To prevent the air being contaminated by 
the carcases, a large fire was kindled over their 
bodies and the mountain of flesh was burnt to 


u SAR ! Sar ! the village-mans bring the cock-coop " 
thus shouted my boy, or Madrasee servant, as I 
was taking an afternoon nap in my tent of green 
leaves in one of the valleys of the Nullamullays, 
not far from the famous diamond mines of Banagan- 
pully. I had been directed by a London syndicate 
to discover the mines of Buwapatam, said to be 
the only ones in India where diamonds are found in 
their true matrix. These mines were visited by Dr. 
Heyne as far back as 1808, but have since passed 
out of notice, no later writer on the diamond 
mines of India making any mention of them. 
The following is a description from " Heyne's 
Tracts Historical and Statistical " : "I was for- 
merly of opinion that limestone, or a compound in 
which lime forms the predominating constituent, 
would be found the matrix of the diamond. Nor 
was this opinion unreasonable, as in general the 
bed in which diamonds are found is covered or 
mixed with calcareous marl. But since my 
acquaintance with the Banaganpully mines, and 
with those of Buwapatam, I have been obliged to 
change my opinion. In the former place we find 
them in a conglomerate in which no calcareous 


admixture is discoverable, and in which an argilla- 
ceous matter probably wacke forms the cement ; 
and in the latter place the mines are absolutely 
in mountains composed of wacke, in which I have 
not discovered any jasper or other pebbles. The 
latter mines are particularly remarkable. They 
are said, about eighty years ago, to have fur- 
nished the largest gems to the Nizam's collection, 
at all events they deserve future and particular 
investigation. I made an excursion to them in 
1808, but when there, was so ill and so weak that 
I was barely able to walk to the hills where the 
diamond mines had been worked. They are very 
extensive, on a kind of table land which is inter- 
sected by ranges of hills, on which these mines 
wind from one to another/' 

I had inspected the Banaganpully mines ; had 
then gone east to Nundial, and had been for the 
last week hunting up and down the gorges and 
hill-tops of the Nullamullays near to the famous 
peak of Eshwarnacoopum (God's Hill), over three 
thousand feet high. I had received native in- 
formation which led me to believe that I would 
find the place of which I was in search to the 
north-east of the above-mentioned peak. That 
part of the country was said to be very heavily 
wooded and extremely malarious, so that none 
but the wild Chentsus a race inhabiting these 
hills could live there ; and there were tracts so 
deadly that even the wild Chentsus dared not 
enter them. The diamond mines were said to be 
there, but guarded by enormous serpents of the 


most venomous kind. " Raj -Nag Pamoo (king- 
cobra snakes)/' said my native guide. " The dia- 
monds are the eyes of the Raj-Nags themselves. 
In those deep valleys are their burial grounds, and 
the largest of the serpents keep watch over the 
remains of their fellows. It is only by sacrificing 
a buffalo to Garuda (the eagle), the lord of the 
serpents, that you may obtain permission to visit 
them/' This strange fable irresistibly recalled to 
my mind the story of Sinbad the Sailor and his 
adventure with the serpents and eagles in the valley 
of diamonds. Nicolo Conti, who visited this region 
in the early part of the fifteenth century, was 
apparently told the same tale, as he writes that 
" the mountain where the diamonds are, is infested 
with great and deadly serpents. The natives bring 
oxen, which they drive to the top of a high moun- 
tain which overtops the hill of diamonds, and here 
they offer sacrifice and cast the flesh of the oxen 
into the valley below. Diamonds sometimes adhere 
to the warm flesh. Great vultures and eagles, 
build in the precipitous rocks, scent the 
iesh and swoop down into the valleys and carry 
;he meat and adhering diamonds to their nests, 
md in these nests the men find diamonds enough 
:o repay them all their labour and expense.'' 
It was with great difficulty that I procured 
>lies to carry my baggage, and guides to show 
:he way into the dense forests which clothe the 
>w ranges of hills that lie at the foot of the 
eastern slope of the Nullamullays. When engaged 
the forest I never carry a tent, but run up a 



light shelter of branches and grass, as I find this 
cooler and pleasanter than canvas, and it saves the 
carrying of tents, a most difficult job where labour 
is scarce and the mountain paths hard to climb. 

I had engaged some Chentsus to clear a path 
and build the shelter of our camps, and I had quite 
won the heart of the headman by little presents of 
tobacco, so that he became very communicative, 
and offered to show me shikar (sport) of all sorts. 
I endeavoured to find out from him where the old 
diamond workings were, but he knew nothing of 
them, and did not even know what a diamond was 
when shown one. He knew of some pits on a low 
hill, but he said a Raj-Nag Pamoo had taken up 
its abode there, and no one would go to the place, 
as a Raj-Nag was more dreaded than a dozen 
man-eating tigers. I may here say that there is 
no denizen of the forest more dreaded than the 
king-cobra. Natives who would think nothing of 
beating up a man-eater in his favourite haunts, 
or bearding a bear in its cave, will shrink with 
dismay when asked to face this dreaded brute. 

The Ophiophagm Elaps or King- Cobra is the 
fiercest and most venomous of all the serpent 
kind. Attaining to a length of seventeen feet- 
one was recently shot in the Kurnool forests which 
measured eighteen and a half feet gliding over 
the ground at a speed which soon outstrips the 
swiftest man ; climbing trees with ease, and more 
at home on the tree-tops than even the monkeys ; 
fearlessly attacking without the slightest provoca- 
tion all it meets, men or beasts, it is no wonder 


that the forest haunted by this terrible crea- 
ture is forsaken by all other animals. Scientists 
tell us that the Ophiophagus feeds on other snakes 
hence its name ; but this assertion is disputed 
by the native shikars of the wild tribes found in 
the various forest tracts of India, who declare that 
the chief food of the king-cobra is young monkey, 
and that to secure this dainty it will lie in wait for 
days in the branches of the fruit-bearing trees in the 
forest. Birds, young pigs, deer, and wild dogs are 
not amiss, and it is only when other food fails that 
it will feed on its own kind. I have shot a king- 
cobra thirteen feet long, which had begun to 
swallow a python eight feet in length. About four 
feet of the body of the boa had already disappeared 
down the throat of the Ophiophagus when a charge 
of No. 6 shot at close range broke the latter 's back. 
Even then it attempted to show fight, and its 
efforts to lift its head with four feet of flesh as 
thick as one's arm still hanging from its jaws, were 
truly marvellous. 

The natives recognise three kinds of cobras, 
distinguished by the markings on the head. The 
common Cobra-di-capello, found about houses and 
gardens, seldom attains a greater length than six 
feet. It is marked with a V, or spectacle, on the 
hood. About the same length, but more rare, 
being found only in Eastern Bengal and the Sun- 
derbunds, is the Padma-cobra or lotus-marked 
Nag. Instead of the V, it has a star or padma 
mark on the hood. The king-cobra is the rarest 
of all, only being found in the densest and most 



remote jungles. It has a black circle on the hood. 
It is this serpent, with its enormous hood nearly 
a foot in width, which, legend relates, sheltered the 
infant Krishna from the sun and weather. Its 
range is over all the wooded tracts of India. It 
has been shot in Travancore, on the Neilgherries, 
in the forests of the East Coast, in Chota Nagpore, 
in Assam and in Burmah. But nowhere is it found 
in large numbers. Although the female lays as 
many as eighteen eggs, most of the young are 
devoured by the parents, so difficult is it for 
these creatures to find food, as, according to 
the natives, nearly all small animals desert the 
tract in which a pair of these snakes take up 
their abode. 

I asked Permal, the Chentsu headman, how he 
knew that a king-cobra had taken possession of 
the old pits. He said that the hill in question had 
been a favourite spot for snaring pea-fowl, but 
that about three years ago the Raj-Nag had come 
and then all other animals had left the place. He 
knew the Raj-Nag had come, because the monkeys 
did not answer the decoy call used by the Chentsus 
when trapping these creatures. This only occurred 
when a Raj-Nag was about so their forest lore 
taught them. I asked him if he would lead me to 
the place, as I had my double-barrel gun with me, 
and would shoot the Nag if it showed itself. " The 
Davaru " (lord), he replied, " does not know the 
Raj -Nag ; it is as lightning in its attack. It will 
be concealed in the branches or brushwood, and 
will dart forward and bite before you see it. 


Ammavaru (the goddess Kali} herself cannot save 
you if it gets its poison fangs into you." 

I told Permal I was determined to go, even if he 
would not go with me, as I had come to see the old 
pits, and the old pits I must see. After much 
cogitation with his fellows, he said if Davaru insisted 
on going, then he would devise a means to outdo 
even the Raj-Nag. His grandfather had done so 
years and years ago, when a mad gentleman who 
broke stones (a geologist !) had visited these parts. 
Permal promised to come again next day. With 
this the Chentsus took their departure, and we saw 
nothing of them till next afternoon, when my 
servant called out " Sar ! sar ! the village-mans 
bring the cock-coop." On going out to see what 
was up, I perceived Permal and another Chentsu 
with two enormous wicker baskets of the kind 
known throughout South India as cock-baskets or 
hen-coops. The baskets were a little larger and 
rather more strongly made than those ordinarily 
sold for penning fowls. Permal said these baskets 
were to be put over our heads when we got near 
the haunts of the king-cobra, and that we should 
then be perfectly safe. The meshes of the basket,, 
he explained, were too small for the serpent's head 
to pass through, so that it could not bite us, and 
when it attacked all we had to do was to squat 
down with the basket over us (like a candle 
extinguisher) and fire at the brute through the 
meshes. I laughed at the idea of being cooped 
up in a cock-basket ; but as there was no other 
method of inducing the Chentsus to show me the 


old mines, I agreed to this plan, and arranged to 
go next morning. Nothing would induce any of 
my camp-followers to accompany me, cock-coop or 
no cock-coop. 

Starting off early next morning, we had a good 
ten miles to go before we got to the low hills, 
some two hundred feet above the broad valley of 
the Nullamullays, where the old pits were said to 
be. The jungle was very dense giant bamboos and 
large forest trees, with much tall grass and under- 
growth of thorns. The Chentsus stalked on in front, 
with the baskets on their heads. As we neared the 
site of the old pits, I noticed that the large trees 
had disappeared, but the undergrowth was more 
dense, showing that at one time this had been a 
forest clearing. Permal now advanced with great 
caution, and asked me to put one of the baskets 
over my head, he and his fellow getting under 
the other. After some demur I did so, and we 
had gone less than half-a-mile in this fashion, 
when suddenly a peculiar whistling noise was heard 
on our right. The Chentsus immediately squatted 
down and seized the cord hanging from the centre 
of the basket, so as to hold it firmly down with- 
out exposing the hands. Permal made signs to 
me to do the same, and said there were two king- 
cobras about ; and that the whistle was that of the 
female calling to her mate, and that we should be 
attacked almost immediately. Down we all three 
squatted therefore, with the baskets over us, and 
firmly held on to the centre cord, so as to fix 
them hard on to the ground. We waited perhaps 


five minutes in this position, but no snakes were 
visible. I could see the Chentsus gesticulating to 
one another, but could not make out what it was 
all about. 

It was only now that I began to realise the 
danger of our position, and the value of the wicker 
baskets as a protection from a sudden attack of 
these fearful brutes. The undergrowth was so 
dense that it was impossible to see more than a 
yard or two around. It would not, therefore, be 
difficult for the snakes to attack us unperceived, 
nor would it be possible to use a gun before they 
were on us. The Chentsus still continued to ges- 
ticulate and point in my direction. Keeping a 
firm grasp of the rope, I turned round, and, there, 
above me and within eighteen inches of the top of 
the basket, I saw the expanded hood and gleaming 
eyes of the dreaded Ophiophagus. How it got 
there without my knowing it I cannot say, but 
there it was, looking down at me, and apparently 
bothered by the novel structure between it and its 
prey. Immediately I turned the creature set up 
a hissing that made my blood run cold. It re- 
sembled nothing so much as the hissing noise 
made by steam escaping from an engine. The 
hood appeared to be fully nine inches wide, and 
over a foot in length, and the forked tongue, 
which shot in and out, was quite three inches 
long. I began to feel quite sick and my eyes 
to swim, whether through the fascinating power 
said to be exerted by the eye of the serpent, 
or from the strong musky odour emitted by the 


snake at each hiss, or from sheer funk, I cannot 
say. Why I did not use my gun when I might 
easily have blown the head off the horrid monster, 
I do not know. 

I now saw the utility of the cord hanging from 
the apex of the basket. As I felt my head spinning, 
I threw my weight on the cord and kept the basket 
firmly planted on the ground. It was well I did so, 
for suddenly I heard a dull thud, and then a suc- 
cession of blows on the sides of the basket, and 
saw the great cobra wriggling on the ground en- 
deavouring to extract with its mouth an arrow 
deeply imbedded in its body about three feet 
from the head. A second and a third arrow 
were now planted in its body by the Chentsus, 
who shot from under their basket, raising it 
for the purpose. I now felt a violent tug at the 
top of the coop, and looking up saw a second 
king-cobra biting the knot of the cord out- 
side the basket, and by which I held it down, 
and shaking it just as a dog does a rat. The 
terror of that moment I cannot express. What 
if it should overturn the basket ! The strength 
of thirteen feet of muscle must be enormous, and 
if used in the right direction would soon over- 
come my pull at the cord. What would then 
happen ? Certain death for me I felt sure. 
Again the whiz of an arrow, and I saw a gaping 
wound along the neck of the fierce brute as it 
quitted its hold to look for this new foe. Fixing 
my knee on the cord, I now placed the muzzle of 
my gun just through one of the square openings 


of the basket, and, aiming at the hood, fired both 
barrels in rapid succession, and had the satis- 
faction of seeing the horrid brute fling up the 
leaves and dust in its death throes. I looked 
round for the first assailant, and found it lying in 
the path with several more arrows planted in it, 
but still biting fiercely at the arrow that had 
first entered its body. A shot in the head soon 
settled this brute also. 

Permal said we might now leave the shelter 
of the baskets, as there could be no more full- 
grown king-cobras in that place. There might be 
very young ones, but they would not attack us. 
There were never more than a pair of large snakes 
of this species in any one locality, he added. As 
soon as the little ones could hunt for themselves, 
they went off to other places, or else fell victims 
to the rapacious appetites of their parents. The 
snakes were at once skinned by the Chentsus, 
who used the sharp iron heads of their arrows 
for this purpose. The poison fangs and glands, 
the palate, and the gall were carefully preserved by 
them for medicine. Diluted with gingelly oil, the 
poison is drunk in small portions, and is said to 
be a wonderful preservative against all snake-bites. 

I measured the skins when we got home late ,that 
evening. The larger one was fourteen feet eight 
inches, and the other thirteen feet. Leaving the 
younger of the Chentsus to finish the skinning, I 
went on with Permal to visit the old diamond 
mines, and there a most singular adventure befell 
me ; but I must reserve this for another chapter. 



IN my account of the destruction of the king- 
cobras, I promised to relate a very strange ad- 
venture that befell me at the old diamond mines 
of Buwapatam. 

Permal led the way to the old pits, which were 
situated on some rising ground a little way to the 
east. He said there were several hundreds of 
these pits extending over some miles of ground, 
but that they were more numerous and larger just 
at the spot we were now visiting. Mounds of 
earth, probably excavated from the digging, marked 
the mouth of each pit. A dense, thorny vegetation 
grew around and overhung the entrance of the 
shafts and concealed it from view, so that one 
might easily stumble into one of these traps, or 
pitfalls, which, indeed, they closely resembled. 
Selecting one of the largest and best preserved 
of the pits for examination, the Chentsu's axe 
quickly cleared away the brushwood. A strong, 
light rope, which I always carry on these expedi- 
tions, was fastened to a stump, and I prepared 
to descend the old mine, but, before doing so, I 
threw in a wisp of lighted grass to test the condi- 
tion of the air a very needful precaution and to 


get some idea of the depth I would have to descend. 
The grass kept alight at the bottom of the pit, 
showing the air was fit to breathe, and the depth 
appearing to be not more than thirty feet, I 
began the descent, first sticking a lighted candle 
to a piece of damp clay attached miner fashion 
to my cap. On arriving at the bottom, I found 
myself on the top of a mound of debris fallen in 
from the mouth of the pit. The ground sloped 
away on all sides, to a very considerable distance, 
making a very large chamber, the full extent of 
which I could not see, owing to the darkness, the 
glimmering light of my candle not extending very 
far. After waiting a little time, to accustom my 
eyes to the darkness, I proceeded to examine the 
sides, in order to discover the nature of the 
" working," and whether it was for diamonds or 
some other mineral. On approaching the side, 
I suddenly found it sparkling with gleams of 
gold and green and red light, as if studded all 
over with gems, from which the light I held in 
my hand was scintillated and refracted. Turning 
round, I found a similar twinkling light all round 
on the walls of the mine, as if ten thousand fire- 
flies had settled all over the sides, only that the 
light differed in colour, there being sparkles of 
white and red and green. Was this a' veritable 
Aladdin's Cave, and were all these glints of light 
flashing from real diamonds, rubies, and emeralds ! 
The adventure of the early part of the day had 
given me cause to believe that there was at least 
some foundation of truth in the stories of the 


" Thousand and One Nights." Could this be the 
same cave in which Aladdin was shut up by the 
cruel magician ? And were all those diamonds and 
rubies and emeralds, within my reach ? It only 
wanted a Genius of the Ring to complete the illu- 
sion. Great Heavens ! What was that ? A dis- 
tinct hiss as of a cat, and then in the distance a 
gigantic cat itself. As I looked it appeared to grow 
in size and swell to enormous dimensions. A veri- 
table Genius, and this the enchanted cave ! With 
my heart in my mouth, I hurried back to the mound 
in the centre of the shaft, and shouted to Permal to 
join me and bring my gun with him. I had now 
time to collect my thoughts and try to work out 
some explanation of this strange adventure. Ex- 
perience had long ago taught me that diamonds, 
rubies, and emeralds are never found together in 
their natural state, and I was also aware that these 
gems do not reflect light or sparkle to any extent in 
their uncut condition. Perhaps it might be a mica 
mine, and the light be reflected from flakes of that 
mineral. But what about the monstrous cat ? 
Was that the result of imagination, or stern reality ? 
There was no mistaking the hiss and growl, which 
again emanated from a far corner of the mine 
on our throwing a stone in that direction. Permal 
at once declared that he could smell tiger. He 
kept sniffing about, and said, " Ullee, davaru (tiger, 
my lord)." The strange sparkles of light still kept 
twinkling around, as if innumerable stars were set 
in the walls. I noticed, however, that, if we 
attempted to move, thus agitating the air, the 


scintillation would be more brilliant. Cutting up 
several candles into pieces, we soon had a brilliant 
light about us, and this enabled me to see that the 
underground chamber was very irregular in shape, 
about thirty feet wide from east to west, and some- 
what longer towards the north. It was from the 
latter direction that the hissing and growling 
seemed to come, and Permal declared he could see a 
large tiger crouching down behind a piece of rock in 
the far corner. But if it was a tiger, why did not it 
attack us, as it could not be more than twenty paces 
away from us ? I was inclined to believe it was a 
hyena, and therefore plucked up heart to have a 
shot at it, as I would not have ventured to attack 
a tiger at such close quarters, and on foot. Cocking 
both barrels, I directed Permal to throw stones at 
the creature to induce it to break cover ; but no, 
the brute would not move, but continued spitting 
and growling. I was now convinced it was a hyena, 
and advanced more boldly until I could just see a 
dark object behind a rock. I could see the gleaming 
eyes distinctly, so, taking careful aim, I fired, and 
then retreated hastily to the mound. We waited 
some time, but could hear no sound, and the smoke 
made it more difficult to see. We threw several 
large stones in the direction, but there was no 
movement. The hissing, too, had ceased. Re-load- 
ing the empty barrel, we again advanced cautiously, 
and then I made out the body, in the same position 
apparently. Again aiming carefully, I tried a 
second shot. There was no missing so large an 
object within a few paces, so I felt quite sure the 


creature was hit, but not so sure that it was dead. 
We retreated once more to the mound, and after 
some time advanced again to the attack, but not a 
movement had taken place in the object. Feeling 
quite sure it was dead, we now got close up and 
examined it, and found it to be a tiger of the 
largest size, in a most emaciated condition nothing 
but skin and bone. Probably its last effort was to 
rise on its legs on my first intrusion. It had not 
strength for any further effort and must have died 
in a day or two from sheer starvation. The 
Chentsu surmised that it had fallen into this natural 
trap while in pursuit of wild pig, and I could well 
understand the tiger's inability to get out again, 
as the widening out of the chamber began about 
fifteen feet above our heads, so that it would require 
a leap of that height in order to fasten its claws 
into the narrow neck of the shaft, which was 
shaped somewhat like a Florentine flask. 

Emaciated as it was, there was no use attempting 
to draw that weight of skin and bone up the shaft. 
It was as much as our united efforts could do to 
drag it to the mound. Here Permal proceeded to 
flay it, while I continued my examination of the 
cave. The sides were covered with a dense growth 
of moss, with here and there a fern and lichen. This 
growth seemed to confine itself to a bed of conglo- 
merate about three feet thick. I had no difficulty 
in recognising this as one of the beds of the Kurnool 
series, known to be diamondiferous in many parts 
of South India. I knew it was hopeless looking 
for diamonds in situ, but I took samples of the con- 


glomerate for further testing. There was nothing 
to show whence the strange gleams of light had 
come not a trace of mica was to be seen anywhere. 
The sparkling had now entirely disappeared, and 
to this day I have been unable to account for it, 
nor could the friends I consulted give any expla- 
nation of it. Permal also had seen the lights, so it 
was not due to my imagination. 

After the tiger was flayed we tied the skin to the 
rope. I then made my way up, hand over hand, 
and the Chentsu followed, and together we drew up 
the skin. On examination it proved to be in splen- 
did condition, the fur being beautifully soft and 
long. It measured ten feet one inch from snout to 
tip of tail, and from ridge of shoulder to fore-claws 
three feet ten inches ; so that it must have stood a 
greater height than most tigers. Thus, two king- 
cobras and a large tiger were the spoils of one of 
the most exciting day's adventures I have ever 
experienced in all my journeyings in the wild places 
of India. 



How little do we know of India even after a hundred 
and fifty years' occupation of the country ! Off 
the beaten tracks the great trunk roads, the well- 
known lines of railway and we are lost in a wil- 
derness of peoples and things of whose existence we 
know nothing unless we search the pages of the 
Gazetteer, and even that often fails us, since how- 
ever carefully compiled, its information is chiefly 
derived from European sources and Europeans as 
a rule are slow to win the confidence of the natives. 
I do not claim to be anything very different from 
my fellows, but perhaps from constant association 
with wild tribes in various parts of India, I have 
learned to appreciate their many virtues. I have 
found them as staunch and as true as men of my 
own blood, and have come to look on their little 
failings with a kindly eye. However, I am not 
writing a dissertation on ethnology ; I merely wish 
to describe some of my shikaree friends. 

Let me begin, then, with a pen-and-ink sketch of 
Pandu, the hunter. Tall for a native, nearly six 
feet high, and a frame so gaunt that he would not 


take a bad place in a skeleton show, yet withal as 
straight as a reed and with an eye as keen as a 
hawk's. Not the slightest thing moves in the 
forest but his keen vision or sharp ears detect it. 
He must be over fifty, as his scanty locks and long 
moustache are quite grey ; yet he thinks nothing 
of a forty-mile trudge beside my pony, and is up 
and away for khubber (early news) as soon as we 
get into camp, as if the long walk were nothing 
more than his regular morning exercise. I have 
known him go twenty-four hours without food or 
drink, beyond a pinch of snuff thrown into his 
mouth wherever I have stopped for a rest. By 
caste a Gond, he will not touch cooked food from 
my hands, but will gratefully accept a handful of 
rice, which he eats raw by preference. Armed 
with an old Brown Bess (army musket), presented 
to him years ago by Mr. Hewett, a former Com- 
missioner of Chota Nagpore, he is an unerring 
shot, and will fearlessly face a wounded tiger or 
raging buffalo. He makes his own powder, purchas- 
ing the sulphur and saltpetre at Ranchi and burn- 
ing some twigs of the Hilla bush for his charcoal. 
He also fashions his own bullets, in rude moulds of 
clay. But his great difficulty is the percussion caps. 
These are extremely difficult to be got, now that 
breech-loading small arms are in general use ; and I 
won his heart by a present of several hundred of 
the large caps of the kind used with the old Brown 
Bess. He has frequently asked me if I could not 
convert his cap-gun into a flint-lock, as with the 
latter there would be no bother about caps. Cloth- 



ing does not trouble Pandu. A narrow cotton cloth 
wrapped round the loins is his only garment. A 
bag, somewhat like a soldier's haversack, is sus- 
pended from his shoulder, and in this are carried all 
his belongings when on the march. Powder-horn, 
lead pellets, a rag containing the caps, an old 
clasp-knife, a little opium, a little tobacco, and a 
seer or two of rice, and Pandu is ready for a journey 
of a week's duration. He has enormous hands and 
feet I don't know that I have ever seen a human 
being with larger. The fingers are very long, the 
thumb being short. The sharpest rocks seem to 
have no effect on the horny soles of his feet, and 
he uses no covering for his head even in the hottest 
day in May. 

Pandu first attached himself to my camp in the 
Chota Nagpore district several years ago. Scarcely 
a day passed but he brought me in a pea-fowl, 
green pigeon, jungle cock, or teal, and occasionally 
a haunch of venison. Pandu dearly loved venison 
days, because then he was certain of buksheesh (a 
present), and this he spent in a regular carouse on 
rice-beer. Rice-beer can only be had at Somij on 
Sundays, as on that day the coolies get their 
weekly wage and a hdt y or bazaar, is held under the 
mango tree near the village. I soon noticed that 
it was on Sundays also that Pandu brought his 
venison, and on questioning him he smiled and 
said : " The Sahib's luck is great, even the deer 
cannot withstand it." The amount of rice-beer 
that Pandu could drink was simply astonishing. I 
am afraid to say how much, but it was certainly not 


less than three gallons. Leaf-cup after leaf-cup 
would be drained, and beyond a grunt of satisfac- 
tion and an endearing word to Motee, his little 
shikaree bullock and constant companion, he would 
continue drinking till he spent all his money at one 
sitting. A favourite expression of his to denote his 
poverty was, that " the skin of his stomach adhered 
to his backbone." This was almost literally true, 
for he was painfully emaciated. On an occasion 
like this however his abdomen would visibly swell, 
till he resembled a water-bag mounted on two 
sticks. When he had drunk his " skinful " Pandu 
would stand with his back leaning against a tree, 
one foot resting on the other, his head bent forward 
and his hands hanging straight down. He would 
stand in this position for hours, muttering to him- 
self, the vigilant Motee keeping watch the while 
and allowing no one, man or beast, to approach his 

I have read of the affection of a dog for its master, 
but nothing could surpass the devotion of this little 
bullock to Pandu. Motee (the pearl) was an ordi- 
nary Indian bullock, about four feet high and of the 
whitey-brown colour common among the stunted 
cattle in native villages. He was thoroughly trained 
to shikar by Pandu, and seemed to comprehend his 
master's wishes intuitively. A glance, and Motee 
would move forward or backward, as required. A 
motion of the finger, and he would lie down or 
kick up his heels and rush about as if mad. Pandu 
did all his stalking with the aid of this bullock, and 
much of his success depended on its intelligence. 



An old piece of sacking, painted with green 
daubs on one side to resemble shrubbery, on 
the other side with bars of vivid red, was thrown 
over Motee's back like a horse-cloth, and hanging 
down to the ground effectually concealed the 
crouching hunter. Did he wish to stalk antelope, 
then the red bars were exposed, and Motee would 
graze quietly in a direction oblique yet approaching 
the herd. The bright bars would attract the 
curiosity of the deer, and they would approach so 
near as to allow of an unfailing shot from Pandu's 
place of concealment under the stomach of the 
bullock. Was it a flock of pea- fowl that was in 
sight, then the green side of the sacking would be 
turned towards the birds, and the same stealthy 
approach made, the pea-fowl exhibiting no alarm, 
as the village cattle commonly range the forests 
in their neighbourhood. Motee evidently took a 
delight in shikar, as he was on the alert and frisked 
about immediately the old man shouldered his gun. 
When the game was killed and Pandu seldom 
missed the little bullock would come up for his 
caress. If he missed, Motee would smell the gun, 
as if he thought there was something wrong there. 
On one occasion I had the bad taste to offer the 
old man fifty rupees for his bullock. I was heartily 
ashamed of myself immediately afterwards, for the 
look of distress on Pandu's face I shall never forget. 
" Sahib," said the old man, with tears in his eyes, 
" if you knew all that Motee is to me, if you knew 
that he has repeatedly saved my life, you would 
not make me such an offer. What is money to me ? 


I would only drink it in a little time, and then 
what would I do ? Motee is my life ; he cheers 
me, he helps me, he looks after me. I once had a 
wife and son ; both are gone ; but I have Motee, 
and I live. If Motee dies, I will die too ! " Poor 
old man ! I really believe he would die if anything 
happened to Motee. Old, drunken, degraded, 
and stupid as he is, I have still an affectionate 
regard for Pandu, and number him among my 
shikaree friends. 


PEER Bux was the largest elephant in the Madras 
Government Commissariat Department. He stood 
nine feet six inches at the shoulder and more 
than ten feet at the highest point of the convexity 
of the backbone. His tusks protruded three and a 
half feet and were massive and solid, with a slight 
curve upwards and outwards. His trunk was large 
and massive, while the skin was soft as velvet 
and mottled red and white, as high-class elephants' 
should be. His pillar-like fore legs were as straight 
as a bee line from shoulder to foot, and showed 
muscle enough for half-a-dozen elephants. Physi- 
cally Peer Bux was the beau ideal of elephantine 
beauty, a brute that should have fetched fifteen 
thousand rupees in the market and be cheap at 
that price, for was he not a grander elephant to 
look at than many a beast that had cost its 
princely owner double that sum ? He was quiet 
too and docile, and could generally be driven by 
a child. Yet with all his good qualities, with all 
his majestic proportions, Peer Bux was tabooed by 
the natives. No Hindoo would have him at a gift. 
He was a marked beast ; his tail was bifurcated at 
the extremity. This signified, said those natives 


learned in elephant lore, that he would one clay 
take human life. 

When captured in the kheddahs in Michael's 
Valley, Coimbatore district, the European official 
in charge of the kheddah operations imagined the 
animal would bring a fancy price ; but at the 
public sale of the captured herd no one would 
give a bid for him, although his tusks alone 
would have fetched over a 'thousand rupees for 
their ivory. The fatal blemish the divided tail 
was soon known to intending purchasers, and 
there being no bidders he had to be retained 
for Government use. 

The Commissariat Department was justly proud 
of Peer Bux. He had done good service for 
six years. Did the heavy guns stick in the mud 
when the artillery was on its way to Bellary, 
Peer Bux was sent to assist, and with a push 
of his massive head he would lift the great 
cannon, however deep its wheels might be im- 
bedded in the unctuous black cotton soil. Were 
heavy stores required at Mercara, Peer Bux 
would mount the steep ghaut road, and think 
nothing of a ton and a half load on his back. 
The Forest Department too found him invaluable 
in drawing heavy logs from the heart of the 
reserves. His register of conduct was blameless, 
and beyond occasional fits of temper during the 
must season once a year he was one of the most 
even-tempered as well as one of the most useful 
beasts in the Transport establishment. 

The Commissariat sergeant at Hunsur, who had 


known Peer Bux for two years, would smile when 
allusion was made to his bifurcated tail and the 
native superstition regarding that malformation. 
u Look up his register/' he would say; " no man- 
killing there. Why I would rather trust him 
than any other elephant, male or female, in the 
lines. Just you see that little beggar, no higher 
than this " (showing his walking cane), " the 
mahout's son, take him out to the jungles and 
bring him back loaded with fodder, and lambaste 
him too, if he won't obey the little imp. He kill 
a man ! Why he wouldn't kill a fly. The niggers 
know nothing ; they are a superstitious lot." 

But a little while, and quite another story had 
to be told of Peer Bux. This pattern animal had 
gone must. Fazul, his usual mahout (keeper), was not 
there to manage him (he had gone with Sanderson 
to Assam), and the new keeper had struck Peer Bux 
when he showed temper, and had been torn limb 
from limb by the irritated brute. Peer Bux had 
broken his chains ; had stampeded the Amrut- 
mahal cattle at Hunsur ; had broken into the 
Government harness and boot factory and done 
incredible damage ; had gone off on the rampage, 
on the Manantoddy road ; had overturned coffee 
carts and scattered their contents on the road ; 
had killed several cart-men ; had looted several 
villages and torn down the huts. In fact a 
homicidal mania seemed to have come over 
him, as he would steal into the cholum (sorghum 
millet) fields and pull down the machans (bamboo 
platforms) on which the cultivator sat watching 


his corn by night, and tear the poor wretch to 
pieces or trample him out of all shape, and it 
was even said that in his blind rage he would 
eat portions of his human victims. I may here 
mention that natives firmly believe that ele- 
phants will occasionally take to man-eating. It 
is a common practice when a tiger is killed for 
the mahouts to dip balls of jaggery (coarse sugar) 
in the tiger's blood and feed the elephants that 
took part in the drive with this mess. They say 
the taste of the tiger's blood gives the elephant 
courage to face these fierce brutes. The taste 
for blood thus acquired sticks to the elephant, 
and when he goes mad or must and takes to 
killing human beings, some of their blood gets 
into his mouth and reminds him of the sugar and 
blood given him at the tiger-hunts, and he occa- 
sionally indulges in a mouthful of raw flesh. 

Was Peer Bux must, or was he really mad ? The 
mahouts at Hunsur, who knew him well, said he 
was only must. Europeans frequently speak of 
must elephants as " mad " elephants, as though the 
two terms were synonymous. Must, I may state, 
is a periodical functional derangement common to 
all bull elephants, and corresponds to the rutting 
season with deer and other animals. It generally 
occurs in the male once a year (usually in March 
or April), and lasts about two or three months. 
During this period a dark-coloured mucous dis- 
charge oozes from the temples. If this discharge 
is carefully washed off twice a day, and the 
elephant given a certain amount of opium with 


his food and made to stand up to his middle in 
water for an hour every day, beyond a little 
uneasiness and irritability in temper no evil con- 
sequences ensue ; but should these precautions be 
neglected, the animal becomes savage and even 
furious for a time, so that it is never safe to 
approach him during these periods. When an 
elephant shows signs of must the dark discharge 
at the temples is an infallible sign he should 
always be securely hobbled and chained. A must 
elephant, even when he breaks loose and does a 
lot of damage, can if recaptured be broken to 
discipline and will become as docile as ever, after 
the must period is passed. 

It is wholly different with a mad elephant. 
These brutes should be destroyed at once, as they 
never recover their senses, the derangement in 
their case being cerebral and permanent, and not 
merely functional. This madness is frequently due 
to sunstroke, as elephants are by nature fitted 
to live under the deep shade of primeval forests. 
In the wild state they feed only at night, when 
they come out into the open. They retire at 
dawn into the depths of the forests, so that they 
are never exposed to the full heat of the noon- 
day sun. 

Peer Bux being the property of the Madras 
Government, permission was asked to destroy him, 
as he had done much damage to life and 
property in that portion of the Mysore territory 
lying between Hunsur and the frontier of 
Coorg and North Wynaad. The Commissariat 


Department however regarded him as too valuable 
an animal to be shot, and advised that some 
attempt should be made to recapture him with 
the aid of tame elephants. Several trained 
elephants were sent up from Coimbatore, some 
more were obtained from the Mysore State, and 
several hunts were organised ; but all attempts at 
his recapture entirely failed. The great length of 
his fore-legs gave Peer Bux an enormous stretch, 
so that he could easily outpace the fleetest shikar 
elephants ; and when he showed fight, none of 
the tuskers, not even the famous Jung Bahadoor, 
the fighting elephant of the Maharaja of Mysore, 
could withstand his charge. Meanwhile so great 
was the terror he inspired that nearly all traffic 
was stopped between Hunsur and Coorg, and 
Mysore and Manantoddy. He had been at large 
now for nearly two months, and in that time was 
known to have killed fourteen persons, wrecked 
two villages, and done an incredible amount of 
damage to traffic and crops. In an evil moment 
for himself he took it into his head to stampede 
the Collector's camp on the Wynaad frontier. 
The Collector was away at Manantoddy, but his 
tents and belongings were destroyed, and one 
camp follower killed. Permission was now obtained 
to destroy him by any means, and a Government 
reward was offered to any one who would kill 
the brute. 

Several parties went out from Bangalore in the 
hope of bagging him, but never got sight of him. 
He was here to-day, and twenty miles off next 


day. He was never known to attack Europeans. 
He would lie in wait in some unfrequented part 
of the road and allow any suspicious-looking 
object to pass ; but when he saw a line of native 
carts, or a small company of native travellers, 
he would rush out with a scream and a trumpet 
and overturn carts and kick them to pieces, and 
woe betide the unfortunate human being that fell 
into his clutches ! He would smash them to a pulp 
beneath his huge feet, or tear them limb from 

Much of the above information regarding Peer 
Bux was gleaned at the Dak Bungalow (travellers' 
rest-house) at Hunsur, where a party of four, in- 
cluding myself, were staying while engaged in a 
shooting trip along that belt of forest which 
forms the boundary between Mysore and British 
territory to the south-west. Our shoot thus far 
had been very unsuccessful. Beyond a few 
spotted deer and some game birds we had 
bagged nothing. The Government notification of 
a reward for the destruction of the rogue-elephant 
stared us in the face at every turn we took in 
the long, cool verandah of the bungalow. We had 
not come out prepared for elephant-shooting, yet 
there was a sufficiency of heavy metal in our 
armoury, we thought, to try conclusions with even 
so formidable an antagonist as Peer Bux, should 
we meet with him. Disgust at the want of 
success hitherto of our shikar expedition, and the 
tantalizing effects of the Government notice show- 
ing that there was game very much in evidence 


if we cared to go after it, soon determined our 
movements. The native shikaris were summoned, 
and after much consultation we shifted camp 
to Karkankotee, a smaller village in the State 
forest of that name, and on the high road to 
Manantoddy. The travellers' bungalow .there, a 
second-class one, was deserted by its usual native 
attendants, as the rogue - elephant had paid 
two visits to that place and had pulled down a 
portion of the out-offices in his attempts to get at 
the servants. In the village we found only a 
family of Kurambas left in charge by the Potail 
(village magistrate) when the inhabitants deserted 
it. These people, we found, had erected for them- 
selves a machan (platform) on the trees, to which 
they retired at night to be out of the reach of the 
elephant, should he come that way. From them 
we learned that the rogue had not been seen for a 
week, but that it was about his time to come that 
way, as he had a practice of making a complete 
circuit of the country lying between the frontier 
and the Manantoddy-Mysore and Hunsur-Mercara 
roads. This was good news, so we set to work 
at once, getting ammunition ready for this the 
largest of all game. Nothing less than eight drams 
of powder and a hardened solid ball would content 
most of us. K , poor fellow, had been reading 
up " Smooth-bore " or some other authority on 
Indian game, and pinned his faith to a twelve- 
bore duck gun, " for," he argued, " at twenty 
paces " and that was the maximum distance from 
which to shoot at an elephant " the smooth-bore 


will shoot as straight as the rifle and hit quite as 

Our horses and pack-bullocks were picketed 
within one of the out-offices, and all the native 
servants took shelter inside the other. Great 
fires were kindled before the out-offices as a pre- 
cautionary measure not that we expected the 
elephant that night. We were in bed betimes, as 
we meant to be up at daybreak and have a good 
hunt all round, under the guidance of the Kuram- 
bas, who promised to take us to the rogue's 
favourite haunts when in that neighbourhood. 
The dak-bungalow had but two rooms. That in 
which O - and myself slept had a window over- 
looking the out-offices. In the adjacent room 

slept F and K . Towards the small hours 

of the morning I was awakened by a loud discharge 
of fire-arms from F- 's room, followed by the 
unmistakable fierce trumpeting of an enraged 
elephant. There is no mistaking that sound when 
once heard. Catching up our rifles we rushed into 
the next room and found F , gun in hand, 
peering out through the broken window frame, and 
K - trying to strike a light. When F- - had 
recovered sufficiently from his excitement, he ex- 
plained that he had been awakened by something 
trying to encircle his feet through the thick folds 
of the rug he had wrapped round them. On 
looking up he thought he could make out the 
trunk of an elephant thrust through the opening 
where a pane of glass had been broken in the 
window. His loaded gun was in the corner by his 


side, and, aiming at what he thought would be 
the direction of the head, he fired both barrels 
at once. With a loud scream the elephant with- 
drew its trunk, smashing the whole window at the 
same time. He had reloaded and was looking 
out for the elephant, in case it should return to 
the attack, but could see nothing, as it was too 
dark. F- -'s was a narrow escape, for had the 
elephant succeeded in getting his trunk round one 
of his legs nothing could have saved him. With 
one jerk he would have been pulled through the 
window and quickly done to death beneath the 
huge feet of the brute. The thick folds of the 
blanket alone saved him, and even that would 
have been pulled aside in a little time if he had 
not awakened and had the presence of mind to fire 
at the beast. 

No amount of shouting would bring any of the 
servants from their retreat in the out-office, 
although we could distinctly hear them talking to 
each other in low tones ; and it was scarcely fair 
of us to ask them to come out, with the probability 
of an infuriated rogue elephant being about. How- 
ever, we soon remembered this fact, and helping 
ourselves to whisky pegs, as the excitement had 
made us thirsty, we determined to sit out the 
darkness, as nothing could be done till morning. 

At the first break of day, we sallied out to learn 
the effects of F- - 5 s shots. We could distinctly 
trace the huge impressions of the elephant's feet 
to the forest skirting the bungalow, but could find 
no trace of blood. The Kuramba trackers were 


soon on the spot, and on matters being explained 
to them they said the elephant must be badly 
wounded about the face, otherwise he would have 
renewed the attack. The shots being fired at such 
close quarters must have scorched the opening 
of the wound and prevented the immediate flow 
of blood. They added that if wounded the 
elephant would not go far, but would make for 
the nearest water in search of mud with which 
to plaster the wound, as mud was a sovereign 
remedy for all elephant wounds, and all elephants 
used it. The brute would then lie up in some 
dense thicket for a day or two, as any exertion 
would tend to re-open the wound. The Kurambas 
appeared to be so thoroughly acquainted with the 
habits of these beasts, that we readily placed our- 
selves under their guidance, and swallowing a hasty 
breakfast we set off on the trail, taking with us 
one shikar to interpret and a gun-bearer, named 
Suliman, to carry a tiffin-basket. 

The tracks ran parallel with the road for about 
a mile, and then crossed it and made south in 
the direction of the Kabbany river, an affluent 
of the Cauvery. Distinct traces of blood could 
now be seen, and presently we came to a spot 
covered with blood, where the elephant had 
evidently stood for some time. The country 
became more and more difficult as we approached 
the river. Dense clumps of bamboo and wait-a- 
bit thorns, with here and there a large teak or 
honne tree, made it difficult to see more than a few 
yards ahead. The Kuramba guides said that we 


must now advance more cautiously, as the river 
was within half a mile, and that we might come 
on the " rogue " at any moment. Up to this 
moment, I don't know if any of us appreciated 
the full extent of the danger we were running. 
Following up a wounded must elephant on foot, 
in dense cover such as we were in, meant that 
if we did not drop the brute with the first shot, 
one or more of us would in all probability pay for 
our temerity with our lives. We had been on the 
tramp two hours and we were all of us more or 
less excited, so taking a sip of cold tea to steady 
our nerves, we settled on a plan of operations. 
F - and I, having the heaviest guns, were to 
lead, the Kuramba trackers being a pace or two 

in advance of us. O and K were to 

follow about five paces behind, and the shikari and 
Suliman were to bring up the rear at an interval 
of ten paces. If we came on the elephant, the 
advance party were to fire first and then move 
aside. If the brute survived our fire, the second 
battery would surely account for it. It never 
entered our minds that anything living could with- 
stand a discharge at close quarters of eight such 
barrels as we carried. Having settled matters to 
our satisfaction, off we set on the trail, moving 
now very cautiously, the guides enjoining the 
strictest silence. Every bush was carefully ex- 
amined, every thicket scanned before an advance 
was made ; frequent stops were made, and the 
drops of blood carefully examined to see if they 
were clotted or not, as by this the Kurambas could 



tell how far off the wounded brute was. The 
excitement was intense. The rustle of a falling 
leaf would set our hearts pit-a-pat. The nervous 
strain was too great, and I began to feel quite sick. 
The trail now entered a cart-track through the 
forest, so that we could see twenty paces or so 
ahead. Now we were approaching the river, for 
we could hear the murmuring of the water some 
two or three hundred yards ahead. The bamboo 
clumps grew thicker on either side. The leading 
Kuramba was just indicating that the trail led off 
to the right, when a terrific trumpet directly 
behind us made us start round, and a ghastly 
sight met our view. The elephant had evidently 
scented us long before we appeared in view, and 
had left the cart-track and, making a slight detour 
to the right, had gone back a little way and con- 
cealed itself behind some bamboo clumps near 
the track. It had quietly allowed us to pass, and 
then, uttering a shrill scream, charged on the rear. 
Seizing Suliman in its trunk, it had lifted him 
aloft prior to dashing him to the ground, when we 
turned. K was standing in the path, about 
ten paces from the elephant, with his gun levelled 
at the brute. " Fire, K , fire ! ' we shouted, 
but it was too late. Down came the trunk, and 
the body of poor Suliman, hurled with terrific 
force, was dashed on the ground with a sickening 
thud, which told us he was beyond help. As the 
trunk was coming down K - fired. In a moment 
the enraged brute was on him. We heard a second 
shot, and then saw poor K- - and his gun flying 


through the air from a kick from the animal's 
fore-foot. There was no time to aim. Indeed, 
there was nothing to aim at, as all we could see 
was a great black object coming down on us with 
incredible speed. Four shots in rapid succession, 
and the brute swerved to the left and went off 
screaming and crashing through the bamboos in its 
wild flight. Rapidly reloading we waited to see 
if the rogue would come back, but we heard the 
crashing of the underwood further off and knew it 
had gone for good. We had now time to look 
round. The body of K - we found on the top 
of a bamboo clump a good many yards away. 
We thought he was dead, as he did not reply to 
our calls, but on cutting down the bamboos and 
removing the body we found he had only swooned. 
A glass of whisky soon brought him round, but he 
was unable to move, as his spine was injured and 
several ribs broken. Rigging a hammock, we had 
him carried into Manantoddy, where he was on 
the doctor's hands for months before he was able 
to move, and finally he had to go back to England 
and, I believe, never thoroughly recovered his 
health. Suliman's corpse had to be taken into 
Antarasante, and after an inquest by the native 
Magistrate it was made over to the poor fellow's 
co-religionists for burial. 

The subsequent history of Peer Bux how he 
killed two English officers and afterwards met his 
own fate I must reserve for another chapter. 



OUR tragic adventure with Peer Bux, the rogue 
elephant, related in the last chapter, was soon 
noised abroad and served only to attract a greater 
number of British sportsmen, bent on trying 
conclusions with the " Terror of Hunsur," as this 
notorious brute came to be called by the inhabitants 
of the adjacent districts. A month had elapsed 
since our ill-fated expedition, and nothing had been 
heard of the rogue, although its known haunts had 
been scoured by some of the most noted shikars of 
South India. We began to think that the wounds 
it had received in its encounter with us had proved 
fatal, and even contemplated claiming its tusks 
should its carcase be found, and presenting them 
to K - as a memento of his terrible experience 
with the monster, but it was a case of " counting 
your chickens," for evidence was soon forthcoming 
that its tusks were not to be had for the asking. 
The beast had evidently been lying low while its 
wounds healed, and had retreated for this purpose 
into some of the dense fastnesses of the Begur 
jungles. Among others who arrived on the scen< 
at this time to do battle with the Terror were 
two young officers from Cannanore one a subal- 
tern in a native regiment, the other a naval 


officer on a visit to that station. They had come 

with letters of introduction to Colonel M in 

charge of the Amrat Mahal at Hunsur, and that 
officer had done all in his power to dissuade the 
youngsters from going after the " rogue/' as he saw 
plainly that they were green at shikar and did not 
fully comprehend the risks they would be running, 
nor had they experience enough to enable them to 
provide against possible contingencies. Finding 
however that dissuasion only strengthened their 
determination to brave all danger, he thought 
he would do the next best thing by giving 
them the best mount possible for such a task. 
Among the recent arrivals at the Commissariat 
lines was " Dod Kempa" (the Great Red One), 
a famous tusker sent down all the way from 
Secunderabad to do battle with Peer Bux. 
Dod Kempa was known to be staunch, as he had 
been frequently used for tiger-shooting in the 
notorious Nirmul jungles and had unflinchingly 
stood the charge of a wounded tiger. His mahout 
declared that the Terror of Hunsur would run at 
the mere sight of Dod Kempa, for had not his 
reputation gone forth throughout the length and 
breadth of India, even among the elephant folk ? 
Kempa was not as tall as Peer Bux, but was more 
sturdily built, with short, massive tusks. He was 
mottled all over his body with red spots : hence his 
name Kempa (red). He was a veritable bull-dog 
among elephants and was by no means a hand- 
some brute, but he had repeatedly done good ser- 
vice in bringing to order recalcitrant pachyderms, 


and for this reason had been singled out to try 
conclusions with the Hunsur rogue. With such a 
mount Colonel M- - thought the young fellows 
would be safe even should they meet the 
" Terror/' so seeing them safely mounted on the 
pad he bid them not to fail to call on D -, 
the Forest officer on the Coorg frontier, who 
would put them up to the best means of 
finding the game they were after. 

They had been gone about four days when one 
morning the Commissariat sergeant turned up at 

Colonel M 's bungalow and with a salute 

informed him that Dod Kempa was in the lines, 
and that his mahout was drunk and incapable 
and he could get no information from him. 
The elephant and mahout had turned up some 
time during the night ; the pad had been left 
behind, and the man could give no information 
about the two sahibs who had gone out with 
him. Fearing the worst, the Colonel sent for 
the mahout, but before the order could be 
carried out, a crowd of mahouts (elephant drivers) 
and other natives were seen approaching, shouting 
" Pawgalee hogiya / Pawgalee hogiya / (he has gone 
mad ! he has gone mad !)." Yes, sure enough, 
there was Dod Kempa' s mahout inanely grinning 
and shaking his hands. Now and again he would 
stop and look behind, and a look of terror would 
come into his eyes. He would crouch down and 
put his hands to his ears as if to shut out some 
dreadful sound. He would remain like this for a 
minute or two, glance furtively around, and then 


as if reassured would get up and smile and shake 
his hands. It was plainly not liquor that made him 
behave in this manner ; the poor fellow had actually 
become an imbecile through fear. It was hopeless 
attempting to get any information from such an 
object, so handing him over to the care of the 
medical officer, a search party mounted on ele- 
phants was at once organised and sent off in the 
direction of Frazerpett, twenty-four miles distant, 

where D J s camp was. When they got about 

half-way they were met by a native forest ranger, 
who asked them to stop and come back with 
him to a country cart that followed, in which 
were the dead bodies of the two unfortunate 
officers of whom they were in search. On coming 
up with the cart and examining its contents a most 
gruesome sight met their eyes. There, rolled up 
in a native kumbly (blanket), was an indistinguish- 
able mass of human flesh, mud, and clothing. 
Crushed out of all shape, the bodies were inextri- 
cably mixed together, puddled into one mass by 
the great feet of the must elephant. None dared 
touch the shapeless heap, where nought but the 
boot-covered feet were distinguishable to show that 
two human beings lay there. A deep gloom fell 
on all, natives and Europeans alike ; none dared 
speak above a whisper, and in silence the search 
party turned back, taking with them what was 
once two gallant young officers, but now an object 
that made anyone shudder to look at. The forest 
ranger's story was soon told : he had been an 
eye-witness of the tragic occurrence. Here it is :- 


' The officers arrived two days ago at Periya- 
patna, a large village half-way to Frazerpett, and 
while camped there, a native brought in informa- 
tion of a bullock having been killed at his village 
some four miles off. The Sahibs determined to sit 
up in a machan over the kill, and do for the tiger 
when he returned to his meal. They left their 
camp-followers and baggage at Periyapatna, and 
accompanied only by himself (the ranger) and 
the native who brought the information, they 
rode out on Dod Kempa, took their places on the 
machan, and sent the mahout back with the ele- 
phant with orders for him to come back at dawn 
next day to take them back to camp. The tiger 
did not turn up that night, and the whole party 
were on their way back to Periyapatna in the 
early dawn, when suddenly Dod Kempa stopped, 
and striking the ground with the end of his trunk, 
made that peculiar drumming noise which is the 
usual signal of alarm with these animals when they 
scent tiger or other danger. It was still early 
morning, so that they could barely see any object 
in the shadow of the forest trees. The elephant 
now began to back, curl away his trunk, and sway 
his head from side to side. The mahout said he was 
about to charge, and that there must be another 
elephant in the path. We could barely keep our 
seats on the pad, so violent was the motion caused 
by the elephant backing and swaying from side to 
side. The officers had to hold on tight by the 
ropes, so that they could not use their guns, when 
there in the distance, only fifty yards off, we saw 


an enormous elephant coming towards us ! There 
was no doubt that it was the rogue, from its 
great size. It had not seen us yet, as elephants 
see very badly ; but Dod Kempa had scented 
him out as the wind was in our favour. The 
Sahibs urged the mahout to keep his elephant 
quiet so that they might use their guns, but 
it was no use, for although he cruelly beat the 
beast about the head with his iron goad yet it 
continued to back and sway. The rogue had now 
got within thirty yards, when it perceived us and 
stopped. It backed a few paces and with ears 
thrown forward uttered trumpet after trumpet and 
then came full charge down on us. No sooner did 
Dod Kempa hear the trumpeting than he turned 
round and bolted off into the forest, crashing 
through the brushwood and under the branches of 
the large trees, the must elephant in hot pursuit. 
Suddenly an overhanging branch caught in the side 
of the pad, ripped it clean off the elephant's 
back, and threw the two officers on the ground. I 
managed to seize the branch and clambered up out 
of harm's way. When I recovered a little from my 
fright, I saw the rogue elephant crushing something 
up under its fore feet. Now and again it would 
stoop and drive its tusks into the mass and begin 
stamping on it again. This it did for about a 
quarter of an hour. It then went off in the direc- 
tion that Dod Kempa had taken. I saw nothing of 
Dod Kempa after the pad fell off. I waited for 
two hours, and seeing the mad elephant did not 
come back, I got down and ran to Periyapatna 


and told the Sahibs' servants, and we went back 
with a lot of people, and found that the mass the 
elephant had been crushing under its feet was the 
bodies of the two officers ! The brute must have 
caught them when they were thrown to the ground 
and killed them with a blow of its trunk or a 
crush of the foot, and it had then mangled the 
two bodies together. We got a cart and brought 
the bodies away." 

Simple in all its ghastly details, the tale was 
enough to make one's blood run cold, but heard 
as it was, said one present, " within a few yards 
of what that bundle of native blankets contained, 
it steeled one's heart for revenge." But let us 
leave this painful narrative and hasten on to 
the time when the monster met with his deserts 
at the hand of one of the finest sportsmen that 
ever lived, and that too in a manner which 
makes every Britisher feel a pride in his race 
that can produce such men. 

Gordon Gumming was a noted shikari, almost as 
famous in his way as his brother, the celebrated 
lion-slayer of South Africa, and his equally famous 
sister, the talented artist and explorer of Maori 
fastnesses in New Zealand. Standing over six feet 
in his stockings and of proportionate breadth of 
shoulder, he was an athlete in every sense of 
the word. With his heavy double rifle over his 
shoulder, and with Yalloo, his native tracker and 
shikari at his heels, he would think nothing of a 
twenty-mile swelter after a wounded bison even 
in the hottest weather. An unerring shot, he was 


known to calmly await the furious onset of a tiger 
till the brute was within a few yards, and then lay 
it low with a ball crashing through its skull. It is 
even said that, having tracked a noted man-eater to 
its lair, he disdained to shoot at the sleeping brute, 
but roused it with a stone and then shot it as it was 
making at him open-mouthed. He was known to 
decline to take part in beats for game or to use 
an elephant to shoot from, but would always go 
alone save for his factotum Yalloo, and would 
follow up the most dangerous game on foot. He 
was a man of few words and it was with the 
greatest difficulty he could be got to talk of his 
adventures. When pressed to relate an incident 
in which it was known that he had done a deed of 
the utmost daring, he would dismiss the subject 
with half-a-dozen words, generally : " Yes, the beast 
came at me, and I shot him." Yalloo was as 
loquacious as his master was reticent, and it was 
through his glibness of tongue round the camp fire, 
that much of Gordon Gumming' s shikar doings 
>ecame known. Yalloo believed absolutely in his 
taster and would follow him anywhere. " He 
carries two deaths in his hand and can place them 
where he likes (alluding to his master's accuracy 
with the rifle) ; therefore, why should I fear ? Has 
a beast two lives that I should dread him ? A 
single shot is enough, and even a Rakshasha (giant 
demon) would lie low." 

A Deputy Commissioner in the Mysore service, 
Cumming was posted at Shimoga, in the north-west 
of the province, when he heard of the doings of 


Peer Bux at Hunsur, and obtained permission to 
try and bag him. He soon heard all the khubber 
(news) as to the habits of the brute, and he deter- 
mined to systematically stalk him down. For this 
purpose he established three or four small camps 
at various points in the districts ravaged by the 
brute, so that he might not be hampered with a 
camp following him about but could call in at any 
of the temporary shelters he had put up and get 
such refreshment as he required. He knew it 
would be a work of days, perhaps weeks, following 
up the tracks of the rogue, who was here to-day 
and twenty miles off to-morrow ; but he had con- 
fidence in his own staying powers, and he trusted 
to the chapter of lucky accidents to cut short a 
toilsome stalk. 

Selecting the banks of the Kabbany as the most 
likely place to fall in with the tracks of Peer Bux, 
he made Karkankote his resting-place for the time, 
while a careful examination was made of the ground 
on the left bank of the river. Tracks were soon 
found, but these always led to the river, where they 
were lost, and no further trace of them was found 
on either bank. He learned from the Kurambas 
that the elephant was in the habit of entering the 
river and floating down for a mile or so before it 
made for the banks. As it travelled during the 
night and generally laid up in dense thicket during 
the day, there was some chance of coming up with 
it, if only the more recent tracks could be followed 
up uninterruptedly ; but with the constant breaks 
in the scent whenever the animal took to the 


water he soon saw that tracking would be useless 
in such country, and that he must shift to where 
there were no large streams. A couple of weeks 
had been spent in the arduous work of following 
up the brute from Karkankote to Frazerpett and 
back again to the river near Hunsur and then on 
to Heggadavencotta. Even the tireless Yalloo now 
became wearied and began to doubt the good 
fortune of his master. Yet Gordon Cumming was 
as keen as ever, and would not give up his plan of 
following like a sleuth-hound on the tracks of the 
brute. On several occasions they had fallen in with 
other parties out on the same errand as themselves, 
but these contented themselves with lying in wait 
at certain points the brute was known to frequent. 
These parties had invariably asked Gordon Cum- 
ming to join them, as they pronounced his stern 
chase a wildgoose one and said he was as likely 
to come up with the Flying Dutchman as he was 
with the Terror of Hunsur. 

It was getting well into the third week of this 
long chase, when the tracks led through some 
scrub jungle which would not give cover to anything 
larger than a spotted deer. They had come on to 
the ruins of an ancient village, the only signs of 
which were a small temple fast falling into decay, 
and an enormous banyan tree (Ficus religiosa). It 
was midday ; the heat was intense, and they sat 
under the shade of the tree for a little rest. Cum- 
ming was munching a biscuit, while Yalloo was 
chewing a little pan (betel-leaf), when a savage 
scream was heard and there, not twenty paces off, 


was the Terror of Hunsur coming down on them 
in a terrific charge. From the position in which 
Gumming was sitting a fatal shot at the elephant 
was almost impossible, as it carried its head high 
and only its chest was exposed. A shot there 
might rake the body without touching lungs or 
heart, and then the brute would be on him. With- 
out the least sign of haste and with the utmost 
unconcern Gordon Gumming still seated, flung his 
sola topee (sun hat) at the beast when it was about 
ten yards from him. The rogue stopped moment- 
arily to examine this strange object, and lowered 
its head for the purpose. This was exactly what 
Gumming wanted, and quick as thought a bullet, 
planted in the centre of the prominence just above 
the trunk, crashed through its skull, and the 
Terror of Hunsur dropped like a stone, shot dead. 
" Ah, comrade," said Yalloo, when relating the 
story, " I could have kissed the Bahadoor's (my 
lord's) feet when I saw him put the gun down, and 
go on eating his biscuit just as if he had only shot 
a bird of some kind, instead of that devil of an 
elephant. I was ready to die of fright ; yet here 
was the Sahib sitting down as if his life had not been 
in frightful jeopardy just a moment before. Truly, 
the Sahibs are great ! >J 


SAMOO, my Jhora boatman, is the finest story- 
teller I know. He is a man of few words, but 
with appropriate gesture and imitation he paints 
such a word-picture that you can fancy the scene 
enacted before you. He is no traveller has never 
been twenty miles from his native village yet he 
has had strange experiences, and strangest of the 
many is his adventure with a boa. 

I might have been inclined to doubt the accuracy 
of his description of the great snake's method of 
fight if it were not for the singular confirmation 
it receives from Rudyard Kipling's work, " The 
Jungle Book," in which an account is given of 
the serpent Kaa's fight with the bander-logue 

As I cannot give Samoo's gesture and imitation, I 
must endeavour to paraphrase them. 

" It was in the rains, Huzoor (your worship), 
three years ago, when the Koel was in flood. I 
was fishing at the gagra (rapids). When the water 
is muddy we can only fish with the rod and line, 
and then we only get small cat-fish. These fish 
take bait readily in flood time, and I was seated 
behind a large rock fishing in a pool above the 


rapids when a rustling in the long grass, some 
twenty yards above stream, attracted my attention. 
It seemed as if a herd of bullocks were rushing 
down to the stream. Then I heard splash ! splash ! 
and ough ! two huge snakes, from ten to fifteen 
cubits long and as thick as my thigh, entered the 
water. I felt great fright and could not run, but 
crouched behind the stone and looked. Whether 
they were fighting or merely gambolling I cannot 
tell. They twined their bodies round one another 
and raised themselves higher than a man out of 
the water, and fell with a great crash. This they 
did several times, and then one the smaller of the 
two unloosed itself from the coil of the other and 
swam to the opposite shore, where I lost sight of it. 
Its mate, after swimming once or twice round the 
pool, came out on the bank near where it entered 
the water, and stretched itself beside a log of sal 
(wood) which was lying on the sands. So well did 
it conceal itself that not a vestige of it was to be 
seen, and had I not seen it creep beside the log I 
should not have known there was so large a snake 
there. I waited some time, and then was about 
to steal off home when I heard a shrill squeal, 
followed by a succession of grunts, in the forest 
behind me. The snake also seemed to have heard 
the sounds, for when I next looked at him his 
head was resting flat on the log and his body 
drawn up in zigzags behind him. The log was 
lying across the mouth of a small water-course 
leading to the river, and down this water-course 
the sounds were fast approaching. A wild pig 


rushed out of the water-course and made for 
the river. Just as it was leaping over the log 
the snake darted forward and coiled itself round 
the body and neck of the pig, and held it fast. 
The pig gave a struggle or two and was dead. 
The snake had its coil still round the body of the 
pig, when out rushed a pack of wild dogs which 
were evidently hunting the pig. The foremost 
dog was nearly on to the snake before it saw him. 
With a sharp yell it sprang to one side, while the 
boa uncoiled itself from the pig and hissing loudly 
sheltered itself behind the log. The whole pack 
now formed themselves up behind their leader, 
snarling savagely and showing their teeth and eye- 
ing the carcase of the pig the while. But the snake 
was not to be baulked of his prey. His body was 
close-drawn in great folds near to his head, which 
was only just raised off the ground ; his eyes 
gleaming and his forked tongue flickering in and 
out of his closed lips, while the end of his tail 
kept swaying from side to side, as hiss after hiss 
replied to the snarls of the dogs. This went on 
for a little while, until one of the dogs made a snap 
at the pig. Quicker than an arrow from a well- 
strung bow, shot forward the head of the snake, 
full six feet, and struck the venturesome dog 
straight in the ribs, and was back to its original 
position in a moment. The dog was thrown clean 
off its legs several paces, and with a convulsive 
kick or two was dead. You smile, Huzoor, but 
it is true words I am telling. These snakes always 
fight in that way. I have seen a bullock's ribs 



broken by a blow from the head of a boa. The 
boa has a square nose, like that of a buffalo, and 
it is not soft, but hard and bony, and it can deliver 
a blow as hard as that of twenty men together, 
and strike an object eight feet away. Seeing one 
of their number killed, the dogs now took counsel 
together and settled on a plan of action. They 
formed a complete circle round the snake and 
kept trotting round and round. One would then 
make a feint of attacking the snake, and when he 
launched forth to strike his adversary, another 
dog would rush from the opposite side and drive 
its teeth into the great snake's body. This ruse 
answered admirably for a time, and the snake 
began to bleed profusely from several severe 
wounds, and I was expecting a speedy victory for 
the dogs, when the boa, grown more wary, declined 
to be drawn by the feigned attack, but reserve< 
himself for the dog that actually seized him, an< 
again despatched it with a single blow of hi; 
formidable head. Several dogs were killed in thi< 
way, when the whole pack rushed on him at o 
and tried to seize him by the head. As well try t< 
seize a rat in a hut. The head was here, there, and 
everywhere. Ough ! bah ! bah ! it was a sight. The 
snarls of the dogs, the hiss of the snake, the yelps 
of the dying dogs ! It was all over in a moment 
only three dogs were left, and these took to flight. 
The snake glided back to its old position behin< 
the log, and seemed to go to sleep. After a tim< 
I crept cautiously away and went to my village. 
Several of us came down in our boats in the evening. 


We threw stones at the log, but there was no snake 
there. On landing we found the bodies of the pig 
and eight dogs. The snake had crept away into 
the forest. We saw his tracks marked with blood, 
but were afraid to follow. The Sonthals from 
Godamarree ate the pig ; the dogs we threw into 
the river." 

Such is Samoo's tale, told in fewer words but far 
less graphically. How much truth there is in it 
I cannot say, but the villagers all believe it to be 
true. One can well conceive the enormous force 
of a blow delivered with the tremendous power 
of the mass of muscle making up the body of 
these great serpents. But the question remains, 
" Do boas strike such blows with the head ? JI 
Mr. Kipling asserts it in his " Jungle Book/' and 
now Samoo tells the same tale. The generally- 
accepted belief is that pythons always use their 
power of constriction to crush and kill their prey. 
I have myself seen a nine-foot rock snake thus kill 
a large-sized goat, but Samoo and other natives 
assert that boas merely use their constrictive 
power to break the bones and squeeze the body 
of their prey into a shape fit to swallow, but that 
they first kill it with a blow of the head. 




SOME years ago I was engaged in prospecting for 
gold on the north-west-frontier of Mysore, between 
the districts of Chittaldroog and Shimoga. The 
forest tracts of Ubrani and Gangur, where my work 
lay, are made up of stunted growths of bamboo, 
babul and date-palm a very desolate country, the 
villages being few and far between and the cultiva- 
tion limited to the margins of the few streams that 
drain this hilly region. This portion of the country 
had a very evil reputation, for it was said to be in- 
fested with tigers, which found ready shelter in the 
low thorny jungle seen all over these hills. At the 
time of my visit a notorious man-eater was ravaging 
the country around Gangur, and it was reported 
that twenty-six human victims had fallen a prey to 
the savage monster in the past six months. A 
large reward had been offered for his slaughter by 
the Mysore Government, and some of the most 
noted native shikaris had been after him but had 
failed to bag the cunning brute. Several parties of 
British officers from the military stations of Ban- 
galore and Belgaum had also been after him, and al- 
though a number of other tigers had been shot, the 


famous man-eater was still at large. There could be 
no mistaking him. He was said to have but one 
eye, the other having been knocked out by a native 
when out duck-shooting on the Sulikeray tank (a 
large artificial lake in this neighbourhood). The 
man's story was that he was perched in the fork of a 
large tree on the margin of the lake, waiting for day- 
light in order to shoot the wild geese which frequent 
this tank. At daybreak he noticed an enormous 
tiger go down to the lake to drink. It then came 
and stretched itself under the very tree on which 
he was perched. After a time it appeared to go to 
sleep, with its head between its paws. He had 
only small shot in his single-barrel fowling-piece, 
but he thought at this short range he might be 
able to kill the brute, and the Government reward 
of thirty-five rupees for a tiger appeared to be 
within his grasp. He took careful aim at its eye 
and fired, dropping his gun at the same time in 
his agitation. With a fearful roar the tiger rushed 
away, tearing the bark from the trees with his 
teeth in his savage fury. After the lapse of some 
considerable time, and when the sun was well up in 
the heavens, the man got off his perch and made 
his way as quickly as he could to his village. 
The next day a careful search was made for the 
tiger, but nothing was seen of him. A few weeks 
later a man was carried off from the path between 
Uhrani and Gangur and partially eaten by the 
tiger. This happened again, and then it became 
a common occurrence, not a week passing but a 
human being was carried off. The brute seemed 


to frequent the high road between the district 
stations of Chittaldroog and Shimoga, and so 
daring had he become that all traffic between 
these two towns was at a stand-still for the 
time. He had been seen several times by vil- 
lagers and goat-herds, and the loss of one of his 
eyes was noted. Probably it was this very loss of 
an eye that led him to take to man-eating, as when 
wounded he would have been unable to roam far 
in search of his natural prey, and driven by hunger 
to attack man, he found him so easy a victim that 
thenceforth he hunted man instead of beast. He 
had been known to carry off a cartman and leave 
the bullocks from an ox-waggon conveying goods 
along the road. Latterly he had taken to killing 
the ddk-men, or native runners who carry the 
post from station to station in outlying parts 
of the country. These dak - runners carry the 
letter-bags slung on a stick thrown over the 
shoulder. At the further end of the stick is 
a bunch of small bells which make a kind of 
rhythmic jangle as the men trot along. The sound 
of these bells can be heard a considerable way off, 
and evidently this tiger had learned to associate 
their tinkle-tinkle with approaching prey. He 
would lie in wait in some unfrequented corner 
and then pounce on the unfortunate ddk-ruuner 
as he passed with the mails. Four poor wretches 
had fallen in succession to the maw of the fearful 
creature, and none would now venture to carry the 

I had with me as my assistant a young Cornish- 


man named Provis, out from England for the first 
time. We had pitched our camp at a wayside 
overseer's bungalow, about ten miles from the vil- 
lage of Gangur and on the Chittaldroog side. The 
country was open for several miles on all sides of 
the bungalow, the forest beginning some four miles 
west, where the road descended a kind of ghat 
(hill-side) into the valley leading to the Badra 
river. It was this spot that the man-eater was 
said chiefly to frequent, although his range ex- 
tended to villages many miles away. Owing to 
four ddk-men having been carried off by the 
tiger we could not get our letters from the 
nearest postal station, but had to ride in our- 
selves once a week to Shimoga, forty miles off. 
None of our servants nor the villagers dared to go 
alone any distance from the bungalow. Provis had 
heard and read so much of tiger-shooting that 
he was eager to have a pot at the tiger, all the 
more so from the fact of its being a man-eater, for 
great would be the kudos should he bag him. We 
scoured the country for miles, doing our prospect- 
ing at the same time, but never got sight of the tiger. 
We sat out night after night in a machan in all 
the most likely places, with a fine buffalo as a bait ; 
yet no tiger came. When we were at Gangur 
we heard of him at Ubrani ; when we got there, 
he had " killed" at some village ten miles off. 
We should have grown sceptical as to the ex- 
istence of the tiger if it were not for the 
gruesome sight of the partially-eaten body of 
a young woman taken from the fields in broad 


daylight at a village seven miles from our camp 
If we could have induced the poor weeping re- 
latives to leave the body where it was found, we 
might probably have got a shot at the monster 
on his return to complete his meal. But we had 
not the heart to urge it on them, when they 
wished to remove what was left of their kins- 
woman for burial. We gave them sufficient 
money to bury their dead and drown their 
sorrow in arrack, and turned away heart-sick at 
the ghastly spectacle we had just witnessed, 
vowing that we would not relax our efforts to 
rid the place of the brute. 

Talking over the events of the day at the bunga- 
low, Provis suggested that if one of us disguised 
himself as a ddk-man and carried the bells over his 
shoulder and trudged the bit of ghat road where the 
tiger had carried off the four ddk-men, while the 
other perched himself in a machan just near the 
spot where the tiger had made his previous attacks, 
we might probably get a shot at him. He thought 
that even if nothing came of it, the attempt would 
still serve to hearten the natives and show them 
that ddk-running was not so dangerous after all. 
This last argument, the inconvenience we had our- 
selves suffered from the stoppage of the post to- 
gether with the need of a little excitement in our 
hum-drum life, induced me to consent to his pro- 
posal. No thought of danger ever entered my mind 
for the moment. The toss of a rupee soon decided 
that I was to enact the ddk-maxi and Provis do the 
shooting from the machan. We sat up long, talking 


over the details of our mad-cap scheme, and pro- 
bably dreamt of it that night. Next morning we 
got together a number of villagers, and set off for 
the scene of the night's operations. The news of 
our plot to circumvent Master Stripes soon got 
wind, and the whole male population of the village 
assembled to help to erect the machan. Half-way 
down the declivity was a large tree which overhung 
the road at the angle of a zig-zag. In order to cut 
off this corner the natives took a short cut across 
the zig-zag. This path was worn into deep ruts, 
and it was along these ruts that the tiger concealed 
himself when lying in wait for the ddk-men. From 
the machan in the tree the roadway on both sides, 
as well as the short cut, could be plainly seen. 
Provis was to ride over at four o'clock in the after- 
noon and conceal himself in the machan. I was to 
ride over at about six, dismount some distance away 
from the edge of the jungle, send the pony back and 
then begin my experience as a <^&-man. Nothing 
would induce our syces (grooms) to remain with the 
ponies anywhere near the ghdt, so we arranged to 
walk back to the bungalow after our adventure. 
Prompt to the hour Provis set out and en- 
sconced himself in the machan , taking with him our 
whole battery of two double-barrel smooth-bores 
and a Snider carbine. Meanwhile I got myself up in 
a dark serge suit, shikar shoes, a white cummerbund 
and turban, and, provided with a stout staff and 
bells to complete my personation of a native post- 
runner, I set off amid the plaudits of the natives, 
who assembled in crowds to witness this escapade 


of the pitheya dor ays (mad gentlemen). It was just 
dusk when I got to within a mile of the head of 
the ghat. A bright moon was soon shining, so 
objects were clear enough. I dismounted and sent 
back my pony and began my tramp towards the 
jungle, shaking my bells as I went. I had two 
miles in all to go before reaching the machan. 
The first mile was in comparatively open ground ; 
after that the forest deepened and but little 
of the roadway could be seen. I had started 
my tramp in a careless mood, thinking more of 
my ludicrous disguise than of any danger to myself. 
As I descended the declivity I began to realise my 
position. Supposing the tiger actually attacked me, 
what was I to do ? I was wholly unarmed with 
the exception of the wooden staff, but what was 
that when matched against a tiger ! I felt more 
than half-inclined to turn back and concoct some 
tale as to my return. But what of Provis ? Could I 
shout to him from where I was ? Might not this very 
shouting attract the tiger ? To turn back then 
was perhaps as dangerous as to go forward, for 
the tiger might already be behind me. A glance 
backward sent a cold shiver all over me, and I set 
off at a sharp trot to join Provis. The jingling 
of the bells seemed to reassure me, and I went along 
for a few hundred yards. Suddenly I came to a 
stop, my heart beating furiously. There was a 
dark object standing by the road. The tiger ! 
Should I run from it ? My sudden stopping evi- 
dently alarmed the beast and it scampered off into 
the jungle, with the unmistakable lope of a jackal. 


I cannot recollect what happened in the next few 
minutes, but I found myself under the machan 
and Provis shouting, " What on earth has scared 
you, old man ? Did you see the tiger ? " A 
strong nip from Provis's flask and I was able to 
give some garbled account of having been out of 
wind with the trot. Shouldering our guns we 
walked down the ghat and then back to camp, 
but saw no signs of the tiger. Several times that 
night I got up with a feeling of the " creeps/' 
and imagined I was being stalked by the man- 

Next morning Provis insisted that we must make 
another attempt, this time changing places. No 
argument of mine would alter his determination. 
" If you don't come, old man, I go alone and do 
the dak-man. I won't have the natives say that 
the chick doray (little gentleman) is afraid." I 
tried to persuade him to take one of the double 
guns with him ; but no, he would go just as I went. 
Well, I got into the machan at 5 o'clock and made 
a nice little opening on three sides, so as to rest 
my gun and command the road on both sides, as 
well as the short cut. After that I sat down to 
wait quietly but found it a most difficult matter, 
as at dusk the mosquitoes got scent of me and kept 
me on the move trying to beat them away from my 
ears. At last I heard the bells in the distance, 
when it occurred to me that should anything 
happen to Provis I would be seriously to blame. I 
ought at any cost to have dissuaded him from his 
rash attempt. Every tinkle of the bells I feared 


would be the last, and it was with the utmost relief 
that at length I saw his figure looming in the 
distance. Now he has left the main road and got 
into the short cut. He is still about two hundred 
yards off, when Merciful Heaven ! What is that 
I see stealing along some thirty yards behind him ? 
The ruts hide it from view for a moment, but 
there it is again. There is no mistaking that huge 
head. It is the tiger ! The bright moonlight shows 
up his yellow body between the little ridges in the 
road, as crouching low he stealthily follows my 
friend, actually stalking him. I was in an agony 
of nervous tremor. Should I shout to warn Provis ? 
But that would probably cause him to stop, and 
the tiger would be on to him. Every moment 
seemed an age, yet there was my friend in the 
jaws of death and yet wholly unconscious of his 
extreme danger. Could I but stay the shaking 
of my hands there was a chance yet, as I could 
depend on my Snider for anything up to a hundred 
yards. I aimed as best I could at the tiger, but 
those who have done tiger-shooting know how 
small a mark this great brute offers when, crouched 
low, he steals along after his prey. He was visibly 
lessening the distance between himself and Provis, 
and would probably make his final rush in another 
moment or two. I aimed at a spot a few yards 
in advance where the path was comparatively 
level, so that I would be able to see the whole of 
the tiger's body, and immediately he appeared 
there I fired. Provis stopped a moment ; then 
rushed forward exclaiming, " D n it, old man, 


stop that ; your bullet pinged within an inch of 
my ear ! Don't crack jokes in that way ! " " Hurry 
up ! hurry up, for God's sake ! There is the tiger 
after you ! " I gasped out ; and hastily helped my 
friend into the machan beside me. We then looked 
out for the brute, but could see nothing of him. 
I felt sure of my shot, and declared he must be 
dead or dying behind one of the ruts. Pro vis 
was thoroughly scared when I told him of his 
narrow escape ; and we both vowed we would 
never attempt tiger-shooting in that manner again. 
After waiting a quarter of an hour we fired several 
shots into the air. Waiting an hour and hearing 
nothing, we again discharged our pieces and then, 
re-loading carefully, descended and walked to where 
I last saw the tiger ; but there was no tiger there. 
Feeling quite sure that we would recover him in 
the morning, we walked home and received quite 
an ovation from the natives when I told them that 
their arch-enemy was slain. Next morning we 
carefully searched the ground ; but although the 
mark where my bullet struck the ground and 
glanced off and the marks of Provis's shoes were 
distinct, there was not the slightest trace of a 
tiger's pug anywhere about. To this day I cannot 
be sure whether it was a tiger I fired at, or merely 
a phantom of my heated imagination. That the 
tiger was not dead we had sickening evidence a 
week later, when the head, arms and legs of a 
man were brought to us. The poor fellow had 
been killed the previous day at Ubrani, and the 
remnants of the tiger's meal were brought us to 


view, as a silent reproach for our want of success. 
Four months later, the one-eyed man-eater was 
shot by a native in his betel-garden and brought 
into Shimoga. There was no mistaking the brute, 
as one eye was completely gone. He was an enor- 
mous animal, of a fine bright yellow certainly with 
the finest skin I have ever seen. 




WHEN in the sixteenth century the confederate 
Mussulman forces under Adil Shah, the monarch of 
Goolburga, defeated the Hindoo sovereign of 
Vijianuggar at the decisive battle of Talikot, and 
thus finally overthrew the last of the Hindoo king- 
doms of South India, it was noticed that the 
utmost efforts of the brilliant Mussulman cavalry 
could make no impression on a body of Hindoo 
infantry which kept the field when all around was 
rout and slaughter. " Who/' asked Adil Shah, 
" are those brave spearsmen ? " " Beytars (hunts- 
men)," replied his attendants. " Nay, rather Bey- 
dars (without fear)/' said the chivalrous Mussulman 
sovereign. " Henceforth they shall be known, not 
as Beytars (huntsmen), but as Beydars (the fear- 
less)." This punning title of Beydar Beytar (the 
fearless huntsmen) is still borne by the clansmen 
of the famous caste of huntsmen inhabiting North 
Mysore and parts of the Southern Mahratta 
country. Under their P alegars, or tribal chiefs, 
they formed the flower of that Mysore army which, 
under Hyder AH, struck terror into the hearts of 


the Governor and Council of Fort St. George, and 
set at defiance the united efforts of the English, 
the Nizam, and the Mahrattas for twenty years. 
The ruthless proselytizing of the bigoted Tipu 
alienated these brave clansmen and turned them 
into bitter foes, and thus hastened the destruction 
of that mighty kingdom which his father Hyder 
had founded with their help. 

Under British rule this once famous soldiery 
have settled down into peaceful cultivators, but 
they still retain much of their traditional habits 
as huntsmen, and at stated intervals assemble in 
large numbers and organise a regular battue of all 
the game in their neighbourhood. Armed with 
short stabbing spears they will fearlessly meet the 
raging wild boar in full career, and with a well- 
planted stab nearly sever the shoulder from the 
body of the brute, while they leap nimbly aside to 
avoid its formidable tusks, still retaining hold of 
the spear, which they never throw. A favourite 
weapon with which they kill hare, jackals, and 
birds of all kinds is the kirasoo, or curled stick, 
a kind of Indian boomerang. The kirasoo is made 
from the ironwood shrub, common all over Mysore. 
It is a spiral stick about three feet long, and 
ending in a knob. Its weight varies from eight 
to twelve ounces. There are two methods of 
throwing the kirasoo, and in both the narrow 
end is held in the hand, the knob being forward. 
If an object on the ground is aimed at, the kirasoo 
is thrown under-arm with a jerk, its flight being 
straight with a screw motion. Immediately the 


knob strikes the ground the curled portion swings 
over it, describing a circle. The knob now jerks 
away a few feet and another circle is described, 
and so on a series of loops or circles are made by 
the stick until finally it falls to rest. Any hare 
or jackal within a range of several yards from the 
spot where the knob first touches the ground is 
almost certain to be knocked down by the stick in 
its gyrations. If thrown among a lot of birds the 
weapon does great damage. I have seen as many 
as six quail killed with a single throw. The other 
method of throwing the kirasoo is far more difficult 
and requires very considerable skill. The stick is 
swung round the head several times, and then 
launched forward. After a straight flight of about 
twenty yards it makes a series of zig-zags upwards 
and then drops. Among a flock of pigeons in 
flight this does great execution, killing and maiming 

My friend Lutchman, the Beydar, was an expert 
with the curled stick, and would do far more 
execution with it among the birds than I with my 
double-barrelled shot-gun. Innumerable blue rock 
pigeons take up their abode in the old pits and 
shafts of the ancient gold-workings seen on the 
auriferous tracts in Mysore. The mouths of these 
shafts are generally concealed by scrubby thorn 
bushes. Our method was to approach as quietly 
as possible, and when within a few yards to throw 
some stones, when out would fly a great flock of 
birds. Bang ! bang ! would go both my barrels, 
and whizz went Lutchman' s kirasoo ; we each 



secured our bag, but Lutchman's nearly always 
exceeded mine. When I extolled his skill and 
pointed to his larger number of birds, he would 
modestly remark : " My lord and father shoots for 
pleasure, I kill for a living ; if my lord hunted 
for a living, how great would be the load ! ' 

Lutchman was a fine specimen of a native 
athlete. About five feet four inches in height, 
with clean cut features, a straight nose, and small 
flexible nostrils, he would be considered a good- 
looking man anywhere. Well-shaped limbs, small 
hands and feet, slim waist and sloping shoulders, 
he could outrun all the men of his village, whether 
in a short sprint or a five-mile race ; while at lifting 
weights he was not far behind our stalwart North 
Country and sturdy Cornish miners. Unlike most 
of his clansmen Lutchman was a Lingayet by 
religion, and he wore the Phallic emblem in a little 
silver box on his right arm. Before starting on 
an expedition of any kind, before beginning a race 
or putting the stone, even before beginning his 
day's work, he would touch the lingam on his 
right arm with his left hand, and then touch 
his forehead this being his method of asking a 
blessing on his undertaking. A small section of 
the Beydars are Lingayets ; the great bulk of 
them worship the sanguinary goddess Kali. Tipu 
Sultan forcibly seized a number of Beydars and 
had them circumcised, hoping in this way to con- 
vert them to Mahomedanism ; but the infuriated 
tribesmen rose in rebellion, and retiring into their 
strong hill-fortresses, or droogs, bid defiance to 


Tipu and all his hosts. They were besieged for years 
in the famous fort of Chitaldroog, and although 
at times reduced to the utmost extremities, a bold 
sally on more than one occasion enabled them to 
seize the enemy's camp and re- victual the fortress. 
It is said that on the capture of Chitaldroog 
by treachery, there were found several thousand 
human heads before the shrine of the goddess Kali 
within the fort. During the siege, at daybreak 
each day, the collary horn a long brazen trumpet 
used by these tribes would sound, and out would 
rush a number of Beydars from the most un- 
expected quarters, and kill and behead such of 
the enemy as fell into their hands. These heads 
were offered as a morning sacrifice to the san- 
guinary goddess. 

Wild boar hunting is the chief sport among the 
Beydars. In the luxuriant millet fields and cane- 
brakes of the Mysore table-land this brute attains 
an enormous size. When the millet is in ear and 
the cane ripens, a sounder of pig will do an immense 
amount of damage in a single night. The path 
taken by the swine in their course from their 
haunts to the fields is carefully marked, and a 
day for the hunt is selected when the moon shines 
bright towards morn. At that hour the herds have 
finished feeding and make for their haunts. The 
most skilful among the spearsmen post them- 
selves on each side of the path the pigs take 
when returning. A leafy branch resting on the 
ground and supported by the left hand, conceals 
the spearsman. In his right hand is held the 



short stabbing spear, with its keen blade nearly 
a foot long and four inches wide. The whole of 
the inhabitants of the village, men, women and 
children, with all the village curs, surround the 
fields, leaving open only the path that the animals 
use. At a given signal the men shout, women 
and children scream, dogs bark and the whole 
make such a din that the frightened swine at once 
bolt for the jungle. The sows and pigs first break 
cover, and are allowed to pass the foremost spears- 
men, to be despatched by the less skilful hunts- 
men behind. Now a large black object looms in 
the distance and trots slowly up the path, stopping 
now and again to turn and give a grunt of defiance. 
To my friend Lutchman has been assigned the 
place of honour the foremost spear. A bright 
gleam in his eye and a rising of the muscles of his 
arms alone show that he is all alert. A shower of 
stones from behind, thrown by lads concealed for 
the purpose, sends the huge brute up the path 
at a gallop, his jaws champing furiously the while. 
Now he approaches the branch held by Lutchman. 
A bright gleam of steel, a shrill scream of rage 
and pain, and the boar stumbles forward a few 
paces in his death throes, his shoulder nearly 
severed from his body by the well-planted thrust 
and upward jerk of Lutchman' s spear. A shout 
of " Shabash ! shabash ! / (Well done ! well done ! ! )" 
rings out from his brother hunters, and Lutchman, 
the hero of the hour, proceeds to plant his foot on 
the body of his fallen foe and declare himself " the 
lord of the wild boar " (a favourite title of honour 


among these people), amid the plaudits of his 
companions. The boar is carried in triumph to 
the village, where an equal division is made 
of the flesh, the head being the perquisite of his 
slayer. Lutchman has the tusks of many boars in 
his hut ; some of these are quite five inches long 
and must have belonged to hoary monsters. Yet 
he never boasts of his prowess, and even when 
asked to tell the tale of his victories, he merely 
says, " The foolish animal rushed on my spear, 
thinking it was a millet stalk, but he was mis- 



AN Engineer in the Public Works Department, 
India, who has had much experience of India 
lately told me that he thought none of the wild 
beasts of that country were equal to the wolf 
in savage ferocity, wanton destructiveness and 
wild daring. He has spent much of his life in 
the North-West Provinces and Oude, where wolves 
are very plentiful, and he has often had occasion 
to remember that there are other animals in India 
as dangerous as the man-eating tiger and even 
more destructive to human life. 

On one occasion, while engaged on some bridge- 
work at Sheegottee, near Gya on the Grand 
Trunk Road, the native watchmen set to guard 
a brick-field were so frequently carried off by 
a pair of wolves that at last no one would remain 
after dark anywhere near the brick-kilns. One 
incident that my friend related well exemplifies the 
daring of these brutes. A watchman's hut had 
been erected near the brick-fields, and two men 
were appointed as care-takers. One moonlight 
night they were sleeping in the verandah of the 
hut, and, as natives of India generally do, they 
slept with their cloths drawn over their heads. 


One of the men was awakened by a gurgling noise 
and a sound of struggling. On looking up he saw 
that a large wolf had seized his brother-watchman 
by the throat, and was endeavouring to drag him 
off, while a second wolf was sitting on its haunches 
calmly watching the proceedings from outside. He 
at once got hold of his laihie (quarter-staff), and 
began belabouring the wolf, but it was only after 
repeated blows that it loosened its hold ; and then 
it only went off a few yards and kept growling and 
showing its teeth. Fortunately the watchman was 
a brave fellow, and a man of resource. The fire had 
not yet gone out, and tearing a wisp of grass 
from the thatched roof, he lighted it and rushed 
at the wolves with the flaming firebrand, thus 
putting them to flight, as there is nothing the 
wolf dreads so much as flaming fire. He had now 
time to attend to his companion, who had fainted 
away. There were several slight wounds in the 
neck, but the thick cloth the man had drawn over 
him had prevented the wolf from seizing him 
by the throat, the spot for which these animals 
always make, and dragging him away. 

Some years ago I was camped near the village 
of Sat-bowrie (Seven Wells) on the high-road from 
Nagpore to Jubbulpore. The village had an un- 
enviable notoriety for thieves and was more 
frequently called Chor-bowrie (Thieves' Wells) than 
Sat-bowrie. The hill ranges to the north were 
inhabited by a wild race known as Bheels, the 
most expert thieves in the world, and a number of 
these Bheels had settled round Sat-bowrie, and were 


known to be concerned in the numerous robberies 
that had recently taken place in that neighbour- 
hood. A special officer Lieutenant Cumberledge, 
I think, of the Thuggi Department had been sent 
down to investigate, as several persons had dis- 
appeared from the village of late and it was thought 
that the Thugs (professional stranglers) had had 
something to do with their disappearance, as the 
bodies were not recovered and these wretches 
were known to be particularly skilful in hiding 
away the corpses of their victims. 

Cumberledge told me a strange story. His first 
search was for signs of Thugs, but no strangers 
were known to be about nor had parties of seemingly 
respectable Hindoo travellers (the usual disguise 
of Thugs) gone up or down the road. He then 
thought that the murderers might be Bheels ; but 
Bheels were also among the missing persons, and 
a great fear had fallen on their people, as they 
ascribed the disappearance of their fellows to a 
malignant spirit. Robbery evidently was not an 
object, since most of those who had disappeared 
were poor people with few or no ornaments. The 
officer then imagined that the cause of all this 
mischief might be a man-eating tiger ; but he soon 
had to dismiss that idea from his mind, as no tiger 
pugs had been seen, and the keenest trackers had 
been unable to find traces of one of these brutes 
anywhere in the neighbourhood. A man-eating 
wolf then suggested itself, as it was known that 
wolves frequently took to man-eating, and then 
became very daring. The circumstances attending 


the mysterious disappearances were very like the 
work of a man-eating wolf, as the victims if 
victims they were always vanished at night ; 
they were generally taken from the verandah of 
their huts, and not a bone of the unfortunates 
was found. The tiger will usually leave the larger 
bones of the creatures he preys on ; wolves will not 
leave a vestige, as they are more fond of bones 
than even dogs are. But even this reasoning 
appeared to be at fault, for at first no trace of 
any creature's foot-marks could be found. 
Eventually, however, near to some of the houses 
from which people had disappeared, there was seen 
the trail of some animal which no one could recog- 
nise. It certainly was not the track of any known 
animal, and the Bheels and local shikaris regarded 
it as :< uncanny/' and ascribed it to a wood- 
demon or rakshasha. Four rounded holes, with a 
brush-like mark before and behind, were all that 
could be seen, and these disappeared sometimes 
in places where distinct trail should have been 
found. Cumberledge was nonplussed, and told 
me his tale with much chagrin. He had been 
a fortnight on the spot and was no nearer the 
solution of the mystery than when he arrived. 
Indeed, he admitted to me that he was more 
puzzled now than when he first came, as the 
ideas he had formed on the subject had had 
to be abandoned one by one, and he was now 
further off than ever from scenting a trail. Two 
persons were missing since his arrival on the 
spot : one the wife of the village herdsman, taken 


from inside her hut ; the other a youth of seven- 
teen, last seen sleeping before the village shop 
in the heart of the hamlet. He asked me if I 
would join him in the endeavour to unearth this 
strange mystery, and as I expected to be in that 
neighbourhood for a month I readily consented. 

About a week after this a child was taken from 
a Bheel's hut some distance from the village. The 
child was said to be sleeping in its mother's arms 
at the time. She heard a rustle during the night 
and, getting up, missed the child. Thinking that it 
had crawled away, she searched round the hut 
and, not finding it, gave the alarm. She found 
the bamboo door partly pushed aside, so knew 
that some animal had entered. Not a trace was 
to be seen on the hard-beaten clay in front of the 
hut, only a drop or two of blood showed that the 
poor infant had been carried away by some brute. 
We felt sure now that this night's work at least 
was done by a wolf, as both Cumbeiiedge and I 
had heard of cases of wolves stealing into houses 
at night and taking sleeping children from their 
mother's arms without awakening the parent. We 
scouted the country for miles round, using several 
good dogs in the search, without any result. Two 
days afterwards the lieutenant's servant came to 
me early in the morning and said his master wished 
to see me, as the Demon had come to the village 
in the night and had carried off the sonar (gold- 
smith). He knew it was the Demon, as his marks 
were plainly to be seen in the roadway. When I 
got there I found a large crowd collected near the 


goldsmith's house, but they were carefully kept 
away from the vicinity of some well-marked signs 
in the dust before the house. They were similar 
to the marks seen near other houses from which 
inmates had been taken four rounded holes, 
about fifteen inches apart and placed two and 
two together. The back holes were much wider 
than those in front, and from these latter a slight 
depression extended for about ten inches ter- 
minating in a knuckle mark. A similar knuckle 
mark was seen behind each of the near holes, but 
further away, and the longitudinal mark was 
wanting. My attention was drawn to these pecu- 
liarities by Cumberledge, whose training as a police 
officer qualified him for taking note of signs that 
others would have overlooked. The natives were 
loud in their expressions of opinion as to the 
machinations of a forest demon. One old man 
indeed declared that he had seen the evil thing. 
It first appeared as an old man, and then changed 
into a dog, and then vanished. His story, though 
laughed at by us, was firmly believed by the 
simple villagers, and after-events proved that there 
was some truth in it. Careful search showed the 
trail to lead to some stony ground outside the 
village, where all further trace of it was lost. 
Returning from an unsuccessful hunt all over the 
neighbourhood, we came back to the goldsmith's 
house, with the faint hope of finding some clue, 
when suddenly a thought struck me that I had 
seen a similar trail before, and I accordingly told 
one of the natives present to go down on all fours, 


knees and elbows on the ground, and crawl lor a 
bit. His tracks gave a fairly good representation , 
with certain marked differences, of the mysterious 
track that had puzzled us. " Wolf-boy ? " I said 
to Cumberledge. He was sceptical. (< Surely, you 
don't think a wolf-boy has taken to man-eating ? 
I have heard of such creatures, but I doubt all 
the stories I have been told of them," he replied. 
" I don't say we have a man-eating wolf-boy ; I 
merely assert that the tracks have been made by 
such a creature. I have lately seen one at Seoni, 
and I noticed that he crawled on his knees and 
elbows. If you ask a native to go down on all 
fours, he will either go on his hands and feet or 
hands and knees ; never on his elbows. I noticed 
this as a peculiarity of the wolf-boy I saw." 

On enquiring of the natives whether they had 
ever heard of or seen a wolf-boy in that neigh- 
bourhood, they all had stories to tell of boys being 
carried away by wolves and brought up by those 
creatures, but none could personally vouch for 
having seen one. Numbers of children had been 
carried off by wolves from their village, but they 
had been eaten by the beasts. Once, however, the 
mysterious marks had been cleared up by my 
explanation, the native shikaris appeared to 
regain all their astuteness. Now that all fear of 
demons and spirits had vanished, an old Bheel 
offered to lead us to a ruined temple near to which 
he had seen similar marks. We bade him lead the 
way, and we followed. The Bheel took us along 
some stony ground near to a rivulet about half a 


mile off. Going down the course about a mile and 
a half we entered a dense jungle of thorn and 
brushwood among some hillocks, and at length in 
a thick clump we saw the ruins of a Sivaite temple. 
This was carefully surrounded, and guns and spear- 
men placed in position. The Bheel showed us 
tracks similar to those already noticed, near the 
margin of a water-hole in the rivulet, and along a 
path leading thence to the temple. In addition to 
these were the well-marked paws of a large wolf. 
The men were instructed on no account to injure 
the wolf-boy should he be found, but to capture 
him alive. The circle gradually narrowed round 
the old temple, and stones were now thrown 
among the brushwood to start the game, but with- 
out effect. Soon the stone plinth or platform on 
which these temples are always built was reached, 
yet no wolf or wolf -boy was to be seen. There was 
the little chamber in the temple, where the phallic 
emblem is displayed ; the single entrance to this 
was almost concealed by ruins and brushwood, and 
was just the kind of place a wolf would select 
as a den. The shikaris were sure we should find 
the wolves within this lair. Several stones were 
thrown in, but nothing moved. Now a lighted 
firebrand was flung in, yet not a sound. Our Bheel 
guide at last ventured within, with a firebrand in 
hand, but the place was empty nor was there any 
sign of its having been frequented by animals of 
any kind. We turned away in disgust and were 
just leaving the precincts of the temple when an 
exclamation from one of the men caused us to 


return to the platform ; and there, adhering to a 
stone, was a small splash of blood and a little 
human hair. The splash was recent and evidently 
made by a body being drawn over the stone. The 
search was redoubled, but all in vain ; not a cranny 
or nook that would hide a hare was left unprobed. 

Sivaite temples are built in the form of a square, 
for about eight feet of their height, and within 
this square is the altar or fane. Above the square 
a four-sided pyramid, highly ornamented, rises 
to a greater or less height, according to the size 
of the temple. Archways about eighteen inches 
high generally pierce the pyramid from side to 
side. One wall of the square had slightly fallen 
down at the top, and here also a splash of blood 
was observed. The men quickly surrounded the 
temple, and one or two who had mounted the 
terrace from which the pyramid starts, now 
announced that the wolf was within the low arch 
and that a dead body was there also ! We were 
quickly drawn up on the terrace, and there sure 
enough was the wolf, crouched behind the dead 
body and snarling viciously. A well-directed shot 
from Cumberledge killed him on the spot, and one 
of the Bheels drew out the dead body of the gold- 
smith, and that of a large-sized female wolf. Not 
a trace of a wolf-boy was however to be seen 
anywhere about. The goldsmith's body was only 
partly eaten, the stomach being nearly gone. The 
tooth marks in the neck showed how he must have 
been seized by the wolf and all cry stifled, while 
death must have been almost instantaneous. The 


Bheels pointed to a portion of the arm that was 
eaten, and said that that had been done by the 
wolf-boy, as the teeth marks were human. This 
well might be, for it is well known that when wolf 
children have been captured and kept in captivity 
they evince great fondness for raw meat and bones. 
It was horrible to think of. A careful watch was 
now set for the wolf-boy ; but the story of how he 
was captured I must reserve for another chapter. 


Two days after the destruction of the man- 
eating wolf the Bheel guide and a crowd of 
followers turned up at our camp late in the 
evening, with an object swung on a pole and borne 
by two men. It proved to be the wolf-boy, with 
wrists and ankles firmly bound together and a 
pole thrust in between just as one sees a pig 
carried about by the natives in country places. 
Marks of severe handling showed themselves all 
over his body, and bleeding wounds on several 
of his captors proved that his teeth and long 
talons had been freely used. We directed his 
captors to loose his hands and feet, but they 
declared he would make off at once if they did 
so. However, a dog-chain round the waist was 
all we would permit, and his hands and feet were 
soon free. Instead of taking to flight he cuddled 
up hands and feet together, just as children do 
when asleep. His hair was long, hanging down 
to his shoulders, and matted in places. It was 
of a blackish hue with ends of a sandy brown. 
His legs and arms were thin and sinewy and 
showed many a scar and bruise ; the stomach 
large and protuberant, the shoulders rounded. 


\TofacepcwQ 96. 


His teeth were worn to stumps in front, but the 
canines and molars were well developed. On being 
given a piece of roast mutton he first smelt it, 
and then fell to greedily, tearing off pieces with 
the side of his mouth and swallowing them without 
mastication. The bone he kept crunching at and 
gnawing for hours ; this explained the worn state 
of his front teeth. He emitted a strong foxy 
odour, so that at first even the dogs avoided him, 
but he appeared to take at once to a large Brinjaree 
dog of mine, that much resembled a wolf in 
appearance. When taken into the tent, he showed 
a great dread of the light, and no persuasion or 
threats would get him near it. He at once made 
for a corner, or under the camp stretcher, and 
coiled himself up. But he was not allowed to 
stay in the tent as it was found that his hair 
swarmed with large ticks, and the smell from his 
body was overpowering. He was therefore given 
a truss of straw and chained near to the dogs, 
and a watchman was told off to look after him, 
Next morning we were able to examine our 
strange captive more closely. He was apparently 
about ten years old. With difficulty we got him 
to stand upright. He measured four feet one inch 
in height. His knees, toes, elbows, and the lower 
part of his palms were hard, and covered with a 
horny skin, showing that he habitually crawled on 
knees and elbows. He would occasionally get on 
to his feet, run a few paces, and then fall on to his 
palms and hurry along much as one sees a monkey 
do. When moving he was usually on his elbows 



and knees. This mode of progression was probably 
acquired from having to crouch low when entering 
and leaving the wolf's den. He would not tolerate 
clothing of any kind nor would he use straw. He 
preferred to scratch a hole in the sand and cuddle 
himself up in this. We had his hair close cropped 
and then took him to the river for a wash, but to 
this he most strongly objected, and it required all 
the exertions of two syces (grooms) and the mehter 
(sweeper) to force him into the water. We could 
only get him quiet when Nandair, the Brinjaree 
dog, was washed beside him. He quite took to 
the big Brinjaree, but showed a strong aversion 
to a hairy terrier belonging to Cumberledge. 

On being shown the skin of the large she-wolf 
he became quite excited, smelled at it several 
times, turned it over, and then uttered the most 
plaintive howls it has ever been my lot to listen to. 
They resembled somewhat the first cry of a jackal; 
hence the servants called him Seeall (jackal). 
After this he would never go near the skin, but 
showed evident marks of terror when taken near 
it. He would sleep all day, but became restless 
at nights, and would then try to escape to the 
woods. He would not touch dog-biscuits or rice 
stewed with meat, but would select all the meat 
and leave the rice. Raw meat he snatched at 
greedily. He appeared to be particularly partial to 
the offal of fowls. When on one occasion the 
cook threw away the entrails of a chicken in his 
presence, he instantly seized it and swallowed it 
before anyone could prevent him. He also showed 


a strong predilection for carrion. His sense of 
smell was so acute that he could scent a dead 
cow or buffalo a long distance off, and at once 
began tugging at his chain to get to it. 

Unlike all the other " wolf -boys " of whom we 
have any record, this creature soon showed he 
had a great deal of intelligence. He could not 
speak during the time I knew him, but I was 
afterwards told he had learnt the Gond language 
from his keeper and could converse fairly well. 
In a week's time he was far more intelligent 
than a dog, and many of his tricks showed that 
he thought and planned. He would sit by when 
the dogs were fed, and would remove pieces 
of meat from the dishes of the other dogs and 
give them to his particular friend, the great Brin- 
jaree. After a few days we had his head close 
shaved, and turmeric and oil rubbed well into his 
skin, and he was then washed with hot water. 
This treatment soon removed the foxy smell, and 
the present of a raw chop every day if he kept 
on his loin-cloth soon induced him to take to 
clothing. He was an object of great curiosity 
among the natives, who came in from miles round 
to see him. All his hair and the parings of his 
nails, which were abnormally long, were bought 
by the natives from the mehter (sweeper) in 
whose charge all private dogs in India are placed, 
and who therefore took over the care of " Seeall " 
and used by them as a remedy for hydro- 
phobia. The women asked permission to worship 
him, and brought presents of milk and fowls. 



With the favour of the C( Lord of the Wolves/' 
as they called him, their flocks would, they said, 
be safe from the ravages of these fierce beasts. 
But Seeall disliked these offerings of the women, 
and his eyes would glare so savagely at the sight 
of the children that several attendants had to 
watch him at such times to see that he did no 
mischief. It required no stretch of imagination to 
believe that he had often shared in a meal, with his 
wolf companion, off a freshly-killed child, even if 
he did not himself help to carry off the little 
victim. The strange disappearance of his trail in 
the softer parts of the track, noticed in the 
account of the man-eating wolf, was accounted 
for by his rising on his feet in such places, and 
leaving marks undistinguishable from those of 
other human beings. 

The natives declare that when a she-wolf has 
lost her whelps, from accident or otherwise, she 
experiences a soreness at the teats from the accu- 
mulation of milk, and she then generally steals 
a child. The sucking of the child relieves the 
wolf, and the infant is thenceforth regarded as 
a member of the family and shares the wolves' 
den and food. When young whelps have been 
noticed with a wolf-boy, they have always been 
of a subsequent litter. 

When Lieutenant Cumberledge returned to 
Bhopal, Seeall went with him, and I learnt 
that he was afterwards sent to a missionary in 
the North- West. I have reason to believe that he 
was the original of Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli. 



' I WONDER how you can tolerate such fellows. 
I would whip them out of the place. They are 
the curse of all shikar, with their cowardly 
method of killing tigers. There will soon be no 
tigers left to shoot if you encourage these 
rascals." So said a planter friend who was staying 
with me, to whom I had introduced " my friend 
the bagh-maree " (tiger-slayer). Now, I do not in 
any way share these sentiments, but on the 
contrary I regard the bagh-maree as a most 
useful member of society. Beema, the bagh-maree, 
has to my knowledge accounted for two panthers, 
two cheetahs (hunting leopards), one tiger and 
one bear. Their skins now adorn the verandah 
of my bungalow. These animals were all killed 
within a mile of the village of Somij (Chota 
Nagpore district), and in about two months' time. 
When it is remembered how vast is the number 
of cattle and goats annually destroyed by tigers 
and panthers in India, it will be seen that my 
friend Beema is anything but deserving of the 
hard words used by my European shikaree friend. 
In the last twelve months twenty-six head of 
cattle had been killed within two miles of my 


bungalow. This of itself is a very seiious loss 
to the villagers, whose chief means of subsistence 
is agriculture, for which cattle are essential ; and 
if Beema had not thus come to their assistance 
several families of ryots (cultivators) would pro- 
bably have been ruined. 

So much to establish the claims to gentle treat- 
ment of my friend the tiger-slayer ; and now for 
his story : 

" I was not always a bagh-maree, Huzoor (Sir). 
I am a tantee (weaver) by caste. But a chota bagh 
(panther) did it. It made me a bagh-maree. It 
was not a tiger at all ; it was a witch that had 
entered the body of a tiger, to do me an injury. 
I paid Gagee the Gond two rupees for a charm, 
and after three years I killed it. Huzoor, you 
know that I killed it behind your bawarchee-khana 
(kitchen) the day after it had killed and eaten 
Madho's son last year. I know the animal to be 
the witch by the piece out of its ear which I cut 
off with my bulloova (battle-axe) three years ago 
at Bara, my village. Gagee the Gond made the 
charm out of that piece of its ear, and I have the 
charm yet. Here it is, and there (pointing to 
the skin on my verandah wall) is the devil. I 
became a bagh-maree out of revenge. You see 
my head ; it is nearly bald, and the girls laugh 
at me and say I am old, pointing to my baldness, 
but the witch did that three years ago. 

" I made a cloth for an old woman of our village, 
and charged her one rupee and a half for it. It 
cost me one rupee two annas worth of cotton 


thread, so my gain was only six annas. She only 
paid me Rs. 1-2, and when I pressed for the balance, 
six annas, she refused to pay, and cursed me, saying 
a tiger would eat me. 

'"A few nights after this a chota bagh (panther) 
got into my goat pen and killed two goats and was 
carrying off a third when I aimed a blow at its 
head with my axe, but only cut off its ear. It 
clawed me on the head and the wound caused all 
the hair to drop off. I vowed revenge and learned 
how to set the thair (spring bow) and poisoned 
arrows, from Maun Sing the Kowtia. I have been 
a bagh-maree for three years and I have killed 
two tigers, ten panthers, two hunting leopards and 
five bears. The Sirkar (Government) gives me 
Rs. 25 for each tiger and Rs. 5 for each leopard or 
panther. They don't pay for bears. The villagers 
also give me four seers (=9 Ibs.) of paddy each, 
whenever I kill a tiger or panther that has carried 
off any of their cattle. I also get fed when I am 
staying at any village. I do all the killing within 
ten miles of Bara. There are other bagh-marees 

" We bagh-marees chiefly use dakara (aconite) for 
poisoning our arrows. Dakara is a root about a 
span long, and as thick as my wrist. We buy 
it at Chyebassa from the native medicine shops 
at four annas a tola. We grind it up with a little 
boiled rice to make a paste. This paste we rub 
over a rag, and wind the rag round the back of 
the arrow-head just behind the barb. The head 
fits loosely into the shaft of the arrow, so that 


when the animal is hit the poisoned rag enters 
the wound with the arrow-head and the shaft drops 
off. The animal dies within a few hours, and we 
easily trace it by the blood and broken twigs. 
Bears are the most difficult to kill. They will 
sometimes live a whole day with the poisoned arrow 
inside them. Tigers die very soon. We some- 
times use cobra poison, but it is difficult to get. I 
keep two cobras from which I take the poison 
once a month. If I take the poison oftener it 
is of no use. I cannot take the poison while the 
cobra is changing his skin, which he does once 
every two months or so. He has no poison then, 
and won't bite the plantain. How do I get the 
cobra's poison ? Why, I take a ripe plantain 
and tie it to the end of a stick, and with this I 
irritate the cobra until he bites the plantain. If 
he turns his head when he- bites, I know the poison 
has come. He sometimes bites without giving a 
twist of his head, and then no poison comes. We 
rub the plantain over the rag, just as we do the 
dakara. A plantain with two bites in it is enough 
for a large tiger. Cobra poison is the best, as 
it never spoils ; dakara gets weaker the longer 
you keep it. Dakara does not grow here ; it comes 
from Calcutta. How do we know where to set 
our spring bows ? Huzoor, you know that a 
tiger never crashes through the brushwood. That 
would alarm the game. He always takes paths 
through the jungle. He will not take a narrow 
path. He sticks his whiskers out straight, and 
with these he feels the brushwood and knows if 


there is room for him to pass. He also crouches 
low when walking. In the dry season there are 
many paths in the jungle, and as we know not 
which the tiger will take, we don't usually set our 
traps in the dry weather. During the rains, when 
the underwood has grown, we know that the 
tigers must take the beaten paths, and we set our 
traps accordingly. The bow is set on V-shaped 
twigs about eighteen inches from the ground. 
The bow is placed on one side of the path and a 
string connected with the trigger stretches across 
the path, about eighteen inches above the ground, 
and is tied fast to a twig on the opposite side. 
If a tiger or panther attempts to follow the path 
he must breast the string and the strain sets free 
the poisoned arrows (we generally use two to each 
bow), which enter his side, and he dies in a few 
hours within a few hundred yards of the trap. 
In case men or cattle should stray on to the path, 
two other strings are attached to the trigger and 
tied to twigs three and a half feet off the ground 
and three or four yards away from the trap. This 
greater height allows a tiger to pass underneath, 
but should a bullock or a man come that way, he 
brushes against the higher string, which sets free 
the arrows before he comes up to them, and they 
pass harmlessly into the brushwood. 

' There is no danger in following up a tiger 
wounded with poisoned arrows, for even if he is 
not dead he is so weakened by the potency of the 
poison that we easily despatch him with our 
battle-axes. I have never been hurt by a tiger 



since I was wounded by the witch-panther I told 
you about. But that was before I became a 
bagh-maree. When we go to a new village we 
generally make poo j ah (worship), sacrificing a white 
cock. If we don't make sacrifice we lose our 
tigers/ 7 

This briefly is the story of Beema the bagh- 
maree, elicited from him by a series of questions. 
The trap used by these native bagh-marees is 
most ingenious and seldom fails ; and the dange] 
from them is nil. The weird story of the witch- 
panther of my friend the bagh-maree must 
reserved for another occasion. 



" THE Huzoor knows," began my friend the Bagh- 
maree, ''' that Lagon, the witch, cursed me for 
asking her for the price of the cloth I made for her. 
The curse was a great curse and made with bent 
fingers, and her great toe marked the curse on the 
sand. After this I was afraid to go to the jungle 
alone, as I was always in dread of tigers. I killed 
a cock and sprinkled the blood round my hut, yet 
the witch's curse was strong and I felt the water 
on my back the (Bagh-maree's definition of fear). 

' The Huzoor does not believe that our old 
women can turn themselves into tigers ? But they 
can do so. All our people know it. It may not 
be the case with Sahib-logue (English people), but 
with our people it is common. Ask Matha and 
Lutchman (referring to the village headmen). 
They will tell you that Lagon can turn herself 
into any animal she pleases, and do injury to 
those whom she dislikes. I know that Lagon 
turned herself into a panther, and killed my goats. 
I cut at it with my battle-axe, and took off a 
portion of its ear, and wounded it in the fore-paw. 
It is well I found and secured the piece of its ear. 
This saved me, and I knew I was safe so long as I 


kept this piece in my possession. The next morn- 
ing, after my goats were killed, Lagon came to my 
hut and said she heard I had a piece of the tiger's 
ear, and offered me four rupees for it as she wanted 
to make medicine with it ; but I refused, and then 
she shut one eye and marked the sand with her 
big toe and went away. Then I knew it was a 
question of her life or my life, so I went to Gazee, 
the Gond, for the charm. Lagon was sick for 
some time, and did not leave her hut. It was 
harvest time, and the women were in the fields 
cutting paddy, and Kunkoo left her baby under 
the mahua tree, within sight of the gleaners. At 
noon, when the gleaners rested, the baby was gone ! 
Ah, Huzoor ! the cry that went up when Kunkoo 
missed her infant ! 'Twas the cry of the chiel 
(water-hawk) when its nest is robbed. We searched 
high, we searched low. The child was too young 
to crawl, and no one had seen it carried off. Had 
a Dave (goddess) taken it ? A few drops of blood 
leading to the water-course was the first clue. T< 
the water-course we went, and all was plain. Th( 
pugs of a panther were plainly seen. Someon< 
remarked that the panther had but three legs, 
only three pugs could be traced ; the impression 
of the left fore-paw was missing. We followed the 
trail to the hills, and there it was lost among the 

' Thereafter scarcely a month passed but we losl 
some children. The goat-herds were afraid to go 
to the jungles with their flocks. Not our village 
alone, but Dalki, Huthutwa, Derwa, and Somi; 


were all haunted by this devil. We knew it to 
be the same, from the pug marks. It was the 
three-legged witch-panther. After a time it grew 
more daring and carried off women. No one 
would go out alone ; while after dark all were 
afraid, and even the men stayed within their huts. 
One moonlight night in Magh (April-May), when 
the young men and girls were dancing in the 
' house-of-drums ' and drinking mudh (rice-beer), 
the witch-panther entered the village and carried 
off the beer-seller's daughter, a grown young 
woman of fourteen. No one saw the panther, but 
the girl was missing and there were the pugs of 
the three-legged devil. Late next day her feet and 
a portion of the chest and head were found near 
Lagon's hut. The old witch was examined, and it 
s found that she, who had previously been all 
Dones, was now sleek and fat. Some silver orna- 
nents belonging to the gowla's daughter, who had 
Deen killed by the panther three months before, 
re found in the witch's hut. The lying old seeall 
jackal) said she found them while out gathering 
wood, but we none of us believed her, and it was 
proposed that we should burn her for having killed 
Dur children ; but we were afraid of the Sirkar 
(Government). After taking counsel it was deter- 
mined that she should be turned out of our village, 
and her hut burned. This we did that same day, 
and the chowkidar (village watchman) saw her to 
tier relative's house in Morong. 

" After this we had no fear, and went about our 
work as usual, until one day in the rice harvest two 


years ago. When the paddy is cut we do not thresh 
it at once, but stack it in piles for a few days, when 
the ears become loose, and are readily parted from 
the straw on being trodden by cattle. Our head- 
man and his son and three others were sleeping in 
the fields near their piles of paddy. In the morning 
the headman's son was missing, and on search being 
made, the fatal pugs of the witch-panther were seen. 
There was weeping in our village, and the most 
noted Bagh-marees were sent for, and traps laid 
for the witch ; but to no purpose. It seemed to 
be able to avoid all snares. We asked the railway 
sahibs (officials) to come to our help, but although 
several hunts were organised, and several tigers 
and panthers killed, yet the dreaded witch-panther 
still remained at large. When we looked for it in 
Bara, it was heard of in Derwa, and when we got 
there, it was back again at Bara. Cocks, goats, 
and even a buffalo calf were sacrificed, but th 
panther continued its ravages, and a great fe 
fell on all the villagers, so that many families left 
for Patkoom and other places. I alone was not 
afraid, as I had Gazee's charm, and this kept me 
safe. Meanwhile the Sirkar offered fifty rupees for 
the destruction of this brute, but it was of no use. 
" Last November, the Huzoor will remember, 
Matho's son, a young man, was taken from hi 
house at night and eaten on the roadway, and onl 
his head and legs were left. The Huzoor himse 
saw this. Then the trap was set at the back of th 
bawarchee-khanah (cook-house), and the witch wa 
killed. At first we did not know it was th 


witch, but the piece out of the ear proved it 
was the panther I struck at three years previously, 
and the broken fore-paw showed it was three- 
legged. I must have done this also when I cut 
off its ear. The death of the old woman Lagon 
about a week after the panther was shot proved 
conclusively that she was the witch-panther. May 
her bones be accursed ! ' 

I may here remark that I cannot answer for 
the truth of all my friend, the Bagh-maree, has 
related of the witch-panther ; but on my arrival 
at Somij I certainly was told of the ravages of 
a man-eating panther in that neighbourhood. A 
small panther, about twenty inches high and four 
feet long (exclusive of tail) was killed with 
poisoned arrows at the back of my bungalow 
last November. This, the villagers declare, was 
the witch-panther. It had only half of one ear, 
and had lost the use of its left fore-paw. I have 
the skin to this day. 



OPINIONS differ as to the best time for buffalo hunt- 
ing. Some prefer the dry months of March and 
April. Water, it is argued, is then scarce, and the 
herds don't stray far from known water-holes. 
Much depends, I think, on locality. Buffaloes are 
big feeders and you may have water-holes but no 
grass, and then you are not likely to get buffaloes 
as they are slow travellers, and will not go long 
distances away from food to drink. For myself, I 
like September and October in the forests of Chota 
Nagpore. Then the rice-fields are one sheet ol 
green, and knee-deep with water from the monsooi 
rains ; and there is nothing these huge brutes lik< 
so much as a feed on the young rice and a wallow ii 
the unctuous clay. Indeed, the damage they cau< 
by wallowing in the rice flats is greater than thai 
they do by eating the young shoots of rice, as th< 
natives say that this nibbling off of the top blad( 
makes the rice plant throw out more grain-bearin{ 
shoots. In Gangpore, Sarunda and the southen 
parts of Chota Nagpore, wild buffaloes come dowi 
from the hills immediately after the rains set in, an< 
can generally be found near the little patches o1 
rice cultivation dotted here and there in the den< 


forests of this region. At one time, before the 
opening of the Bengal-Nagpore Railway, they were 
very plentiful, and I have known seventeen head 
fall to a single gun in the course of three weeks. 
They are rather more difficult to get nowadays, 
but there are still spots near to the line of railway 
where you are sure of your buffalo during the 
Poojas (annual native holidays in Bengal, occurring 
generally in September or October). 

As a rule, an Express rifle is almost useless 
against such a mountain of flesh. Weight of lead 
tells, and I find a well-planted shot in the neck 
most effectual, as this is about the most vulner- 
able part of the Bubalas ami. He either drops 
at once from a broken spinal column, or runs 
a few hundred yards and falls with a perforated 
wind-pipe. Some years ago I fired a whole maga- 
zine into the shoulders and quarters of a huge 
bull buffalo before I could get him, and then he 
only fell from sheer loss of blood. Charun, the 
famous Kol shikaree of Bisra, in Gangpore, put me 
up to the neck-shot. Charun is a mute, but unlike 
most mutes he has a very keen sense of hearing, 
and can detect the stampede of a herd long before 
the faintest rustle reaches ordinary ears. Although 
over sixty years of age, he can out-walk the best 
trackers, and seems never to tire. He was the 
favourite shikaree of Mr. Hewett, a former Chief 
Commissioner of Chota Nagpore, who presented 
him with a percussion-cap smooth-bore gun, 
of which he is very proud. With signs and 
gestures he easily makes you understand his mean- 



ing, and I have never known him fail when once 
on the track of elephant, buffalo or bison. 

I was camped near the Bisra station, Bengal- 
Nagpur Railway, some years ago, when Charun 
turned up one morning with his arms spread wide 
over his head a gesture which I understood to 
mean buffalo ; then a single finger upheld, meaning 
a solitary buffalo ; out-stretched fingers over his 
foot to indicate the large size of the spoor ; adding 
to the south of the railway line, and that we would 
come up to it by nine o'clock a.m., by a wave of 
his hand to the south and pointing to where the 
sun would be, which conveyed his meaning to me 
as plainly as words could do. During the rains I 
find an elephant a very useful animal in a shikar 
expedition. The ground is sloppy ; there are 
numerous rivulets to cross, and after a fatiguing 
day the return to camp is better done on a pad 
than on foot. Again, the trophies of the day's 
sport can easily be brought home if your pad- 
elephant is kept a few hundred yards behind the 
trackers. Bheestie, the baggage elephant, was soon 
in full swing after Charun, who stalked on before, 
accompanied by two other of his confreres, while 
I was safely perched up on the pad behind the 
mahout. I had only a double 12 smooth-bore my 
heavy elephant rifle being away at Calcutta under- 
going repair and Charun had his cap-gun. After 
crossing some low hills to the south of the line, we 
turned up a valley to the west, keeping along the 
course of a nullah (dry river-bed) for a mile, when 
Charun signalled to us to dismount and pointed 


out the tracks of a buffalo, plainly seen in the soft 
mud. The foot-prints were of enormous size, fully 
seven inches from front to rear, indicating that 
the beast was of the largest size. Instructing the 
mahout to keep within sight, we followed up the 
trail rapidly. In a small paddy-flat, miles away 
from any village, we saw where he had had a 
wallow and had trampled down a large part of the 
field. Charun signed to us now to be careful 
as the bull was not far off, and kept throwing 
quick glances from side to side, as it is a well- 
known habit of these solitary bulls before resting 
to make a slight detour and come back to within 
sight of their own tracks, so as to see any animal 
that might be following them up. We had just 
cleared the little paddy-flat and had got into the 
heavy forest beyond, when we heard a shrill scream 
from Bheestie, the elephant, and saw her flounder- 
ing across the flat with apparently another elephant 
behind her urging her on. Trumpet after trumpet 
from Bheestie, and the yells of the mahout soon 
made it clear that the second animal was none 
other than the solitary bull, who had probably 
made a detour and hidden himself in the dense 
jungle near his tracks. Why he had allowed us 
to pass and then charged the elephant it was 
hard at the time to say, as these brutes will not 
charge unless wounded or hard pressed ; but an 
explanation was forthcoming afterwards. Anyhow, 
there he was, prodding at Bheestie behind, and 
fairly lifting her off her hind legs, while she let 
out a shrill scream at each successive prod. The 



soft clay and water of the flat prevented them 
from making much progress, and gave us time 
to clamber up a large tree near the side of the 
flat. The elephant, followed by the buffalo, was 
making in our direction, and just as they were 
nearing the edge of the flat I thought I had 
a good mark at the bull and fired. He stopped 
for a moment, looked up, and seeing nothing but 
Bheestie's quarters before him charged furiously 
into them, and sent her clean out of the flat 
and on to her shoulder, the pad flying off at the 
same time. The mahout miraculously escaped 
and ran off to a neighbouring tree. Bheestie 
soon regained her feet, and went off into the 
forest trumpeting loudly. After his furious charge 
the bull apparently slipped and fell on his knees, 
and while in that position I was able to put in 
a second shot. There was no doubt about his 
being hit this time, for over he went on his 
side ; but he was up again in a moment, and 
charged the elephant-pad which was lying on the 
margin of the flat. He tossed it high into the 
air and about ten yards to the front, and it was 
barely down when he was on to it again, pounding 
it with his forelegs and dancing on it. I never saw 
such an exhibition of rage and exultation as that 
pictured in the mad trampling of the pad by the 
furious buffalo. He would retreat a few paces, eye 
the pad a moment, and then rush forward as if to toss 
it again, but changing his mind at the last moment, 
would trample it instead. I now had time to put 
in a third and a fourth shot, but without any 


marked effect. Charun then let slip his cloth, 
and waved it up and down. Catching sight of 
the cloth the bull charged it furiously, and came 
with such a thud against the trunk of the tree on 
which we were seated that he made it quiver again, 
while he himself was thrown quite off his legs by the 
impact. Charun had now an opportunity, and with 
my permission, fired. The bull regained his feet and 
looked about, apparently dazed with the shock of his 
mad rush against the tree. Charun again waved 
his cloth, and the bull looking up caught sight of 
me. Down went his head, up went his tail, and he 
careered wildly in a circle round the tree, tossing 
an imaginary enemy at times. He did this several 
times, stopping at each turn to look up at us, stamp 
with his feet, emit a bellowing grunt, and then 
circle round again. The grunt of the wild buffalo 
is exactly like that of the tiger, and it would re- 
quire a trained ear to tell the difference at a dis- 
tance. I feel sure, from the accounts one often 
hears of tigers roaring at nights, that the noise 
is frequently only the bellowing of the buffalo or 
bison. Experienced native shikarees tell me that 
the male tiger seldom roars ; while the tigress is 
noisy only when she is in season. 

Covered with mud from head to foot, with masses 
of soft clay adhering to the long hair on his fore- 
head, the bull looked a strange sight, peering at 
us with his small eyes, stamping his forelegs im- 
patiently, and bellowing his challenge to us to come 
down and try conclusions with him. There was 
no use firing at his head with a smooth-bore, so I 


tried a shot on the back, meaning to break his spine. 
Evidently my shot struck one of his ribs, and 
glanced off, making a deep wound in his stomach, 
for we saw the blood gushing out as he galloped 
off some fifty paces, and then turned and watched 
us from behind a large tree. He had now had six 
bullets at close range, and yet he appeared full of 
life. After a time he went down on his fours, and, 
with his head between his knees, kept watching us. 
We now began to realise that we were " treed " by 
the buffalo, and that we might be kept there all 
day and all night until such time as the beast cared 
to move off, unless we could make an end of him. 
There was no use looking for relief from the camp, 
as there was no one there to relieve us. The 
elephant might make her way home, but the 
mahout was as much a prisoner as we were, 
and there was no one to bring her back even if 
she did return, so we could expect no help from 
that quarter. There was nothing for it therefore 
but to sit it out, especially as I had but three 
more cartridges left, and it would not do to blaze 
those away and be left defenceless. One of the 
other trackers thought the buffalo would go for 
water at about noon, but Charun shook his head, 
pointing first to the sun and then under his 
feet, to show that it would be midnight before 
our foe would give us a chance of escape. Here 
was a cheerful look-out ! To be kept prisoners 
on a tree till midnight, and it was not yet 
noon ! We must try and draw our enemy and 
get another chance of a close shot. Charun let 


down his cloth several times, but the brute had 
grown too wary and would not move. The men 
declared they saw his eyes gleam and his head move 
as he watched us, so none dared to get down. I 
was beginning to feel the constrained position on 
the branch, and in an attempt to change it I dropped 
my gun ! Worse and worse. No use attempting to 
attract the bull now, as we had only Charun's gun 
and one charge. Natives seldom take out more 
than a second charge for their guns. We waited 
an hour, and then Charun signed that he was 
going down the tree for my gun. I knew that 
he could swarm up a tree much quicker than 
I could, so I allowed him to try. He got down 
very carefully on the side of the tree furthest 
from the bull, then going on his stomach crawled 
to the gun, and springing to his feet ran to 
the tree. His next move took me by surprise. I 
saw him coolly stalking in the direction of the 
buffalo. I shouted to him to be careful, but he 
went on heedless. What had come over the man ? 
Had he become dazed ? I expected each moment 
to see him tossed high in the air by the infuriated 
monster, and I kept his gun on the cock to try 
the effects of a shot to stop the charge I momen- 
tarily expected. When he got to within ten paces 
of the bull he stopped, and motioned to us that 
the beast was dead. We made haste to get 
down, and found that such was indeed the case. 
It had been dead an hour or more. In fact, it 
must have died immediately after it went down 
on its fours. An arrow sticking in its flank 


explained the reason why it had charged the 
elephant when unmolested by us. We learnt 
afterwards that the Kol who owned the rice-plot 
had shot it with an arrow shortly before our arrival. 
It was the pain of this wound that had made the 
animal furious, and caused it to charge. My last 
shot in the back had brought about its death, as 
there was a gaping wound in the stomach from 
which the blood had flowed in such quantities as 
to saturate the ground under him. He was 
certainly the largest bull I had ever shot, and 
I think one of the largest ever seen in the 
forests of Chota Nagpore. The elephant was re- 
covered next day and was uninjured ; there was 
not, in fact, a mark of the buffalo's horns on 
her stern. This was due to the extreme forward 
curvature of the points of the horns, showing 
the great age of the buffalo. This adventure did 
Bheesti a lot of good, for finding she sus- 
tained no injury from this close attack she be- 
came fearless, and would afterwards stand the 
charge of a tiger. 



PERHAPS there is no profession in the world 
that brings one more closely into contact with un- 
civilised man than that of the mining engineer. 
The nature of his calling the exploitation of 
untrodden ground in the search for metals- 
takes him away from the haunts of civilisa- 
tion into wilds unutterable, the home of savage 
man and beast. 

In the winter of 1890 I was engaged in pro- 
specting for gold on the hills forming the boundary 
between the native States of Bonai and Keonjur, 
in South- Western Bengal. The whole of that 
portion of the Bengal Presidency known as Chota 
Nagpore, or more correctly Chutia Nagpur, 
together with the Tributary Mehals of Orissa, 
are for the most part made up of hills varying 
from one to four thousand feet in height, and 
covered with dense forests of sal, dhor, arsun and 
other valuable timber. Until the opening of the 
Bengal-Nagpore Railway, which now passes through 
the heart of this region, this part of the country 
was scarcely known to Europeans. Witch-burning, 
human sacrifice (meriah\ and cannibalism were 
until very recently universally practised by the 


savage tribes inhabiting this wild region, and 
the records of the criminal courts at Ranchee 
and Chyebassa show that instances of these 
horrible practices are not unknown even at the 
present day. The tribes inhabiting this tract of 
country are chiefly of Kolarian descent, supposed 
by some to be the oldest of the races which in- 
vaded India from the North-East ; by others, the 
aborigines of the country. 

The particular district I was prospecting is, 
perhaps, the least known part of this wild region. 
The hills here rise to over four thousand feet in 
elevation and are covered with dense vegetation. 
Few and far between are the small patches of 
cultivation surrounding the huts of a few Lurka 
Khols, Bhumijs and Gonds. It is in fact the 
boast of the Raja of one of these States that 
he can ride forty miles in a direct line within 
his dominions without seeing human habitation. 
Wheeled traffic is unknown on the uplands, and 
it was with the greatest difficulty that my camp 
baggage had been transported thus far on pack 
bullocks. My little hill tent had been pitched 
on the banks of the Korsua, an affluent of the 
Brahmini river, in Bonai, and I was working up 
towards the Keonjur frontier. It was mid- 
day. We had done a heavy tramp along the 
banks of the little stream, washing a dish or 
two of earth as we went, in all likely - looking 
places. The yellow metal was scarce, and beyond 
a " colour or two " our day's work had been 
blank. I had with me Mookroo, my Khol handy- 


man, and a couple of Jhora gold-washers. We 
were resting awhile under the shade of a huge 
sdl tree ; my companions were eating a little snuff 
a common stimulant among men, women and 
children in these parts and I was stretched at 
full length and munching a biscuit, when suddenly 
all of us sprang to our feet as peal upon peal of 
girlish laughter rang out from the direction of a 
pool of deep water in the river a hundred yards 
or so below the spot where we were resting. 

Who could it be ? There was not a village within 
ten miles. My own camp was fully that distance 
down stream, yet the laughter was certainly human 
and girlish. Mookroo was off at once to recon- 
noitre, while we stood silent and expectant. The 
Khol returned in a few minutes and told us 
it was a party of Juangs, or wild people, who 
had come down to the pool to bathe, and that 
the women and children were in the water, and 
probably the men were in the forest on the 
other side. I had heard much of the Juangs, 
by some described as gigantic monkeys, by 
others as wild people of the woods, who wore 
no clothing and lived in trees. Mookroo asked 
us to be cautious if we wished to see them, 
as the least unusual sound would send them off 
into the forest, like frightened deer. We made 
a detour and stealthily advanced in the direction 
of the pool, where a strange sight met our gaze. 
The whole party, consisting of ten persons, men, 
women and children, were assembled on the bank, 
performing their toilet. The women were innocent 


of clothing beyond the garb of mother Eve after 
her expulsion from the Garden of Eden, but instead 
of fig-leaves sewn together, each Juang woman had 
a narrow cord round the waist to which were 
suspended a few sal leaves in front, and a large 
bunch behind. I afterwards learnt that it is only 
the married women that are permitted by Juang 
custom to use even such little covering, the un- 
married girls going entirely naked. The men wear 
a narrow strip of the wild plantain bark as a 
lungotee. I asked Mookroo if he could induce 
them to come over to our side of the stream. 
" Hejumay / Hejumay / (Come here ! Come here !) " 
he shouted in the Khol dialect, and the whole 
group vanished as if they had sunk into the 
ground. Not a rustle in the bushes, not a 
moving object to be seen ; yet they were there 
just now, and gone the instant after. We searched 
the ground minutely without finding any trace of 
them. I was much disappointed, as I wished to 
make a closer acquaintance with this wild people. 
Mookroo said that if the Jhoras and I would 
return to camp, he would remain behind, and 
he felt confident he would be able to induce 
them to visit my camp if I promised them 
tobacco, of which they were very fond. 

We accordingly set out for camp, leaving the 
Khol behind. I was having a cup of tea at 
about five p.m., when Mookroo advanced, and 
said that the Juangs had come. With some 
difficulty they were induced to come up to my 
tent a grey-headed old man leading the way. 


In addition to the grey-head there were two 
men in their prime, an old woman, three grown 
women and three children. Apparently the white 
man was as much ' an object' of curiosity to 
them as they were to me. A liberal donation 
of tobacco, rice and coarse sugar soon made 
us good friends, and they quickly lost all their 
fear. They spoke a dialect of the Khol language, 
and through Mookroo I learnt much of their manners 
and customs. The men were armed with bows and 
arrows. The bows were made of bamboo, the string 
also being a thin strip of that material. The arrows 
were of reed, tipped with a round knob of bamboo, 
and were most curiously feathered. Instead of 
three straight lines of feathering, there was a 
perfect spiral of plumes at the string end, giving 
the arrow a screw motion when in flight. The 
blunt knob arrows are used for shooting birds. 
The men wore strings of beads round the neck 
and feathers in the hair, and a strip of plantain 
bark suspended from the waist. The women wore 
no covering of any kind. Some months later a 
party of seventeen of these strange folk visited 
my camp at Somij and asked for work. They 
would not live in a hut, which they said choked 
them, but took to the forest and lived under the 
trees. They generally seek the shelter of a large 
overhanging rock, and against this they rest a 
few branches torn from the neighbouring trees, 
creep within this passage and kindle a fire at the 
two openings. I found they could do very little 
work, as they were averse to continued labour. 


At mid-day the women would ask leave to go 
into the forest to change their leaves, which had 
by that time become crisp and begun to fall to 
pieces from the heat. After they had been with 
me a week, I directed my store-keeper to supply 
each of the women with a few yards of cloth, 
as I thought it was their poverty alone that 
prevented their clothing themselves. Next day 
the whole of them struck work, and the men 
came to me with a complaint that if their 
women were compelled to wear clothing, they 
would all leave, as only bad women wore clothing ! 
Eve's garment was a symbol of innocence with 
them. Polyandry is practised among these people, 
or more correctly communism, since the married 
women are the property of the sept or tribe. They 
appear to have no notion of numbers except one 
and many. They cannot grasp the idea of two. 
I asked one woman how many children she had. 
She said, " Many not one, but many/' She had 
but two. They measure limited time by the 
withering of the sal leaf. " How far is such a 
place ? " " As far as two sal leaves take to 
wither," i.e., twelve hours' journey or thirty-six 
miles, a sal leaf taking, they say, about six hours 
to wither. Different seasons of the year are 
determined by such expressions as " When the 
pea-fowl lay," " when the mohua tree blooms," 
" in the rice harvest," " when the nights are 

On one occasion I was treated to a Juang nautch, 
and certainly nothing quainter or more amusing in 


the terpsichorean art has come under my notice. 
The women do all the dancing, the men taking 
only a subordinate part. They would not dance 
before my bungalow. I had to go to the forest 
to witness the dancing. A small clearing of under- 
growth had been made in the jungle near my 
bungalow, and on one side of this clearing the 
spectators were asked to station themselves. The 
first item on the programme was the " Peacock 
Dance." The clearing was quite bare ; the Juangs 
were nowhere to be seen. Suddenly the harsh 
scream of the peacock was heard some distance off. 
The imitation was perfect. Now there was a rust- 
ling in the bushes, and three Juang maidens, squat- 
ting low on their hams, with arms bent close to their 
sides to represent wings and necks craned forward 
as if listening, showed themselves on the edge of 
the clearing. After peering about in the quaintest 
manner for a few seconds, they all three hopped 
forward (still on their hams) and began chasing 
one another about, heads almost touching the 
ground, and emitting the peculiar chirp of pea-hens 
when performing their matutinal frolic. Now one 
would throw up the leaves and earth with her 
feet, and pretend to pick up food. If another 
hen attempted to eat in the same place, there 
was a rush at the poacher, and a few sal leaves 
were torn from her tail amid shrill screams as 
she took to flight. Now enters the cock bird, 
distinguished from the hens by its greater abundance 
of sal leaves for a tail and a tuft of leaves on the 
head. With one hand spreading the tail high and 


giving it a jerky motion, he struts round the females, 
just as a turkey-cock does. Suddenly he stops his 
strut, as the scream of a rival is heard in the distance. 
His tail is at once dropped from its elevated position, 
his head thrown back and chest protruded. Then 
the head is shot forward and the answering 
challenge is given, as he advances in the direction 
of his expected rival. The scream is repeated 
several times by the rival cocks, and then the 
combat begins. This was the most amusing part 
of the show, and must be seen in its utter ludi- 
crousness to be appreciated. Watch a pair of 
country cocks making a great show of fight, yet 
half-afraid to come to close quarters, and you 
have a good idea of what took place. The two 
women representing the peacocks would face each 
other, about ten paces apart, heads lowered to 
the dust, and their attitude seeming to say, 
" Come on, if you dare ! >; Then one would 
begin to crow, but before he was half through 
his note of defiance, the other would prance 
forward a few paces. This went on until they 
came face to face and now for the duel ! 
Heads wagging close together, and tails jerking 
spasmodically, suddenly both birds spin round, and 
clash come their tails together, and the feathers 
(leaves) fly. Again they face, and again they spin 
round, and bang go the tail bunches, amid the 
shrieks of laughter of the hen birds. Now they 
spin round continuously, the tails going " whack, 
whack/' till no tails are left, when one of the 
combatants sinks down exhausted, and with a 


shrill scream of triumph the victor struts off witfc 
the hens. 

The vulture dance is even quainter. In the 
peacock dance only the women take part. In 
the vulture dance, one of the young men enacts 
the part of the carcase discovered by the vultures. 
The carcase is discovered in the centre of the 
clearing, and one of the vultures (girls squatting, 
as before, on their hams) hops round it cautiously, 
stopping now and again to peer at the carrion. 
Now comes a second vulture, and joins in the hop 
round. Then a third, a fourth and several others 
join in the circle, which goes hopping round 
the carcase, approaching nearer and nearer at 
each turn. At last one vulture rushes forward 
and makes a tug at the great toe of the 
youth representing the dead body. Should he 
show the faintest symptom of having felt the 
pinch, he is greeted with shouts of derisive laughter 
from all the girls, in which the spectators join. If 
he remains unmoved, the fun goes on, and another 
vulture rushes forward, and pulls his hair ; a third 
grips one of his fingers ; then there is a general 
pinching of his body and much fun and laughing. 
At last, one bolder than the rest jumps on to the 
prostrate body, which is too much for the patient 
youth, who squirms and wriggles as half-a-dozen 
more jump on to him, and finally he runs off 
amidst shouts of laughter from all. 

There were also a jackal dance and a crocodile 
dance gone through, but the two dances described 
were the most amusing. 




READERS of African travel and adventures will 
remember the descriptions given of the method 
adopted by the natives in the capture of game 
on a large scale in Central and South Africa. The 
scene of the hunt is carefully selected in some 
locality where game abounds, care being taken 
that the natural conformation of the ground shall 
assist in the object of the hunt. A V-shaped 
stockade is then erected, each leg of which ex- 
tends perhaps for a mile. The entrance of the 
stockade is also about a mile wide. Near the 
apex of the V the stockade is made very strong 
to resist the attacks of the animals driven into it. 
At the apex is a small opening, and immediately 
beyond this an enormous pit is dug, some fifteen 
feet deep and fifty feet square, with perpendicular 

When a beat is arranged the inhabitants of the 
neighbouring villages assemble, and men, women, 
and children assist in driving the country for miles 
towards the entrance of the hoopoo, as the trap 
is called. This may take some days, and is slowly 
and cautiously conducted, in order to prevent 
the game becoming alarmed and breaking through 


the line of beaters. The villagers encamp on the 
ground and light their fires at night, and gradually 
advance during the day until all the game in the 
selected area is within the two sides of the hoopoo. 
Now the women and children retire, and the men, 
armed with bows, arrows, spears, etc., advance with 
loud shouts, so that the terrified animals within the 
stockade rush tumultuously towards the apex only 
to be engulfed in the yawning pit at the small 
opening. The animals in front cannot turn back 
at sight of the pit, as they are pushed on by those 
behind, and soon the pit is one living mass of game 
of all kinds, large and small deer of all kinds, 
pig, buffalo, rhino, giraffe, lions, panthers and 
even the lordly elephant. The first in the pit are 
trampled out of all shape by the succeeding animals 
tumbling on to them. When the pit is full, what is 
left of the game within the stockade escapes over 
the bodies of their comrades. Then ensues a scene 
of rejoicing and butchering, of cutting up and 
dividing, till each village has its share of the spoil 
and the villagers go home with meat enough to 
last for weeks. 

A water hoopoo is a hunt after fish, and is 
arranged in somewhat the same style. I will give 
a description of such a hunt, which I witnessed 

In parts of Western Bengal are a tribe of Gonds 
known as Jhoras. These people are professional 
gold-washers and fishers. That is, they are engaged 
during the rainy months, when water is every- 
where available, in washing the sands in the 



small streams and rivulets among the hills of Chota 
Nagpore for the small specks of gold they contain ; 
and during the dry months when the rivers are low 
they take to fishing. The gold-washing gives them 
a precarious livelihood ; the fishing time is a season 
of abundance of feasting, rejoicing and rice- 
beer drinking. The planning of the water hoopoo 
and the water hunt is directed by the most experi- 
enced Jhora present, and as one-sixteenth of the 
whole catch falls to his share, the post of 
headman of the hunt is a most lucrative one. 
My boatman, Samoo, was chosen on this par- 
ticular occasion, as he had been chosen for the 
three previous years, and a better choice could 
not have been made. He seems as perfectly 
acquainted with the habits of fish as the most 
experienced shikaree is with the habits of the 
denizens of the jungle. Every nook and cranny, 
every pool and rapid, all the favourite resorts of 
the various families of the finny tribe for miles 
around are known to him. He is as familiar with 
the reaches of the Koel and Karo rivers for miles 
above and below their junction, as he is with the 
inside of his own hut. 

The river was low, great stretches of sand and 
thin streaks of water made up its bed. It was 
fordable in most places. A deep pool at the 
junction of the two rivers was selected by 
Samoo as the terminal of the hoopoo. The 
pool is nearly circular, about one hundred feet 
in diameter and about sixteen feet deep, with 
a shelving bank on one side. This was enclosed 


on three sides by deep nets secured by long 
bamboo floats at the surface and sinking 
down to the sand at the bottom. On the fourth 
side is the shelving bank. All the villagers from 
the hamlets for miles around had assembled, 
numbering over three hundred persons. Of these, 
about forty were fishermen (Jhoras). A stockade 
of nets closed the passages up and down river, 
leaving open only one channel which led to the 
pool. One party of Jhoras went down the river 
for half a mile and the others up stream, and 
spreading themselves across the river began beating 
down towards the pool. In deep water the dug- 
outs were used, and by constant splashing of 
the water and striking the surface violently 
with paddles, the fish were gradually frightened 
into the pool. At the pool itself all was quiet. 
Only the headman and myself were allowed 
near while the driving was going on. Unlike 
the land hoopoo, where the game is silently driven 
into the stockade and frightened with a rush 
into the pit, in the water hoopoo all the noise 
was made away from the nets, and the beaters 
are not allowed to approach within two hundred 
yards of the pool. Samoo, the headman, was 
watching the pool intently the while. He seemed 
to be able to peer down into its very depths. The 
fish driven from up and down stream, and com- 
pelled by the nets to keep to one particular channel 
which led to the pool, were soon safe within the 
enclosure. At a signal from Samoo the dug-outs 
rushed forward and closed the entrance to the pool 


with nets, and some fifty men plunged into the water 
and took up positions about six feet from one 
another outside the nets surrounding the pool. 
In a moment all was life and animation. Dug- 
outs and rafts and youngsters on logs of wood 
suddenly made their appearance and took up 
places outside the nets. These were gradually 
worked in towards the landing place. The men 
would dive down and shift the bottom of the 
nets a few feet at a time, taking particular care 
to see that while the net was passing over the 
rocks at the bottom of the pool, there was no 
passage left unguarded by the meshes. The 
Jhoras, by the way, are splendid divers and 
swimmers. I believe they can keep longer under 
water than even the amphibious Somali diving 
boys so familiar to steamship travellers at Aden. 
As the space becomes contracted by the gradual 
approach of the nets, the water within the pool 
appears to be alive with fish. One particular kind, 
called locally the rowee, leaps clean out of the 
water for many feet and frequently falls into the 
canoes and rafts outside the line of nets. The 
eager rush of the occupants to secure the prize 
often upsets the frail craft and pitches its freight 
into the water. But this only excites bursts of 
laughter from the assembled crowd. On the 
shore too all is excitement. Men and boys 
armed with bows and arrows shoot the larger 
fish as they show at the surface. The head of 
the arrow is a trident, and to the arrow is 
attached a long string, which serves to draw in 


the fish or recover the weapon. When an extra 
large fish is thus struck, it takes several men and 
much play before it is landed. 

When the nets approach shallow water, several 
Jhoras enter within the circle of nets and skilfully 
scooping out the fish with their hands, fling them 
on to the shore ; here others are ready with battle- 
axes, and a blow on the head stops all floundering. 
Fish of from ten to fifteen pounds in weight are thus 
thrown out and dispatched. A great number also 
are entangled in the nets, and these are killed with 
a blow from a club. When it is thought that all the 
fish over a span long have been secured, the women 
and children are allowed to enter the water and 
take what they can get. And now ensues a scene 
of laughter and mirth. Women armed with baskets, 
others with portions of their clothes used as nets, 
others again with pieces of mats, rush pell-mell 
into the water, shouting and screaming, laughing 
and tumbling, yet still with an eye to business. 
Soon the pond is cleared of even its tiniest occu- 
pant ; and now begins the division of the spoil. 

Immemorial custom has decided that the headman 
shall get a sixteenth. One-half goes to the Jhoras 
taking part in the hunt, and one-fourth to the 
villagers (cultivators and others) present. A six- 
teenth goes to the owners of the nets and canoes ; 
another sixteenth to the zemindar in this case 
the Takoor of Anandapore ; and the remaining 
sixteenth is taken by the priests. 

It is easy to calculate the catch. I had the 
curiosity to weigh the share of the headman. This 


amounted to ninety-two pounds and was made up 
of forty-four fish, of which three were over ten 
pounds each, the bulk being under half a pound. 
The take of large fish over a span long was nearly 
one thousand five hundred pounds, and perhaps the 
fifteen baskets of small fish would weigh about 
five hundred pounds, so that the entire take was 
two thousand pounds of fish not a bad day's work 
for four hundred people. 

A brief description of one or two of the more 
numerous varieties of fish thus caught may not 
be uninteresting. A large scaleless kind is very 
like the becktie (pike), and at this season of the 
year was large with roe ; some of these were quite 
three and a half feet long and over ten pounds 
in weight. The rowee, a scaly fish, is very like 
the mahseer in appearance and is very delicate eat- 
ing. The river herring is about double the 
size of our Yarmouth favourite, but, unlike that 
dainty, is only edible around the stomach, though 
from here a pound of the most delicious eat- 
ing can be cut. An ugly monster is the kana, 
which looks for all the world like a ground 
shark in miniature. A spotted hide, tiny eyes, 
numerous feelers, an enormous head and jaws 
and powerful tail make the resemblance very 
close. It lurks among the rocks and seizes any 
fish that may approach. Its flesh is pink, very 
like that of salmon. 

With the division of spoil the day's labour 
did not end. A bright moon at night lighted 
up the scene and showed the sand-bars where 


the natives were curing the fish over smoky fires. 
This smoking and a three days' drying over a slow 
fire keep the fish sweet without the addition of 
salt. The art of kippering apparently is not a new 
one. It was known to the Egyptians four thousand 
years ago ; and here we have a wild race perfectly 
well acquainted with the art of curing without the 
aid of salt. Their dried fish will keep for years, and 
the smoky flavour is not at all unpalatable. 

A second and a third hoopoo were arranged in 
other parts of the river during the same week, but 
neither of these was as successful as the first. 



" THE Sahib wishes to know which is the most dan- 
gerous animal I have ever killed ? What do we 
baghmarees (tiger-slayers) know of danger ? We set 
our traps, and it is nusseeb ka bath (a question of 
luck) whether we kill or not. There is no danger. 
The bow is fixed in the evening, and we go to 
see next morning whether the arrow is shot. 
We follow the trail and generally get the animal 
that day or the next. Bears are the most difficult 
to kill ; not only do they take longer to die, but 
they generally make off to their caves when 
wounded and die there. No, we never go near 
the wounded animal. We follow it up, and if it 
shows signs of life we go away and come later on, 
when it is dead. When we use cobra poison the 
wounded animal goes to sleep and dies in its 
sleep. Dakar a (aconite) is also good. Krait 
(snake) poison is not so good. When the arrow 
has been poisoned with krait venom the animal 
may recover if there be much bleeding from the 
wound. Yes, we have antidotes for all the 
poisons. Sometimes a man is wounded by our 
poisoned arrows. If we know it in time, we apply 
certain jungle leaves as a poultice and the man 


recovers. If large water blisters form round the 
wound within half-an-hour, the man will recover. 
If no blisters come, he will die. 

" What has all this to do with dangerous animals ? 
the Sahib asks. Well, hear me. I was once in 
great danger. Twenty men were in fear of their 
lives for a week because of one animal. It was 
in Gangpore, seven years ago. The Sahib knows 
the motee-joad (twin pearls). Yes, the Sahib has 
seen it ; he shot one on the river a fortnight ago 

the large brown-breasted wild duck, that is 
called by us the motee-joad because when once 
these birds pair their affection for one another is 
so strong that it has passed into a proverb with 
us " As faithful as the motee-joad." What affec- 
tion can be greater ? When the Huzoor shot the 
wild duck, its mate would not leave the spot for 
hours although all its companions had taken to 
flight, and the Huzoor could have shot it also but 
that his heart is soft. At night these birds do 
not roost together, but rest on opposite sides of the 
river, and all night long you will hear their qua ! 
qua ! as they call to each other. The Sahib is 
impatient, but I am coming to my story of the 
white tiger. Yes, white tiger. Your servant does 
not lie. Why should I lie to the Sahib ? These 
eyes have seen it, and others have seen it but 
they are not here now. White tiger, not panther ; 

does not your servant know the difference be- 
tween a tiger and a leopard when he has lived 
all his life in the forest ? Yes, there are white 
tigers in Gangpore, and I have killed one. It was 


at the ghur (Gainghur, the Raja's residence). A 
tiger had killed several cattle. The pugs were 
small and some said it was a panther ; but I knew 
it was a tiger because the pugs of a tiger show the 
toe marks distinctly, whereas in a panther's pugs 
the toe marks are very faint, because it treads more 
on the ball of the foot, to preserve its claws for tree 
climbing. The tiger cannot climb trees but the 
panther can. I have seen it run up a tree like a 
squirrel and bite a man's leg on the topmost bough. 
On a tree you are safe from a tiger. 

" I said it was a tiger, and the Raja asked me to 
kill it. I set my bow and poisoned arrows near the 
next kill but the tiger did not come near it. I set 
it at several different kills but the thief of a tiger 
was too cunning. He would not come near it. The 
people laughed and said I was a tantee (weaver), and 
not a baghmaree (tiger-killer), and that I had better 
go back to my trade. But the Huzoor can see I am 
a man " stroking his moustache c< and am not to 
be beaten by a janwar(wild animal). I took counsel 
with no one but walked the jungle every day to 
see if I could not circumvent this dog that had 
thrown dirt in my face and caused the villagers to 
laugh at me. I soon noticed that there were two 
sets of pugs, which went together. This led me to 
believe there were a tiger and a tigress. I went to 
every kill before the Khols got scent of it and 
carried away the flesh, as these people eat every 
kind of flesh, even rats and snakes and carrion, 
and I carefully noted that the trails all led in 
one direction to a rocky hill covered with dense 


jungle. This was where the tigers had taken up 
their abode. I soon found that the tigers took a 
particular path to the river to drink. That was 
the clue I wanted. I would now have my revenge, 
and the villagers would see I was a real baghmaree, 
although only a weaver by caste. Shabash ! I set 
my bow to command the path the tiger took when 
going to the river, and went home quite pleased 
with myself ; but I did not tell anybody that I 
had set my trap, as I waited for my triumph to 
be complete. I hardly slept that night, and was 
away at grey dawn to see the trap. The bow was 
sprung and both arrows had taken effect as they 
were not to be found anywhere, while pug marks, 
blood and signs of struggling were to be seen on 
the path. I knew the arrows would do their 
work, for I had put on some fresh cobra poison the 
previous day. Imagine my feelings, Sahib, when 
I saw I had triumphed ! The bridegroom on his 
wedding-day, when the village girls anoint him with 
turmeric and oil ; or when you have just secured 
a pair of strong buffaloes for your plough at half 
price ; or when your field has yielded forty-fold ; 
or when your enemy is dead mine were all these 
feelings in one ! I felt a hero. I gathered up my 
bow and ropes and walked to the village a new 
man. I went straight to the gathering-tree in the 
centre of the village and sat down. First came one 
and jibed, ' Well, tantee (weaver), is that your loom 
you have rolled up ? ' pointing to my bow. ' Make 
me a saree (woman's garment) for my wife, and I 
will give you half a candy of grain when the crop 


comes/ said another. Many joined in the laugh, 
but I waited quietly till the principal men of the 
village had assembled to talk, when I said, 
' Brothers, don't laugh any more, but come with 
the poor weaver. I have something to show ' ; and 
I strode on with the gait of an elephant with the 
great Maharaj on his back. All the village followed, 
and I led straight to the place where I had set my 
trap, and the trail from there was clear. Not two 
hundred yards off we found the body of the tiger. 
It was a white tiger. Pure white : no spot or stripe 
of any kind. Believe me, Sahib, when I tell you 
it was white. A great shout went up from the 
villagers and I was happy. Such moments come 

" After a time the villagers left and only the 
shikarees (hunters) of the village remained with me 
to do pooja (religious ceremony). The oldest of the 
shikarees made a slight wound in my head and took 
some of the blood and rubbed it in on the head of 
the tiger. I walked three times round the body of 
the tiger, and then touched its body with my fore- 
head while the others looked aside. We now slung 
the tiger to a pole and took it to the village in 
triumph. When we got there, the shikarees' wives 
came out and washed my feet with water and 
salaamed to me. You don't want to hear all that 
you want to know where the danger came in. I 
will pass over the triumphs of the day ; how the 
Raja gave me two rupees and a dhotee (cloth) ; how 
the villagers also rewarded me, each according to 
his means. I was a great man that day. Don't 


be impatient, Sahib ; one likes to talk of one's 
victories we are all alike. 

' We skinned the tiger, and found it was very 
old fifteen years old. How do we know a tiger's 
age ? By the number of lobes in the liver. This 
one had fifteen distinct marks, one for each year. 
Panthers have these marks also, but not other 
animals. All shikarees know this, as we always 
take out the liver for medicine. This is how we 
judge of a tiger's age, and it is true. We pegged 
out the skin in the sun to dry, the head being 
boned and stuffed with straw and the mouth 
agape. At night we rolled up the skin and placed 
it on some sticks in an empty cow-shed. Our 
huts were about thirty yards away ; but be- 
side the empty shed was another in which several 
bullocks were stalled. It was barely dark when we 
heard the ' ough ! ough ! ' of the other tiger in the 
distance. This we knew was the tiger calling for 
his mate. The tiger seldom cries, only when call- 
ing its mate ; it never speaks at other times. Soon 
the ' ough ! ough ! ' came nearer, and we knew 
the tiger had scented out his dead mate. Soon it 
was near the cattle-shed, and we could hear the 
cattle struggling in alarm. We all shouted to- 
gether, but the tiger still kept prowling round and 
round the empty shed. He then sprang on to the 
roof and tore away the thatch. We now kept 
very quiet as we began to be afraid. We heard a 
purring sound and then a roar, and the tiger was 
inside the empty shed. Soon we heard a great crash- 
ing and breaking of wood, and the whole roof of 


the shed was torn down. He then passed into the 
next shed, where the bullocks were stalled. The 
bullocks were so terrified that they broke the barred 
gate and ran out ; but the tiger was down among 
them and killed four, as we found next morning. 
He went back to the empty shed and kept alter- 
nately roaring and purring. He would go off a 
couple of hundred yards and roar, and finding no 
answering roar he would come back. He kept this 
up the whole night. The whole village was in a 
fright ; not a soul slept. At dawn the tiger went 
off to the hills, still roaring occasionally. Next 
morning what a scene met our eyes. Thick bam- 
boos had been bitten in two by the tiger in his 
rage. The shed was completely wrecked, but the 
skin was intact. We took the skin to the ghur 
(house) two miles away, where the Raja lived, and 
told our tale. An old Khol, who knew the habits 
of all wild beasts, said it was a motee-joad bagh 
(twin-pearl tiger), and that it would never leave 
its mate, but would kill all in the village unless 
we killed it. The Raja ordered the skin to be 
put into a strong shed where the grain was stored, 
and commanded twenty of the best shooters in 
the village to get up into machans near the shed 
and shoot the tiger when it came at night. Every- 
body strongly barricaded their doors that night. 
I was on a machan near the shed. Night came 
on, but no tiger roared. It grew late ; half the 
night went by ; and from fear and trembling we 
grew light-hearted, and began to twit the Khol 
about his knowledge of tigers. Suddenly we heard 


a roar at our very feet that made us lie down and 
cover our heads in fear. Then we heard a great 
scratching at the door of the shed where the skin 
was, and we knew the tiger was trying to break in. 
We could not see the tiger, so some of us shouted 
and others fired their guns, but he continued 
scratching and roaring. We then arranged to fire 
together at the door in the hopes of hitting him. We 
fired and heard a scream of rage and then a great 
scuffling as if something was trying to climb the 
tree on which our machan was built. Of the eight 
men on my machan, six had fired off their match- 
locks, and only two shots were left. If the tiger 
succeeded in climbing the tree we were dead men. 
I can assure you, Huzoor, I was like a twisted rag ; 
there was no sap in me. The tiger would rush up 
the trunk of the tree, and then fall back. This he 
did several times, and then went back to the door 
and began his scratching. When the other men 
had reloaded, we arranged to fire four at a time. 
This we did several times, and at last it appeared 
as if we had struck him, for the scratching ceased, 
but he continued to roar. We kept on firing till 
all sounds from him ceased, and then we knew we 
had killed him, or he had gone off. In the morning 
we saw he was dead near the door and near to his 
mate. He had twenty shots in his body. He was, 
in truth, a motee-joad. He gave up his life rather 
than leave his mate ! " 




" HAS the Sahib got any ball cartridges ? There 
are bears about, and that is better shikar (sport) 
than green pigeon. How do I know that there are 
bears about ? Look yonder ; do you see that haze 
above those trees ? It looks like thin smoke ; but 
that is a cloud of flying white ants which are 
swarming now, after this morning's rain. Do you 
see those birds flying in and out of the haze ? 
They are feeding on the ants which are issuing 
in myriads from the ant-hill at the foot of the 
tree. Those large birds are hornbills, and they 
would not fly about like that and eat the ants on 
the wing, if they were not disturbed. They would 
sit round the ant-hill and pick up the ants as they 
issue from their holes. There is a bear at that ant- 
hill eating the ants. It has driven away the birds. 
All animals are fond of flying white ants. Dogs, 
jackals, cats, tigers, leopards, bears, birds of all 
kinds and even men will gorge on them. They 
are sweeter than new corn and taste like cocoa- 
nut. Oh, yes ; I have eaten them, and if the 
sahib will only once taste them he will always 
eat them. Bears like them better even than mahua 
fruit, and I feel sure we shall find a bear under 
those trees, if the sahib will come/' 


Luckily I had with me a couple of ball cartridges, 
so I told the Purdhan, or headman of Dalki, who 
was out with me shooting green pigeon, to lead 
the way. A few hundred yards up the steep slope 
of the hill and under the shade of lofty forest- 
trees, a strange scene presented itself. Crows, 
minas, jays, the great and little hornbill, swallows, 
finches, and birds of all kinds were darting hither 
and thither amid great chattering and cawing, after 
white-ants which were taking the wing in thousands. 
At the foot of a decayed tree, near to which was an 
ant-hill, a female bear and two well-grown cubs 
were literally licking up the flying-ants as they 
issued from their holes. Slobbering their forepaws 
over with saliva, they brought them down on the 
ants, whose thin gauze-like wings adhered to the 
wet paws, and were thus easily licked off by the 
bears. So busy were they at this evidently delect- 
able occupation, and so intent on securing as much 
as possible of this dainty, that we were able to 
approach unobserved to within fifty yards. The 
wary crows alone spotted us and flew off a little 
way, but soon returned to the feast. A perfect 
cloud of ants went up like a haze from the foot of 
the tree, and into this flying mass the birds darted 
open-mouthed, greedily gobbling up the tooth- 
some morsels. The shrill notes of the smaller 
birds, the hoarse caw of the crows, and the harsh 
scream of the hornbills made such a noise that it 
was possible to approach much nearer without 
being heard. I stood gazing at this strange scene 
for fully five minutes, when suddenly I heard a 



shot some twenty yards in advance of me, and then 
found that the Purdhan had stolen away unob- 
served by me and had had a pot at the bears on 
his own account. All was still in a moment. The 
birds flew off on the report of the gun, and the cubs 
also bolted ; but I could see that the she-bear 
was struck in the side, as she bit viciously at the 
wounded part, growling savagely as she tugged out 
bunches of hair. The Purdhan now attempted to 
retreat to where I was concealed, and in his flitting 
from tree to tree the bear caught sight of him and 
at once gave chase. It is astonishing the pace such 
a clumsy-looking animal as Bruin can put on. Be- 
fore the man got half-way to me the bear nearly 
overtook him, and it was only by dodging behind 
the trunk of a large tree that he escaped her 
clutches. Finding the man had stopped, she rose 
on her hind legs and with her snout elevated high 
in the air gave vent to a series of short snapping 
howls, such as one hears from the tame animals 
brought round by showmen when irritated. With 
a kind of a waddle she advanced to the tree and 
clutched at the trunk, but it was much too thick 
for her to get at her foe. Down she now went on 
her fours and chivied the man round and round, 
but here he had the advantage, as he could turn 
more quickly than the bear and so kept well out 
of her reach. After a dozen turns or more, finding 
she could not reach him, she once more rose on her 
hind legs and began clawing the trunk of the tree 
and scoring the bark with her great nails. Then 
she stuffed both forepaws into her mouth and 


began biting them, grunting savagely the whole 

The Purdhan shouted to me to shoot, but the 
whole scene looked so ridiculous and there seemed 
to be so little immediate danger that I decided 
to await developments. Finding no satisfaction 
apparently in biting her own paws, down she 
went again and after the headman as hard as she 
could go. Anon she would rise on her hind legs 
and hop forward in the most comical manner, and 
then down again. How long this would have 
lasted it is hard to tell, as natives are long-winded 
and can keep up a race for miles ; but now an 
unforeseen danger threatened, which made me 
regret that I had not fired before. The cubs, 
which had bolted on the report of the first shot, 
finding their dam did not follow them and pro- 
bably hearing her growling, now came shambling 
up. Although not quite full-grown, they were 
large enough to make formidable opponents to 
an unarmed man, and it would be all up with the 
headman if they came to the assistance of their 
mother. Only two ball cartridges left and three 
bears to face ! A bear robbed of her whelps has 
passed into a proverb for ferocity, but a wounded 
bear with her cubs present is even worse. There 
was not much time for deliberation. Shouting to 
the Purdhan to throw his turban at the she-bear 
and then run towards me, I decided to let her have 
both barrels when she stopped to worry the turban, 
and to take our chance with the cubs. As I antici- 
pated, she at once clutched at the turban and began 


tearing it to shreds, while the Purdhan flew to- 
wards me. Aiming low, as she was at close range 
and the shots might rise in their trajectory, I fired 
both barrels in rapid succession. Over she went a 
regular somersault and kept turning over and over 
every time she attempted to rise. Presently she 
got on to three legs and began staggering along 
after her cubs, which had again bolted on the 
noise of the firing. It was evident that the bone 
of one of her forelegs was broken, as the paw hung 
limp by her side. Now and again she would stop 
and look back at us, as if not quite decided 
whether she would return to the attack or not. The 
Purdhan was for bolting, but I threatened to knock 
him down if he attempted to move, as I knew 
that to run away would be a direct invitation to 
the bear to attack, and with only No. 6 shot in my 
gun a bear, even though badly wounded, would 
make short work of us. We could hear her savage 
growls as she went shambling up the hillside to 
her cave in the rocks above. Next morning, 
with a better provided magazine, we followed up her 
trail, and found she had taken refuge in a cave on 
the hill-top. We could distinctly hear the gurgling 
sound that bears make when sucking their paws 
a sound closely resembling that of a hubble-bubble 
(native hookah) when smoked but all our endea- 
vours to get them to break cover were fruitless. 
Stones, firebrands, repeated shots all were in- 
effectual, and I had to return empty-handed, re- 
solving mentally never again to go bear-shooting 
when after green pigeon. 



MY first acquaintance with Purdasee was under 
circumstances of so terrible a character that 
I can never forget them. It was during the dreadful 
famine of 1877-78, when upwards of five million 
persons died from starvation and disease en- 
gendered from a scarcity of food in South India. 
Out of a population of five and a quarter 
millions, Mysore lost a million and a quarter, while 
the Bellary district suffered even more severely. 
In Madras mountains of grain in bags were stacked 
all along the sea-shore, brought in by ships from 
Calcutta, Burmah, Gopalpore and elsewhere, but 
transport into the interior to the districts most 
affected by the famine was utterly inadequate. 
The Madras Railway in those days terminated 
at Bangalore on the south-west and at Bellary 
on the north-west, while the whole of the large 
stretch of country between these two towns was 
entirely without railways. Cattle had suffered 
even more severely than human beings during 
these two seasons of drought, so that even 
transport in bullock - carts was sadly crippled. 


In parts of the Bellary district and in North 
Mysore grain there was none, and whole villages 
were depopulated, the inhabitants literally dying 
of starvation. I was through the worst parts of 
these two districts during this terrible time, and 
the awful sights of mute human suffering that 
met my gaze I have no wish to recall. 

To come to my story. I was riding along 
the high road between Chitaldroog and Bellary a 
few days before Christmas, and was anxious to 
make the latter town in order to get in to Bangalore 
by Christmas day. I had ridden across country 
some twenty miles and had just struck the high- 
road and hoped to fall in with my camp, which I 
had sent on a few days in advance, to await me at 
a large village I had named. The country through 
which I had ridden was extremely desolate. At 
that time of the year the fields should have been 
laden with cholum (millet), which thrives wonder- 
fully on the black cotton soil of Bellary ; but the 
failure of the North-east monsoon had resulted in 
a very scanty crop, which was plucked and eaten 
by the starving population before it had even 
had time to ripen. I had gone about a couple of 
miles when I noticed a few huts a hundred yards 
off the road, and as I was anxious to hear of my 
baggage I rode over to see if the villagers could 
tell me whether my carts had gone on. I shouted 
when I came to the huts, but no one answered. 
Some of the huts were closed, others open, but 
there did not seem to be a soul about. I was 
just about to ride off when I heard some low 


moans near a thicket of milk-hedge (euphorbia). 
On going to the spot I was witness of a 
most horrible sight. A couple of village pariah 
dogs were tugging at the legs of a man, trying 
to drag him out of a small hut of millet stalks. 
The poor wretch was so emaciated and weak 
from starvation that he had not the strength 
to beat them off, but was clinging convulsively 
to the sides of the hut and moaning faintly now 
and again. A shower of blows with my whip 
failed to drive off the dogs, which had grown 
ferocious by feeding on human corpses, so that I 
had to draw my revolver and shoot one of them 
before the other took to flight. My terrible ex- 
periences of the previous few months had taught 
me that the village dogs, grown savage with 
hunger, had taken to feeding on the bodies of 
the dead and dying villagers, and had I not 
opportunely arrived when I did, they would 
have made short work of the poor wretch 
in the hut. My syce now came up, and I sent 
him on to hunt up my camp and to bring some 
villagers with a charpoy (village bedstead) on 
which to carry the poor fellow to my tent. A 
few drops of brandy from my flask soon revived 
him, and he greedily devoured a biscuit moistened 
in brandy. I could see that hunger was his chief 
ailment, but I would not for the present give him 
more than a second biscuit, as I knew that in ex- 
treme cases such as his, food must be administered 
with caution. After a little time he was able to sit 
up, and he then told me he did not belong to the 


village, but was one of a party of Doms or Pahariahs 
(hill-men), who were on their way to the wooded 
tracts to the South-east. They had been without 
food for days, and on the bare plain in this part 
of the country there were no birds to snare. They 
found the village deserted, and as he was too weak 
to follow his people they had left him in the hut 
to die. He had lain there all the previous day, 
and not a soul had come near the village. At night 
the dogs had smelt him out and attempted to 
attack him, but he had beaten them off. They 
renewed their attack in the morning and he again 
kept them off, but only for a time, as they had 
recommenced their attack and would certainly 
have killed him had I not come up and saved 
him from being eaten by them. " Ough ! ' the 
poor wretch quivered and fainted off. 

In a little time my chuprassee (messenger) came 
up with several villagers and a charpoy, and the 
poor fellow was carried to my camp and taken 
care of by my servants. 

On my return to camp after the Christmas 
vacation I found Purdasee much better. Pur- 
dasee was not his real name, but on being 
asked who he was, he said he was a " Purdasee " 
(literally a man from foreign parts, but used col- 
loquially to designate anyone extremely poor) ; so 
the name stuck to him. He belonged to the great 
clan of wanderers and outcasts found all over 
India and known under various names, such as 
Doms, Ghassias, Bhujs, Kooravers, etc. They are 
wanderers all of them, having no settled habitation, 


but with a few donkeys to carry their household 
pots and baggage may be seen on the outskirts 
of most Indian villages. The women weave mats 
and tell fortunes ; while the men snare birds 
and lift hen-roosts. They are notorious thieves, 
and not a fowl, kid, or cat is safe for miles 
round their encampment. Of the flesh of the 
cat these people are particularly fond, and 
when later on I occasionally took Purdasee 
with me into Bangalore many a fine Tabby mys- 
teriously disappeared, to the surprise and grief 
of its ovmer. It was no use expostulating 
with Purdasee. His sense of meum and tuum 
was dead as regards tabbies. His gratitude to 
me for saving his life was heartfelt, but I really 
believe that even that would have counted for 
little if weighed in the balance against his love 
for cat's flesh. 

It took several months before Purdasee thoroughly 
recovered his strength and was able to accompany 
my camp. He then attached himself to my tent, 
would assist in pitching it, and would hang around 
all day for some word or notice from me. In the 
wooded districts he proved a great aid to my com- 
missariat, as never a day passed but he brought 
in quail, partridge, pea-fowl, jungle cock, etc. 
He was expert at all kinds of snares, traps, nets, 
nooses and devices for trapping birds and small 
animals. He was also a most perfect mimic and 
could imitate the cry of the jackal, partridge, quail 
and jungle fowl. I have several times been present 
when he has decoyed birds, hare and jackal into 


his traps, and I could not for the life of me tell the 
difference between his call and that of the animals 
he imitated. Was it jackal he wanted he would 
partly shade his mouth with his left hand and a 
series of yells would break forth, as if all the jack- 
als had assembled to join chorus. He could make 
the notes sound distant or near by merely opening 
and closing his hand. If he were after a quail, 
the " ronk " of the male bird was heard to per- 
fection. From the thigh bones of a cat he shaped 
a whistle from which the strangest sounds would 
issue at will. Far off larks would come down in 
flight, or crow-pheasants and pea-fowl would answer 
the harsh scream. Sometimes he would be absent 
for days, and then he would return with a low 
flat basket filled with partridges and quail on his 
head, a long rod slung across his shoulder and a 
peacock perched on either side. To prevent the 
pea-fowl taking to flight he would sew their eyelids 
together with a small feather, so that they could 
not see, and in that condition they remained 
perfectly quiet on their perch and could be handled. 
Purdasee was delighted when work took me to 
the wooded districts. There he was in his element, 
snaring game. On the plains he could only 
exercise his ingenuity on the village roosters, and 
when he found that I compelled him to take them 
back to their owners, and that he was in disfavour 
for the remainder of the day, he brought me no 
more village fowl ; but I felt sure that the thieving 
went on all the same, as he would find ready 
receivers in my camp servants, who were not so 


scrupulous as to how the fowls were come by. 
I asked him one day how he managed to catch 
the fowls without noise. He said he drugged 
them with rice which he kept in his mouth all 
night. It fermented there and became very in- 
toxicating. The fowls eating this rice became 
drunk and stupid, and were easily caught. 

Poor Purdasee ! He fell a victim to his devotion 
to me. I was out fowling one day and had shot a 
couple of duck in a tank (pond), but found that they 
were too far out and the water too deep to recover 
them by wading. I sent Purdasee to see if he could 
find a villager who could swim, but all of them said 
they could not. I turned away disappointed, and 
was wending my way home when a villager ran 
up and said that Purdasee had gone into the 
tank after the duck and had not returned. We 
instituted a most careful search, and constructing 
a couple of rafts, I had the tank carefully dragged 
in the direction where he was last seen, but with- 
out result. His body was not recovered till two 
days later. Poor Purdasee ! 

i 5 8 


<{ Sahib, Sahib, bagh / Nudhee may do bagh/" 
(Sir, Sir, a tiger in the river two tigers !) 

It was early dawn perhaps five o'clock and 
the cool morning breeze in July induced sleep 
after a restless night passed in the muggy warm 
atmosphere of the monsoon. However, the 
khubber (news) of two tigers under my very nose 
sent sleep to the winds, and I was up in a 
moment and hastened out in my slippers to 
get full particulars from my " kit " (valet) who 
was standing expectant at the doorway. The 
villagers had reported that two tigers were 
swimming over the river towards my bungalow, 
which was situated on the right bank of the 
Koel river. The tigers were said to be now in 
mid-stream, and the villagers were assembled on 
the bank and shouting to keep them off. A most 
hideous yell, or rather succession of yells, heard 
at that moment proved that the latter part at 
least of the " kit's " story was true. No time 
to dress, so seizing four ball cartridges for my 
double-barrelled 12-bore, I hastened down to the 


The recent heavy rains had raised the water- 
level twenty feet and the Koel was full from 
bank to bank, a seething, swirling volume of 
yellow liquid, dotted all over with floating masses 
of foam. The river at this point is about 200 
yards wide in mid-stream, and some 300 yards 
further up two black objects could be plainly seen 
among the masses of foam, breasting the current 
and swimming vigorously up stream. 

The flood had prevented the ferrying over of 
some score of carts on their way to Beru, so that 
on the left bank were assembled all the carters and 
their following. On the right bank were the villagers 
of Somij, armed with bows, spears and matchlocks. 
These two crowds lining the banks kept the animals 
whatever they were from landing. A dug-out 
was speedily launched, and two sturdy Jhoras 
(fishermen) armed with paddles took their places 
at bow and stern. For the information of the 
uninitiated I may say that a dug-out is a tree 
log of light wood, some twenty feet long and fifteen 
inches in diameter. The ends are pointed like the 
bows and stern of a canoe, and the trunk hollowed 
out. To trust one's self in such an unstable craft, 
even in still waters, requires a good deal of nerve, 
as it is impossible to stand upright without danger 
of overbalancing this primitive contrivance ; but 
to face it in a rough, boisterous stream in flood 
required the excitement of the chase after a brace 
of tigers to enable one to screw up one's courage 
to the sticking point and venture forth. 

The dug-out speeded on its way, propelled by 


two pairs of strong arms, but once we were 
in mid-current it required all the efforts of the 
boatmen to stem the raging stream and make head- 
way. The two " tigers " were now some 350 yards 
up stream, and it really seemed wonderful how 
these animals could make headway in such a mill- 
race. Finding we could make little progress in 
mid-stream, I directed the canoe-men to get nearer 
the bank into slack water, and when we were 
abreast of the animals to shoot out again into 
the centre. When we got within fifty yards we 
perceived that the so-called " tigers" were nothing 
more than a pair of wild dogs. So great was my 
disappointment that I was inclined to direct the 
boatmen to return, but I suppose that the innate 
love of bloodshed said to be characteristic of man 
prevailed, and we continued the chase. The wild- 
dogs now perceived our approach, and putting on 
a spurt actually distanced the dug-out, although 
with alternate promises of reward and punish- 
ment I urged the Jhoras to do their utmost. 
Finding their efforts unavailing I fired at the nearest 
dog, which was about fifty yards ahead. I missed 
the mark being a very bad one, as I dared not 
stand and all that I could see of the brute was its 
ears and nose ; however, the shot was sufficient 
to turn its fellow, which now made down stream, 
still keeping to the centre. It passed within 
twenty yards of me, but I could not fire for fear 
of the bullet glancing off the water and hitting 
one of the many people who lined the bank. I 
therefore directed the boatmen to turn and follow 


this one, as I made quite sure we could come up 
with it going down stream. By the time we had 
turned it had got forty yards' start of us, and it 
kept that distance for nearly half a mile. I never 
saw such swimming in all my life. It was simply 
racing speed. We must have been going eight 
miles an hour (the current being four and a half 
to five), and yet we had not gained ten yards in 
that half-mile race ! The excitement was intense, 
the crowds shouting and running along the banks, 
while I was using very unparliamentary language 
to urge the boatmen on, and the poor brute doing 
its best to get away. The river Karo joins the 
Koel on its left bank, about half a mile below my 
bungalow, and as the cartmen on the left bank 
could not cross the Karo, the animal would find 
the bank free, if it managed to clear the Karo. 
The creature saw this at a glance, and put forth all 
its efforts to gain this point. We in the dug-out 
also saw that if not overtaken before it crossed 
the junction of the rivers it would escape. Now 
then for the final struggle. The dug-out seemed 
to fly through the water, yet the dog kept its dis- 
tance and crossed the Karo. In making for the 
shore however it got into slack water, and here 
we gained perceptibly. A last chance offered when 
the animal got within ten yards of the long grass 
edging the river. I fired and again missed, and 
the dog disappeared in the dense undergrowth. 
I must say that I was scarcely sorry I had 
missed. The chase had lasted nearly an hour, up 
stream and down, and the animal had beaten 



the boat in both directions. Its exertions were 
truly marvellous, and I would not have believed 
any land animal capable of such powers of swim- 
ming had I not witnessed this wild-dog's efforts to 

We now turned our attention to its fellow, which 
we saw some two hundred yards up stream, follow- 
ing in the direction its mate had taken. The dug- 
out was hastily drawn under some overhanging 
branches, and we silently awaited the approach 
of the animal. When within ten yards a shot 
smashed his skull, and he sank to rise again 
some distance down stream. The boatmen neatly 
harpooned him, and brought him to land. He 
proved to be a full-grown male, of a reddish- 
brown colour, flecked with a little black about 
the face and ears. The tail ended in a tuft of 
hair. In size he was very much larger than the 
wild-dogs of Southern India and more nearly 
resembled the dingo of South Australia. Marvel- 
lous were the tales the villagers related of the 
prowess of the wild-dog. According to native 
accounts a pack of wild dogs when pressed by 
hunger will not hesitate to attack a tiger. 



" HONORED SIR, I would bring to your honor's kind recol- 
lection the caprices of a demented mad elephant, and ask for 
your honor's instructions in the same. He is beastly bad one, 
and notwithstanding that he has already suicided thirty-three 
of his defunct relatives, he now is murderously intent on all 
having a similitude to his kind, in the appearance of domestic 
milch buffaloes ; and thereafter. He has raided all the villages 
in the environs of No. 2 Division, and the coolies and ryots are 
frightened for the lives and persons, although he has not yet 
crimed the man-slaughter, but only the buffaloes and not the 
cows. Mr. Theobald is here just now, and wants your honor's 
geenerous advice to shoot or otherwise this furious packshide- 
dams. The fire-lines are awaiting the monster's removal, as 
the men wont work, in fear and trembling. A quick response 
will ever be grateful to your most humble servant, 

"Sp. Ranger, F. A., Madras University. 

"To the Assistant Forest Officer, 

" Kollegal Division, Coimbatore." 

The above is a true copy of a letter addressed 
to the Assistant Conservator of Forests a few years 
ago by one of the native subordinates of the Forest 
Department, and gives in native B.A. English a 
graphic account of the doings of a mad elephant 
then at large in the forests of Kollegal, bordering 


the Mysore Province. The history of this brute 
is well worth relating, as his madness took a very 
singular form, his fury seeming to be directed 
against his own kind or anything bearing a re- 
semblance thereto. 

Complaints had for some time been pouring in to 
the Collector of Coimbatore of the destruction to 
fields of corn and sugar-cane by herds of wild ele- 
phants which came down from the hills in Kolle- 
gal, and laid waste the cultivation in the low 
country. As it would be dfncult to shoot down 
whole herds of these animals it was determined 
to build a kheddah, or elephant trap, capture 
the brutes wholesale, and break them in to 
forest work as beasts of burden. A series of 
stockades and enclosures were accordingly con- 
structed in the bottom of a densely wooded valley 
draining into the river Cauvery. Hundreds of 
beaters had been assembled and a herd of thirty- 
three huge animals had been successfully driven 
into the impounding stockade, and the heavy gate 
of logs made fast. Watchmen had been told off 
to feed great fires surrounding the stockade and to 
prevent all attempts of the captured herd to 
break through the log-fence and ditch of the khed- 
dah. There was much jubilation throughout the 
camp. The Collector was there with numerous 
guests who had come down from Ootacamund and 
neighbouring stations to witness the drive. Next 
day was to be devoted to separating the wild 
herd and to hobbling individual elephants and 
making them fast to trees, as a preliminary to 


breaking them in. The aid of half-a-dozen koon- 
kies, or female elephants specially trained to assist 
in the dangerous operation of securing and making 
fast their wild brethren, had been obtained, and 
several large tuskers were also present to overawe 
any of the captured ones that might show fight. 
All was quiet for the night. The guests had re- 
tired to their tents after a late dinner ; the tame 
elephants had gone to their camp some half-a- 
mile away ; the watchmen were dozing over their 
watch-fires when suddenly a fierce trumpeting was 
heard from within the kheddah, followed by a 
squealing and shrieking as if a legion of pigs were 
being slaughtered. The din was terrific ; the whole 
herd seemed to have gone mad. There was a rush- 
ing here and a rushing there, as the huge animals 
tumbled over one another in their fright. By the 
light of the moon and the blaze of the watch-fires, 
now heaped with faggots, a perfect mountain of 
flesh could be seen huddled up in one corner of 
the kheddah elephant over elephant, a writhing 
mass which heaved and squealed and groaned in 
the vain efforts of those undermost to escape from 
the vast overburden of their fellows, who came 
tumbling on the top of them in the attempt to 
escape from some object of terror behind. The 
shouts of the watchers, the din of tom-toms 
(drums), the bray of trumpets and the springing of 
rattles added to the noise and confusion. The 
camp was now thoroughly alarmed but no one 
could tell what had happened. That there was 
something very wrong within the kheddah was evi- 


dent, but what it was none could say. Most of those 
assembled at the camp had climbed into trees over- 
looking the kheddah, and could see the huge black 
masses huddled on one another and squealing most 
shrilly. Now and again there would be an interval 
of silence within the kheddah and the mountain 
of flesh would disentangle itself and the elephants 
hurry off here and there, leaving many of their 
number dead or dying. The tame elephants were 
sent for and soon arrived on the scene, but none 
dared to enter the enclosure, so appalling was the 
sight that gradually unfolded itself. The whole 
enclosure was strewed with dead and dying ele- 
phants, and a huge tusker was seen driving deep 
his tusks into the bodies of his fallen victims, stamp- 
ing on those that showed the least signs of life, and 
kicking the carcases here and there in his diabolical 
rage, emitting at the same time the most unearthly 
yells and screams that had ever been heard from 
one of these brutes. When satisfied that the body 
before him was lifeless, away he would charge after 
the herd and single out another victim. There 
was no escape. The enclosure was of limited ex- 
tent, and strewn as it was with the bodies of dead 
and dying elephants it prevented any lengthened 
chase. Elephant after elephant had fallen before 
his blind fury, and now all was still within. By 
this time the spectators of this ghastly scene had 
formed some idea of what had happened, and the 
guns were sent for. None of the tame elephants 
would approach the kheddah. They appeared to 
know what had happened, and with trunk elevated 


they scented the air, and knew there was danger for 
themselves if they approached the raving brute. 
The trees were too far off to permit of a good shot 
at him from among the branches, and the only 
place that appeared at all likely to give a chance was 
at the great drop gate. T- , taking one of the 
oldest native shikaris with him, made for this point 
of vantage and waited patiently the approach of 
the mad elephant, which was going round the en- 
closure turning over the bodies of those it had killed 
and stamping out what remained of life in those that 
had escaped his first furious onset. Aiming as best 
he could, T - fired, and shouted to the shikari to 
escape through a narrow postern in the palisading 
making the avenue which led to the gate, as he saw 
that his shot had failed and the raging brute was 
charging down on them. The native seemed para- 
lysed with terror, or believed in the strength of the 
gate, and would not move. T- - barely escaped 
through the opening, when crash went the strong 
timbers of the gate like matchwood before the 
terrible impact. The white clothing of the shikari 
caught the elephant's eye. In a moment his trunk 
was round the unfortunate man, and placing a 
foot on one leg and seizing the other in its trunk it 
simply tore the poor wretch in two and threw 
the pieces high into the air. With a demoniac 
trumpet it then charged down the avenue, and 
was away to the hills before the horrified spec- 
tators could fairly grasp what had occurred. 

The morning showed a dreadful sight within the 
kheddah. The earth, sodden with the blood of the 


elephants, had been churned into a quagmire by 
their ponderous feet in their wild rushes to escape 
from their mad companion. Great bodies strewed 
the enclosure, some mangled and trodden out of 
all semblance to the living creature. In one corner 
the bodies were so piled up and mixed together that 
it was difficult to conceive how they could have got 
into that position. This mass showed some move- 
ment, and with immense difficulty two living ele- 
phants were exhumed from this veritable mountain 
of flesh. All the others were dead. Of the thirty- 
three leviathans captured the previous evening, 
thirty dead bodies, two maimed brutes more than 
half-dead, and the runaway made up the tale ! 

Great heavens ! Could this scene of slaughter be 
the work of one brute ! Was it possible for one 
animal to destroy thirty of his fellows in the space 
of a couple of hours ? Many of the victims were as 
large as, if not larger than, their mad assailant, 
and two were immense tuskers. The labour of six 
months and a large expenditure of money gone in an 
hour ! The herd when secured would have been 
worth more than half a lakh of rupees (Rs. 50,000), 
now all gone through the instrumentality of one 
luckless brute ; and, more than this, one ill-fated 
human being had been torn limb from limb. 

Nothing more was heard of the runaway for some 
time. Then came in reports from numerous vil- 
lages bordering the forest lands of Kollegal of the 
depredations of a mad elephant. His insanity took 
a peculiar form, as I have said, inasmuch as it 
was directed against his own kind and against 


buffaloes. He killed two of the forest elephants 
engaged in timber work, so that the working 
elephants had to be removed. He would enter 
a village, make for the cattle enclosures and 
destroy every buffalo he saw. Bullocks he 
would not touch, nor did he show any particular 
animosity to human beings ; but buffaloes seemed 
to be his pet aversion. On one occasion he kept a 
whole village within their huts for two days in his 
vain attempts to enter a stone enclosure, such as 
the natives use for penning cattle, in which there 
was a herd of buffaloes. 

A large Government reward was now offered for 
his destruction, and numerous native shikarees 
endeavoured to bag him without success. He 
was frequently shot at and received many 
wounds, and at length became so wary that 
he was seldom seen, and it was only news of 
his continued depredations here to-day, twenty 
miles off next day that kept up the terror of his 

The story of how this cunning brute was circum- 
vented and at length laid low I will tell in 
another chapter. 



So numerous were the petitions to the Collector of 
Coimbatore regarding the damage done by the 
mad elephant of which some account was given 
in the last chapter that special means had 
to be devised to rid the district of its presence. 
Not only had it killed thirty of the herd captured 
in the kheddah, but since that night's savage work 
it had destroyed half-a-dozen more tame ele- 
phants, belonging to Government and private 
individuals. Buffaloes by the score had also 
fallen victims to its peculiar form of insanity, 
and so great was the terror it inspired that 
many villages on the Kollegal frontier were aban- 
doned, with the result that cultivation suffered and 
forest work was much impeded. Mr. Theobald, 
the well-known assistant to Mr. Sanderson, the 
elephant-catcher, at that time a Forest Officer 
in the employ of the Madras Government and 
known to be a keen shikaree, was deputed on 
special duty to endeavour to shoot the brute. 
It had now been at large for about six months 
and during that time it had done an immense 
amount of damage. Traps of all kinds pit- 
falls, spring-guns, balanced spears, nooses, decoys 


all had been tried, but without effect. It 
had been wounded several times and had now 
become so wary that it lay concealed during 
the day and made its attacks only on the 
darkest nights. It was so cunning that imme- 
diately after destroying the buffaloes in a village 
it would leave that locality at once, and be next 
heard of twenty or thirty miles away. Another 
peculiarity about it was that it never travelled the 
same path twice, as if it were aware that danger 
was most likely to be met along those tracks. The 
Government reward for its destruction was high, so 
that many native shikarees from the neighbouring 
districts had been attracted to Kollegal in hopes 
of securing it ; but all their efforts had proved 
fruitless. The elephant was seldom seen ; yet the 
damage went on all the same. The Tamil inhabitants 
of the district called it the Ahnay Payee (elephant 
devil), and offered sacrifices of cocks and sheep to 
appease its wrath. Captain Godfrey, the famous 
elephant-killer from the Wynaad, spent a month 
in search of the brute but never once caught sight 
of it. Such was the animal Theobald was now 
directed to destroy. 

His first measures were to collect all the native 
shikarees of note and find out from them what had 
been done and what plans were left untried. As 
the beast showed such a strong antipathy to 
buffaloes, it was thought it might be got at 
by the hunters being concealed in a cattle-pen 
among buffaloes. An open kraal was accordingly 
selected, and a pit sunk in the centre. This 


was protected by a light fencing to keep out 
the cattle. The hunters spent over a week in this 
unsavoury spot amid the intolerable smell of the 
buffaloes and plagued by myriads of insects. On 
the last night of this vigil, towards midnight, the 
buffaloes manifested signs of uneasiness. They 
thronged close up against the side of the kraal 
furthest from that in which the wind was blow- 
ing and, with faces turned windward, seemed 
to scent something unusual. The night was pitchy 
dark so that it was impossible to see anything 
beyond a dozen paces. Now the cattle came rush- 
ing to the centre of the kraal and against the light 
fencing, as if to seek the protection of their human 
fellows. It appeared as if an opportunity was at 
last going to offer and the hunters were all alert ; 
but no ! the excitement passed off and after a 
time the cattle returned to their usual positions of 
repose. The morning showed the tracks of the 
elephant clearly all round the kraal, but it had not 
made the slightest attempt to break in. It must 
have scented its human foes, and made off noise- 
lessly. It was seen therefore that this plan would 
not answer, so something fresh had to be devised. 
There was not the slightest use attempting to 
track the brute for it appeared to be ever on the 
move, and so cunning had it become that when 
feeding it would make a detour and take up a 
position from which it could see its own tracks ; 
its hearing and scent also were so acute that it 
generally detected its pursuers before they saw it, 
and while they were plodding their way straight 


ahead, a loud trumpet, as if of derision, on their 
right or left would show them they were dis- 
covered, and it would be twenty miles off in a few 

After much cogitation a plan suggested by one 
of the mahouts that looked promising was tried. 
Two of the most intelligent female elephants em- 
ployed in forest work were selected, and these were 
taught to elevate their trunks on the approach of 
another elephant. The one which first gave warn- 
ing was always rewarded with some little dainty, 
so that in a short time they became so clever that 
another elephant could not approach within several 
hundred yards but they would scent it out and give 
warning by elevating their trunks. When suffi- 
ciently trained, Theobald mounted on one of these 
animals, and with two good shikarees on the other 
set out on the trail of the mad elephant. Some 
fifteen miles of country were traversed on the 
first day, yet nothing was seen of the runaway. 
On the second day about noon, while going 
through some bamboo-covered bottom, both ele- 
phants gave sign towards the right of the trail. 
All was excitement now. The guns were got 
ready, and with an interval of about four hundred 
yards between them the tame elephants were 
moved off to the right and a cautious advance 
was made. Now was heard a crackle of branches 
ahead. The brute was probably feeding ! The 
jungle became denser. There, behind a clump, a 
dark object was seen ! Now a gleam of white his 
tusks ! Yes, a solitary elephant, and a^tusker ! 


It must be the rogue ! A still further advance was 
made, and yet it had not taken the alarm. Another 
twenty yards and it would be near enough for 
a shot. Squeal ! Squeal ! What is that ? A baby 
elephant ! And now its mother shows itself, and 
then another and another. Pshaw ! Not the rogue 
after all ! Merely a herd of wild elephants. An- 
other such disappointment and this plan had also 
to be given up. Theobald was at his wits' end. 
There was no getting a shot at the wary brute. He 
now bethought him of some of his Sholiga friends. 
The Sholigas are a wild race inhabiting the Belli- 
gherry Rungan Hills on the Kollegal frontier, 
and are the most expert trackers of wild beasts in 
the world, besides being better acquainted with 
the habits of elephants than any other people. 
Boomay Gowda, a Sholiga headman (and the ex- 
pert tracker referred to in the chapter headed 
"At the Kheddahs"), was under obligation to 
Theobald. The latter therefore decided to send 
for him and ask his advice. Boomay Gowda 

" I will bring the mad elephant to the dor ay 
(gentleman)," he said when he had heard the 
whole story. 

" Bring the mad elephant to me, Boomay Gowda ! 
What ? Are you mad yourself ? " 

' The dor ay will see. Give me a week's time, 
and I will make the Ahnay Payee come up to 
your place of concealment, so that you can shoot 

The old man would give no further information. 


He would explain matters after the kill, he said. 
The native shikarees and mahouts present were 
inclined to laugh at Boomay Gowda as a junglee 
(a term of contempt among natives, meaning a 
man from the jungles), but Theobald knew him 
better. A few days later a Sholiga came to Theo- 
bald and said he had been directed by Boomay 
Gowda to take the hunters to a place of conceal- 
ment in a water-course some ten miles off, and 
that they were to camp there till Boomay Gowda 
arrived. The spot indicated was a dry nullah with 
a steep rocky bed and banks of clay about ten 
feet high. The width of the water-course was not 
more than ten to fifteen feet. Heavy forest trees 
with little or no underwood covered the country 
on both banks for miles, so that it was easy to see 
any object approaching the water-course without 
oneself being seen. The hunters were directed to 
camp about a mile away from the water-course 
on the left bank, and were instructed that when 
Boomay Gowda came they were to take up a 
position in the nullah so that their heads would be 
level with the right bank, from which direction 
the mad elephant would approach. They were 
not to climb into a tree or machan, as from that 
height their scent would be wafted far and wide 
and the elephant would not come ; but they were 
to lie low in the water-course, whence their^scent 
would not be carried to the elephant and they 
could shoot him as he approached. 

Two days afterwards Boomay Gowda came 
early in the morning and said the elephant would 


be at the water-course about ten o'clock and that 
they must hurry off. Theobald and one shikari 
took up a position pointed out to them by the 
Sholiga in the nullah commanding the right bank. 
He told them to be careful and not show them- 
selves nor to make any noise, but to peer over 
the edge of the bank now and again to see the 
elephant approach, while he would be off to see 
that all was right. Perching themselves on a 
small ledge in the bank they waited till about 
half-past nine when they saw a huge elephant ap- 
proaching cautiously from a direction at right angles 
to the nullah. There was the great brute with the 
point of his trunk nearly touching the ground, 
smelling carefully at a trail of some kind. Now 
and again he would stop and elevate his trunk, 
turning it on all sides to scent out anything strange. 
Being reassured, he would again move cautiously 
forward, still carefully scenting the ground and 
making direct for the spot where the hunters lay 
concealed. There all was in readiness. No mistake 
this time. It was the mad elephant. Theobald 
would have liked a side-shot just behind the 
opening of the ear, as he had bagged dozens of 
elephants each with a single shot there ; but 
from the direction in which the elephant was 
approaching, there was no chance of the ear-shot, 
so he determined to take the next best place the 
fleshy protuberance in the middle of the forehead. 
The elephant was advancing slowly, with head 
lowered, and was now about twenty paces off. Sud- 
denly he stopped and raised his head, with the flaps 


of his great ears thrown forward. The movement 
disconcerted Theobald, who fired just as the brute 
stopped. The shot struck six inches too low, in the 
hollow where the bones of the head are thickest. 
There was no time for a second shot. With a scream 
of rage the elephant was on them, and over them, 
his tusks embedded deep in the opposite bank. 
Apparently he had not noticed the nullah in his 
wild charge, or he could not stop himself if he 
had seen it. 

Theobald and his shikaree were knocked off the 
ledge by great masses of earth hurled from the top 
of the bank, which gave way under the enormous 
weight of the charging elephant. In the clouds of 
dust raised by the falling earth and the struggles 
of the elephant they managed to scramble to their 
legs and run up the nullah, without thought of their 
guns, which fell from their hands when they were 
knocked over by the clods of earth. The instinct 
of self-preservation was strong within them, and 
they knew their lives were not worth a minute's 
purchase once the elephant got on to his legs. Up 
stream they scrambled as best they cculd, over the 
boulders and loose stones, looking round nervously 
for a place up which they could clamber out of the 
nullah ; but none offered. They had barely got 
fifty paces, when they heard a heavy fall of earth, 
and knew that the elephant had brought down the 
bank in which its tusks were embedded and was 
again on its feet. It appeared dazed for the 
moment, and then looked round in search of its 
foes. The noise of their running soon attracted 



it, and with a shrill scream of rage, it was after 
them. What occurred next is best told in Theo- 
bald's own words : 

" My legs appeared to give way I felt as if 
I could not run another pace. The shikaree shot 
ahead of me, and gained a point some twenty yards 
in front, where a bush overhung the nullah. With a 
leap he gained the branches, and was on the bank in 
safety. Already I thought I felt the cold, clammy 
clutch of the elephant's trunk round my neck. I was 
choking ! I thought of the poor shikaree torn in 
two at the kheddah } and knew that would be my 
fate in another minute or two, unless I gained the 
bush up which the shikaree had clambered. My legs 
appeared to be made of lead ; I could not for the 
life of me do more than a trot. ' lyo / lyo f 
hodoo I hodoo cheekrum / ' (O ! O ! run ! run 
fast !), shouted the shikaree from the bank. No ! 
my head began to swim. I could not go faster, 
when suddenly down the bank leaped Boomay 
Gowda, and, seizing me by the hand, hurried 
me along. How we gained the bush, and how 
we got up the bank, I know not. When I re- 
covered recollection I was standing on the bank, 
supported by the shikaree and Boomay Gowda, 
while the elephant was below us, trumpetting and 
screaming as it tore into shreds the bush up which 
we had escaped, and on which it was now 
venting its rage. That would have been my 
fate, I thought, as I squeezed the hand of the 
brave old man who had just risked his own life 
for me. Finding it could not get at us, the ele- 


phant set off up stream. Were we to lose it 
after all ? Our guns were in the nullah, some hun- 
dred yards away. No ! here comes a Sholiga with 
them. Bdomay Gowda had sent him off at once 
for them, immediately we were in safety. ' Come, 
sir ! come this way ! The nullah takes a bend 
up stream, and we can get ahead of the elephant 
easily/ said Boomay Gowda, and off we set at a 
run. We got to the bank, and concealed ourselves 
behind some bushes. Now we heard the elephant 
coming along, stumbling over the stones, and 
making as much noise as a whole herd of cattle 
rushing down a steep. I could see the blood oozing 
out of the wound in its head, and its face was one 
mass of blood, with the flicking of its ears. I was 
quite cool now. It is opposite me, not ten paces 
off. Its ear is quite exposed. I fire ! It drops 
like a shot. Not a move. Thank God ! it is 
ours ! " 

Old elephant hunters will recognise at once the 
plan adopted by Boomay Gowda to bring the 
elephant to the hunters. It is a device practised 
by the wild tribes of the Garo Hills, as well 
as the jungle races in the South of India, to 
entice male elephants to their pit-falls. Certain 
ingredients are mixed with water, and this 
is dropped on the ground, here and there, in 
the direction in which the male is to be enticed. 




' ' GOD forgive you, Ned, but I think you have 
brought me on this tramp purposely, in order to 
pay me out for the slating I gave you last field- 
day, when you made such a mess of it. Great 
Scott ! you did get your company mixed up. 
Could not have done worse if you'd tried. Bison, 
indeed ! and only three miles off ! Why, we have 
been on the tramp since chota hazree (early break- 
fast), and that's four hours ago. The trail is 
warm ? Is it ? ; not as warm as I am, I can tell 
you, and I don't budge a foot until I have had 
a peg ; so, banghy-wallah, baito (rest) you here, 
my man, and let us lighten your load. They are 
just over that ridge, are they ? Well, it won't 
harm them to wait a bit till this child has 
quenched his thirst. I vote we lunch now, and 
take them after. You see, if you once get into 
the heat of the chase we don't know when we 
may stop. No, no, let us start afresh, I say, as 
I mean to have a bison this day, and no mistake. 
Come along, man, sit down ; tiffin (lunch) then 
bisin good that, eh ? 

" Heigho ! After tiffin rest awhile. Sound advice 
that, whoever was the author. He does not say 


how long ; but that, I fancy, should be according 
to the time of year and the latitude. Here, in 
Chota Nagpore, and in April, it means till you 
feel an inclination to move, and that feeling has 
not come over me yet. Don't be impatient, old 
chap. One would fancy you are to shoot the 
bison, and not I. Remember, this is my first 
bison, and I am all excitement. Catch your 
hare ? Gad, the fellow is becoming sententious. 
Just see me dance no, see me on the war-path, 
and you won't talk of catching. That bison is 
as good as nobbled. I wonder if W - will let 
me put the head up at the head-quarters 
armoury. Not a bad idea that, a kind of in- 
centive to good shooting among the B. N. R. 
(Bengal-Nagpur Railway) Volunteers, as each and 
every man might do likewise. Don't laugh, 
man ; they laugh best who laugh last ! Come, 
I don't mind going you a fiver that the honour 
and glory of this shoot falls to me. 

" Nay, nay, if thou lovest me, Ned, let me rest 
awhile, and I'll forgive you your next ' spoof ' 
at company drill. This weather is too killing, 
so be off and kill that bison, for I don't budge 
till sundown." 

Kartik, the shikaree, had just returned with 
khubber (news) that the herd was grazing in a 
glade beyond the ridge, only a mile off. There 
was no time to lose, so leaving our worthy 
Adjutant under the shade of the sal tree, I 
moved off double quick. A smart tramp up the 
rise, and there was the herd, not six' : hundred 


yards off. With my glass I could make out four 
cows, a couple of well-grown calves, all huddled 
up together ; and in all his lordly majesty, a 
little distance away from his family, a mag- 
nificent bull, keeping watch and ward. This is 
the usual habit with bison ; the master of the 
herd grazes by himself some little distance away 
from the rest. 

There was a little rough ground to the windward, 
and I saw that, if I gained that spot there would 
be the chance of a shot at the big bull, so 
going down on our stomachs we crawled along 
as fast as we could, taking advantage of every 
bit of cover. There is no part of the hunt 
not even when you have plugged your beast 
and brought him down that equals in excite- 
ment the ten minutes or so that elapses between 
the time when you sight your quarry and the 
getting within range. Heat, fatigue, wounded 
hands and knees, all are forgotten ! Every 
moment you expect him to be off. You clutch 
your gun convulsively as you reach each little 
scrap of cover, and think " Shall I fire ? Is he 
too far off another yard or so ? )! This is the 
experience of even those who have shot their score 
and more. It appeared to take only five minutes 
to crawl the five hundred yards and bring us 
within range. I was pouring with perspiration, 
and my eyes were so wet that I could barely 
see the sights as I got on to my knees and 
grasped my Paradox. An attempt to brush the 
moisture from my_eyes attracted the attention 


of one of the cows, and a short warning grunt 
gave notice to the herd that something unusual 
was approaching. Instantly every head was 
turned in our direction. Kartik was much too 
good a shikaree to move. He was flat on his 
stomach. Any sudden movement on my part 
would have sent the herd off helter-skelter. Inch 
by inch I rose to my feet, the whole herd gazing 
intently at this novel object. Inch by inch, and 
my Paradox is raised to my shoulder. With an im- 
patient stamp the bull comes a yard or two nearer 
to view this strange intruder. Ah ! the excitement, 
the intense pleasure of that moment, to know 
that one clutch of the fingers, and that great brute 
would be at my feet. Black as jet, with brown 
to the knees, and a patch of brown on the 
forehead, he looked superb as, pawing the 
dust, he gazed in my direction with lowered head 
ready for the attack. What chance had the 
heaviest weapon against that massive frontal bone ? 
No, I must not move. I must wait till a vulnerable 
point offers. Will he never move ? At last he 
raises his head, and sniffs the air, as if to scent 
out the danger. Fatal movement ! He exposes his 
chest, and a single bullet lays him low, while the 
remainder of the herd scamper off helter-skelter. 
I stood with gun at shoulder, ready for a second 
shot, should he rise and charge, or attempt to 
make off. The well-trained Kartik was still prone 
on his stomach, as he knew that, if he moved and 
attracted the bull's attention, and it had still life 
enough left to charge, he would be the objective. 


A convulsive kick or two, and all was still. Nine- 
teen hands high of flesh and bone had succumbed 
to an ounce and a half of lead. Five feet seven 
and a half inches gave the circuit of his horns 
from tip to tip. He was in his prime, not a bit 
aged, and in splendid condition. 

Kartik was sent off to collect the villagers to 
bring in the spoil, while I tried the soothing in- 
fluence of a cigar. Not the slightest fatigue did 
I feel. The excitement and triumph had carried 
that off, and I felt fit for another ten-mile tramp. 
Skilful hands were soon engaged disembowelling 
him, and even after this, it was as much as thirty 
men could do to get him on to a sugger (village 
cart) and take him on to the station, as I wished 
personally to superintend the flaying. 

" Well, Ned ! drawn a blank ? " said the 
Adjutant. a Thought so. Knew you would spoil 
matters with your hurry. Now, if you had 
waited a bit till I was ready, we should have 
had something to show for all our trouble. 
Didn't think you would sling a bison at your 
waist, like a brace of snipe ? No, old boy. 'Tis 
your gills I look at. No triumph there. White, 
man ! white ! Gory is the colour of success. Never 
mind, Ned ; take a peg, old man, it will cheer 
you up. But all said and done, old man, it is a 
beastly shame your spoiling our day's sport with 
your impatience. It is just the way with you 
fellows who know nothing of game and their 

Quietly imbibing my peg, I told him the tale 


of the shoot, every detail being fresh in memory, 
and success adding an eloquence to my tongue 
which at other times could barely tell a story of 
twenty lines coherently. 

' Here, puckerow juldee ! Pack up ek-dum ! (take 
hold quick, pack up at once). Gad, we must get 
into the station sharp, and see that those fellows 
don't maul our skin. Say, won't we have the 
laugh of those fellows at C - ? We did the 
trick nicely, didn't we ? I feel as if I could do 
another bull. But I am always in luck. Fellows 
always like to go out with me ; I never draw a 
blank. Nineteen hands ? By Jove, won't the 
Colonel feel small ? He never shot one more than 
sixteen ; and here, at my first attempt, we bag 
a nineteen-hander. Do you know, I don't feel a 
bit fatigued. I am as fit as possible." 

Two months later, while dining at Nagpore, 
I heard a full and detailed account of how our 
Adjutant had bagged his first bison ! 

1 86 


WHILE tramping along the banks of the northern 
Karo river, just above the point where it precipi- 
tates itself over a waterfall eighty feet high, into the 
Koel river, in the south-east corner of Lohardugga, 
in Chota Nagpore, strange shouts of " hill-hillo- 
lowee / hill-hillo-lowee ! hill-hillo-lowee / ' (with a 
long pause on the second word) were heard from 
an elbow in the river a little way up stream. On 
inquiry I was told that the shouts came from a 
party of Behurs, or monkey-eaters, who were en- 
gaged in hunting monkeys, and that if we concealed 
ourselves and approached cautiously we should 
be able to witness the hunt, but that the advance 
must be made carefully, as the Behurs are a very 
wild race who live only in the forests, on the trees, 
or in holes in the rocks ; that they hold no inter- 
course with any but their own people, and avoid 
all villages, and that if they saw us they would most 
likely make off. As the hunt was evidently being 
made towards the river from its right bank, we 
went over to the opposite side and concealed our- 
selves in the forest just opposite the elbow or bend 
in the river towards which the hunt seemed to 


be directed. The river, not being more than 
fifty yards wide at this point, we could dis- 
tinctly see all that was taking place on the 
other side. The loud " Whoop ! Whoop ! " of 
the lungur monkey (a note that can be heard 
miles off), with the occasional harsh, coughing 
cry of the animal when alarmed, was now 
heard in the point of land opposite. The 
" hill-hillo-ing " approached nearer and nearer, and 
now we could see the tree tops opposite shaken 
by the monkeys as they leaped from branch to 
branch. Presently about a dozen long-tailed, black- 
faced monkeys appeared in the trees overlooking 
the river. They would peer down into the water, 
and then jabber among themselves as if hold- 
ing a consultation. Several large fellows now 
descended the trees and approached the stream, 
in search of a place where to cross. The stream 
was deep at this point, and much too wide to leap 
over ; and as there is nothing this class of monkey 
dreads so much as deep water, they made up their 
minds there was no crossing there. This was soon 
communicated to their fellows on the trees, and 
now began a scene of rushing from branch to branch, 
with shrill screams of fear as the hunters began 
to draw near them. Several of the Behurs were up 
in the trees armed with bows and arrows, more were 
on the ground with slings from which they hurled 
stones into the topmost boughs to drive forth 
any of the monkeys that might have concealed 
themselves there. The women and children, armed 
with sticks and branches, kept on beating the 


bushes, and shouting " hill-hillo-lowee ! hill-hillo- 
lowee!" As they approached, the monkeys, now 
mad with fear, threw themselves tumultuously from 
the trees, and scampered off along the sandy margin 
of the stream, the hunters in hot pursuit. The 
monkeys were kept to the stream by a line of 
Behurs, who now appeared on the margin, and 
thus chased, they rushed headlong into nets 
previously stretched across the sandy shore from 
the water to the bank, and for some distance along 
the edge. Into this cul-de-sac they were driven, 
and while entangled in the nets clubbed to death 
by the Behurs. There was not the slightest attempt 
on their part to show fight, although some of the 
lungurs were of the largest size quite four feet 
without the tail and had large powerful teeth. 
That lungurs can fight I have occasion to re- 
member, in the loss of two fine dogs and the 
serious injury of another. But now a great fear 
seemed to come over them, and, huddled up in 
the nets, they tried to hide themselves under one 
another as they were mercilessly brained by the 
clubs of the Behurs. 

We thought it time to show ourselves, as there 
was less chance of the hunters running away now 
that they had bagged their game. Perhaps it was 
their numbers gave them courage there were about 
thirty in all, men, women, and children and we 
were but three. The women and children collected 
the nets, while the men proceeded to flay the 
monkeys, of which there were a dozen, or 
more. The skinning Jwas most effectually done in 


a very simple manner. A small hole was made in 
the skin of one of the legs. Into this the thumb 
was inserted, and the flesh separated from the skin 
for a little distance. A reed was now inserted 
into the hole, and strongly blown through, so 
as to inflate the space made by the thumb. The 
hole was now firmly pinched so as to allow none 
of the air to escape, and the air squeezed forward 
with the hands, so that a further portion of the 
skin was separated from the flesh. This space 
was now inflated, and the squeezing forward pro- 
cess of the air again carried out, and continued 
until in a little time the skin was swelled out 
like a balloon and loosened entirely from the 
carcase. A hole was now made under the 
neck, and the whole body withdrawn, or rather 
the skin was turned back on itself, and pulled 
off like a sock. The hands were then cut off 
at the wrist and, the tail being removed at the 
stump, the skin is rubbed over with powdered 
wild turmeric, to preserve it from insects. The 
tails, with skins on, are carefully preserved, and 
when dried make formidable clubs, quite four feet 
long and immensely strong ; and these are used 
by the Behurs for killing monkeys and other game. 
The skins find a ready sale among the Gassis and 
makers of tom-toms (drums), as monkey-skins 
make better drum-heads than the skin of any 
other animal. 

We found that the Behurs spoke a dialect of 
Mundaree, or Kol, language common to all the 
aborigines of Chota Nagpore. A few cigars dis- 


tributed amongst the men and a handful of 
coppers among the women and children soon 
placed them at their ease, and they were ready 
to answer our questions. For some little time 
we watched them cutting up the carcases. The 
liver, heart, and other tit-bits were first re- 
moved, and cut up into small pieces and 
skewered on little sticks and put out in the sun 
to dry. A certain portion of flesh was put aside 
for present consumption, and the remainder cut 
into narrow strips, and hung on a frame-work of 
green branches under which a fire was kindled 
and plentifully heaped with green sal leaves, the 
smoke from which, they said, preserved the meat, 
so that it would keep for months. It never went 
bad. In reply to questions put by me, one of the 
men replied : " Why should we live in houses when 
we have the forest trees ? They shelter us from 
sun and rain, and give us food ; what more do 
we want ? In the rains we have roots of all kinds ; 
in the dry weather we have wild fruit and the larvae 
of the red ant, which is good to eat, as it makes 
us strong. Then there are monkeys and wild 
pigs, and sometimes a deer. No, we never want ; 
the jungle people never starve ; the forest is a 
beautiful mother. We never live in huts ; we 
sleep under a tree in fine weather, or within the 
shelter of a rock when it rains. We never go far 
from the streams, as there is no forest where 
there is no water. From Surguja to Bonai, from 
Mohurbhunj to Palamow, we wander along the 
river banks, and we are content. We go to the 


hat (markets) only for tobacco and salt and to sell 
our skins." 

On being asked, one or two of the men readily 
showed us how they hunted monkeys. If the 
animals could be got into a broken portion 
of forest, they could be readily captured, as 
they could be driven from one side into the 
open ground, where the nets were set. Monkeys 
always ran away from their pursuers, and never 
tried to break back. If the forest was con- 
tinuous there was no use hunting them, as they 
escaped from tree to tree. If the Behurs hunted 
them from the ground they might escape in the 
branches over their heads, but a certain number 
of their men were always sent up into the trees, 
which they climbed almost as expertly as the 
monkeys themselves. The nets are about four 
feet wide, and of various lengths, and not much 
stronger than the ordinary fishing-nets. From the 
intestines of the monkeys they also make a fine 
gut, which they manufacture into nooses for snaring 
pea-fowl, jungle-fowl, partridge, etc. 

Their method of catching jungle-fowl is very 
ingenious. Several tame cocks form part of their 
stock-in-trade. The early morning is the time 
chosen for the snaring. A tame cock is fastened 
by a string attached to its leg to a peg driven 
in the ground, in the part of the forest selected. 
Round this is described a complete circle, ten 
or twelve yards in diameter, the circumference 
being represented by a thin cord about a foot 
from the ground, and securely fastened to pegs 


driven in at intervals. From this cord are hung 
a number of nooses of monkey gut, so as to enclose 
the decoy cock in the centre with a circle of snares. 
The Behur now conceals himself in some brush- 
wood near at hand. The tame cock begins to crow, 
and very soon an answering challenge is heard 
from some of the jungle cocks. The decoy continues 
his note of defiance, and presently a jungle-cock is 
seen in the branches overhead ready to do battle 
with this intruder on his own peculiar domains. 
Down he flies towards his opponent, who with 
ruffled feathers is ready to meet him, and just 
as they are about to begin battle, the man appears 
on the scene. This at once frightens off the jungle- 
cock, which, instead of taking to flight, bends its 
head low and runs off, and, meeting with the 
nooses, is almost certain to be caught by the 
neck or legs. The man quickly bags it, re- 
adjusts his snares, and goes back to his place of 
concealment, and the challenge and crowing go on 
again till all the cocks in the neighbourhood are 
secured. Four or five birds, sometimes, are 
secured in this way in the course of a morning. 



A TIGER having killed a cow at noon, within a 
couple of hundred yards of my bungalow, the 
occurrence was promptly reported to me. As I 
was suffering from fever at the time, I did 
not care to sit up at night over the kill, so 
I told the village baghmaree (tiger-killer) to set 
his poisoned arrows. A slight obstruction of 
branches was made on two sides of the carcase 
of the cow, the other two sides being left free, 
so that the tiger might approach to feed. Two 
bows, each provided with two poisoned arrows, 
were set to command these paths. On going to 
the spot next morning we found that the tiger had 
been there during the night, and had stumbled over 
the cord attached to the trigger of one of the bows, 
and that two of the arrows had evidently lodged 
in its body, as they were not to be found on 
the spot. Apparently when struck the beast 
must have sprung forward, and to one side, 
right on to the other bow, as that had been 
set off also, the arrows being found a little 
distance away. The marks of the tiger's pugs 
and a little hair and blood were strewed about 
the trap. The natives declared it was sure to 



be dead in the forest, and they set out in search 
of it. They came to my bungalow after an hour's 
time, and said they had found the tiger in a 
water-course about six hundred yards off, and that 
it was not dead, but had charged them. I advised 
them to leave it alone, as a wounded tiger was a 
very dangerous customer, and I added that they 
would probably find it dead in the evening, by 
which time the poisoned arrows would have taken 

They came back at four in the afternoon, and 
told me the tiger was still in the same place, 
and that it appeared to be very weak, and they 
asked me to come and shoot it. I did not like 
to refuse this request as it would appear to the 
men that I was afraid to go where they had 
already been. I knew the extreme danger of 
following up a wounded tiger, yet I could see the 
natives did not appreciate its full extent, and any 
further delay on my part would have been put 
down to fear. In dealing with wild races it is 
very necessary that you should show them that 
you are at least as courageous as themselves ; 
if not, they soon lose all respect for you. I 
told them therefore that I did not care to risk 
their lives, as they were only armed with battle- 
axes, but if they promised to remain at my bunga- 
low, I would go, with one of their number to show 
me the way, and try to shoot the tiger. At first they 
demurred to letting the sahib go alone where there 
was danger, but finding I was firm, they squatted 
down near my bungalow, while one man accom- 


panied me. The brute, I found, was last seen in 
some thick brushwood in the forest, about six 
hundred yards from my camp. I had with me a 
double twelve-bore gun and four cartridges. We 
cautiously approached within twenty yards of 
the spot where the animal was said to be 
lying, and sheltering myself behind a large tree, 
I got my guide to throw stones from behind 
me into the dense jungle in front. A dozen 
stones or more had been thrown at the spot 
where he was last seen and on each side of it, and 
I was just about to step out from my place of 
shelter, when I heard a voice behind me exclaim : 
" Throw the stone further ; the tiger is beyond the 
mohua tree." Turning round I saw the whole group 
of villagers assembled some forty yards off watch- 
ing me. On remonstrating with them for breaking 
their word and following me, they remarked, 
" There is no danger where the sahib is ; the 
tiger might have found us alone at the bungalow, 
and then what should we have done ? " As there 
was thus no help for it, I allowed them to ac- 
company me. They appeared to know no fear, and 
several times tried to go on in advance of me, but 
I would not permit them. We carefully searched 
about, and saw a few drops of blood in places, but 
no signs of the tiger. As it was now getting dusk 
I persuaded the men to give up the search, and pro- 
mised to go out with them the following morning. 
That night I had a sharp attack of fever, and was 
up all night. Towards midnight I heard the hideous 
cry of the "Pheeall," an animal of the jackal kind, 



which is said to accompany tigers and leopards 
in their nightly prowls, and to make its supper off 
their leavings. This night it seemed to me that the 
"PheeallV cry ended off with a plaintive yell, and 
it kept up this cry for more than an hour, just round 
the spot where the tiger was said to be lying. My 
chuprassee said this was a sure sign that the tiger 
was dead, as the " Pheeall" was bemoaning the loss 
of its supper-finder. 

Feeling sure the tiger was dead, I next morning 
told my jemadar (headman) to accompany the 
men in their search, and gave him my gun 
with a couple of rounds of ball cartridge, 
just to lend confidence to the party. The 
searchers were barely gone half-an-hour when 
I heard two reports in rapid succession. Fearing 
some accident, I hastily placed four ball cartridges 
in my pocket, and ran to the spot where we had 
searched the previous evening. There I found 
about a dozen men up in the trees, and my 
jemadar and two villagers coolly searching in 
the jungle. On inquiry, my jemadar told me 
the tiger was still alive, and had apparently been 
sleeping all night under some bushes a few paces 
behind the tree that had sheltered me the previous 
day ; so that while we had been looking for it in front, 
it was all the time watching us from behind. The 
wonder is that it did not rush out and attack us ! 
There was its form distinct enough, on the 
ground, and a little dried blood from the arrow 
wound. The natives said the tiger was weak from 
the effect of the poison of the arrows. These arrows 


had been dipped in dakara (aconite) some months 
previously, and the poison was not strong enough 
to kill the tiger. My jemadar had seen the tiger from 
some ten or twelve paces off, and had fired, but the 
first shot missed. The tiger was then bolting, and 
he fired a second time, and hit it (we found after- 
wards that this shot struck it in the stomach near 
the arrow wound). He pointed to fresh drops of 
blood on the grass, and said he was following 
these up to find the spot where the tiger had 
taken shelter, and then he meant to come and 
tell me. He held the empty gun in his hand, and 
two other natives had battle-axes with them ; yet 
here they were following up the trail of a wounded 
tiger ! These people really seemed to know no 
fear. Owing partly to the fever, I myself was a 
little excited, and taking possession of the gun, and 
carefully loading and full-cocking it, I directed 
the men to get behind me while I took up the 
search myself. The blood marks were faint and 
the jungle very dense, so I had soon to allow the 
men to approach and track for me. The whole 
party was now at my heels assisting in the search. 
We had gone about two hundred yards or so, the 
underwood becoming denser every step, and the 
men had spread out a little, when suddenly, just in 
front of me, I heard " crunk ! crunk ! crunk ! " and 
there, only ten paces ahead, and directly facing me, 
was the tiger, with its mouth agape and emitting 
the peculiar rasping sound of this animal when irri- 
tated. I levelled my gun at its open mouth, and 
was just about to fire when it sank down behind 


the bushes out of sight. Keeping my piece still 
levelled at the spot, I directed the men to retire ; 
but there was no need for this, as all but two had 
vanished at the first sound of the tiger's note. The 
names of these two brave men ought to be recorded 
in print, and I give them here Lalloo the 
Tantee, and Purdan the Boomij. These two 
brave fellows stuck to me and one of them 
whispered : " Don't fire, sahib, till you see its head, 
for if you don't kill it with your shot it will 
kill all three of us." There we stood for a good 
five minutes peering about, but unable to catch 
a glimpse of it, so well had it concealed itself, 
although now and again it would emit a growl and 
the peculiar gurgling sound tigers make. I now 
directed Purdan to climb a tree close by and 
endeavour to see the tiger. This he did, and told 
me the tiger was still behind the bushes, watching 
me and lashing its tail. Peer as I would, I could 
not catch a glimpse of it, and knew it would be 
foolhardy to advance any nearer. There was a 
little open ground behind the tiger, and Purdan 
advised that I should make a detour and get a 
shot from behind, while he remained on the tree. 
This I proceeded to do, accompanied by Lalloo. 
The jemadar now put in an appearance, and I 
directed him to get on to a tree also. We had barely 
been gone five minutes when Purdan shouted that 
the tiger was making in our direction. There it 
was, true enough, some fifty yards off, slouching 
along, and stopping now and again to look in my 
direction. Directing Lalloo to get behind me I 


awaited its approach, hoping to get a fair shot at 
twenty paces distant. When still thirty paces off 
down it dropped again, and concealed itself. I 
was once or twice tempted to fire at what I thought 
was its head among the bushes, but wisely resisted 
the inclination. My jemadar now called to me that 
he could plainly see the tiger from his perch, and 
asked me to come round to his side. When I got 
there he said the tiger was still in the same place, 
but I could not see it. I endeavoured to climb the 
tree, but found my efforts unavailing. The jemadar 
said that if I would hand him the gun he was sure 
he could shoot the brute, as he could see its head 
plainly. I directed him to fire only one shot, and 
not on any account to fire the second unless the 
tiger charged. Handing him my gun, I sheltered 
myself behind the tree, my heart going pit-a-pat at 
a furious rate. The jemadar now said the tiger had 
turned and was approaching us ; should he fire ? 
"Yes, fire, but aim at his head."- Bang ! 
11 Ough ! " roared the tiger, and all was still again. 
I hastily took the gun and reloaded. We waited a 
little, and the jemadar said the tiger was dead, as it 
had turned on its back. After a little time we 
approached, and found the tiger stone dead, the 
jemadar's last shot having struck it fairly over the 
right eye. W T e took it home in triumph, and there 
carefully measured it. It was a tigress, eight feet 
three inches from nose to tip of tail, and three feet 
six inches high. 

The poisoned arrow had made a nasty wound in 
the stomach, the arrow-head being still within the 


wound. It must have been the potency of the 
poison which had induced the lethargic feeling 
in the tiger and prevented its charging ; other- 
wise that day might have had a very different 
ending ! 



THE finest shooting grounds I know of in India 
and I have been over the greater part of 
the country are in the Native State of Bonai, 
in Chota Nagpore. Before the opening of the 
Bengal-Nagpore Railway, few Europeans ever 
visited this out-of-the-way district, and even 
now not a dozen persons know of its exist- 
ence outside the pages of the Gazetteer. Fifteen 
hundred square miles of densely-wooded, well- 
watered hill and dale, never trodden by civilised 
man, and little troubled with cultivation of any 
kind, is just the ideal home for wild beasts in India. 
Within twenty-four hours by railway from Cal- 
cutta, the wonder is that it has not been more shot 
over. Here the lordly elephant, the shaggy bison, 
the sullen buffalo, the stately sambhur, tigers and 
their kind, deer of sorts, bears, immense crocodile, 
wild hogs, pea-fowl, and a dozen other game birds 
can be had galore. The Raja, a fine old sportsman 
himself, is only too ready to give permission to 
European gentlemen to shoot over his estate, and 
will, on occasion, join in the sport and bring with 
him a most unique armoury of offensive weapons. 
He will at such times be attended by match-lock 


men armed with bell-mouthed smooth-bores, having 
a barrel seven feet long, and a straight stock with a 
crutch-end to fit round the shoulder. It takes three 
men to fire off such a piece. A forked stick is first 
planted in the ground, and on this the barrel rests. 
One man places the crutch-end against his shoulder 
and aims, while a second plants himself immediately 
behind, back to back, as a buttress against the 
recoil. A third stands on one side and blows vigor- 
ously at the match, and the first brings it down into 
the pan by means of a rude kind of trigger. The 
animal is supposed to stand still while all these 
varied operations are going on ! Then there is a 
fizz-fizz-fizz bang ! And after the volumes of 
smoke have cleared away, the two men behind the 
barrel, who have been sent sprawling by the recoil, 
pick themselves up, carefully search for the gun, 
which will be lying somewhere about, and then set 
out to see the effects of the shot. If by chance an 
animal has been shot, great is the jubilation. The 
aimer at once takes rank among the Raja's follow- 
ing as a marksman. u If a janwar (wild animal) is 
shot by one of my men it seldom survives," said 
the Raja ; and I can well believe this, for two large 
handfuls of locally manufactured powder and several 
murderous-looking slugs form the usual charge of 
one of these match-locks. Since the opening of the 
railway the fine sal forests of the valley and the 
supposed mineral wealth of the State have been the 
means of increasing the Raja's armoury with speci- 
mens of most kinds of modern small arms. Re- 
volvers, rim and central fire ; smooth bores ; rifles . 


Colt's repeating rifles ; Paradox and other guns, with 
and without ammunition, are among the offerings 
of would-be concessionaires. But our Rajpoot Chief 
dislikes modern fire-arms, and in this view he is 
strongly supported by his following. " In modern 
times everything is getting miserly/' says this 
sturdy representative of the kingly class. " In my 
time everything was large ; men were large, the 
guns were large, the charges were large, and sport 
was sport. Now a puttass (cracker) goes ' pitt ' ; 
there is no noise, no smoke, even the man behind 
holding the gun is not thrown down ; is it likely, 
then, that the animal in front will be killed ? No, 
no ; give me my father's guns, and I am satisfied." 
Accordingly the well-meant presents of the gun- 
makers' best work are stored away with time- 
pieces and cuckoo clocks, tinsel robes of state, 
mirrors, and other frippery, only to be brought out 
on State occasions to parade before the Raja's few 
European visitors. An attempt was once made 
to utilise some of the ammunition, and on one 
occasion several central-fire revolver cartridges 
were rammed into a match-lock as slugs. When 
discharged the barrel burst, and the man blowing 
the match had his ear and the greater portion of his 
scalp taken off, since when even these " modern 
slugs " are viewed with suspicion. 

Bonai is a veritable sportsman's paradise. Are 
you fond of fishing ? The Brahmini river, which 
flows through the State from north to south, teems 
with fish of all kinds. Is it a tusker you want ? 
With the Raja's permission you can shoot over the 


elephant reserves of Jorda and Champa, and take 
your choice of the herds. Buffalo and bison are 
plentiful in the deep valleys, and deer everywhere. 
Quite recently a railway man in a fortnight's time 
bagged two bison, three buffalo, and several fine 
sambhur in this neighbourhood ; while a young 
gunner shot a tusker whose ivory sold for more 
than the cost of the trip several times over. 

Mountains over four thousand feet high make 
up the bulk of the State, and through this barrier 
the Brahmini has cut for itself a passage, making 
deep valleys on either side. Some idea of the 
depth of these valleys may be formed when it is 
stated that Bonai town, on the banks of the river, 
is only five hundred feet above sea-level, while only 
nine miles off you are on the top of a range four 
thousand six hundred feet above the sea ; so that 
it is quite possible to swelter in the heat of the valleys 
in March during the day, and get back at night to 
the bracing climate of four thousand feet in the 
clouds. In its passage through these hills a series 
of rapids and long reaches of still water occur, and 
with the hills coming right down to the banks and 
rising abruptly thence, in places forest clad, in places 
scarped faces of quartzite rocks, crag over crag in 
regular steps, the scenery is singularly beautiful and 
quite equal to that of the Rhine. Even the ruins 
of ancient chateau and tower, which make the Rhine 
valley so interesting, are here simulated by the 
quartzite rocks, which are jointed vertically and 
horizontally, so that they stand out as great towers 
and buttressed walls, very like the battlements of 


some ancient fortress. A run down the river from 
Champa, where it enters the mountains, to Durjung, 
where the valley begins to broaden out, is well 
worth doing in March and April, when the river 
is low, and the waters of a deep-blue. During the 
rains, or when the river is full, this cannot be done, 
owing to the rapids being too dangerous. The 
sturdy Jhora boatmen shoot the rapids fearlessly in 
their dug-outs during the dry months. 

One of the reaches of still water in this valley 
is known locally as Mugger Gagra (crocodile pool). 
This is a small lake about half-a-mile long, one 
hundred and fifty yards wide, and many fathoms 
deep. A low sand bar stretches along the left bank, 
and it is this bank that is a favourite breeding place 
for the gharial, or long-nosed crocodile. 

At the time of my visit dozens of these great 
saurians were basking in the sun on the sand bar on 
the left bank. They allowed us to approach within 
twenty yards without making any attempt to move. 
Our guides said they were females watching over 
their eggs, which were buried in the sand. We threw 
several stones at them from the bank above, but 
they merely snapped their jaws viciously and made 
a loud hissing sound. They were of a fine slate-blue 
colour on all the exposed parts, and a creamy white 
below. The long snout, terminating in a saucer- 
like enlargement, is the most curious part of this 
strange animal. The jaw, at its thinnest part, is not 
more than nine inches round, and the snout ter- 
minates in a ball about six inches in diameter. 
Two males shot during the day measured respec- 


lively nineteen feet four inches and eighteen feet 
six inches, the massive tail making up fully one- 
third of the bulk. 

When we had irritated the females (all small 
animals under twelve feet) for some time, they 
began to give off a strong musky odour. This, 
our Kol guides told us, was to call the bull croco- 
diles, and true enough, shortly afterwards we saw 
several of these monsters in the middle of the 
pool, with just the point of the snout and the 
dorsal ridge appearing above the surface, but 
from the height at which we stood we could see 
their great length in the clear water. Presently the 
water seemed quite alive with crocodiles, and two 
monsters showed themselves on the opposite bank. 
It was of no use shooting at the brutes in the 
water, as so little of them was to be seen above the 
surface ; so, sighting my Martini for one hundred 
and fifty yards, I aimed carefully behind the 
shoulder of one and fired. Ere the echoes from 
the neighbouring hills had ceased, the sand bank 
was quite clear of the great lizards, the unaccus- 
tomed sound of the explosion sending them tumul- 
tuously into the deep water. I could see that my 
shot had taken effect on the opposite bank, as there 
was a great splashing of water, and every minute 
or two a great brute would come to the surface 
and raise his jaws quite clear of the water and snap 
them viciously together. This occurred several 
times, and then he drew himself up on to a rock on 
the opposite bank and there snapped and snapped 
his teeth for fully five minutes, when he died. 


In the meantime a second large bull swam to the 
sand bar just below us, and with his body half out 
of the water kept watching us with his small fishy 
eyes. I and my friend fired together, and both 
our bullets took effect. He was into the water with 
a splash, and we saw no more of him till next day, 
when we found him lying dead on the sand bar. 
The creatures had now become more wary, and 
would not show themselves on land, although they 
kept swimming about in the pool not fifty yards 
off. We fired repeatedly at them in the water, but 
failed to drive them off, and the boatmen declared 
it would be dangerous to cross in the dug-out, as 
the animals would be certain to attack us if we 
entered the water. We had to walk back to camp 
at Durjung, three miles away, and come next day 
to recover our spoil. The brute first shot was a 
monster bull with a body larger round than a 
big buffalo's. He had one hundred and ninety- 
six teeth (large and small) in his jaws. According 
to the natives, these creatures have sixty-four teeth 
when young, and get four fresh teeth every year. 
If this assertion be true, then this brute must have 
been thirty-three years old, and since they are 
said to live often to a hundred years, what a row 
of teeth such a hoary monster would have ! 

The cork-like substance on the top of the round 
saucer nose was secured by the Kols as medicine. 
The fat also was carefully saved, and boiled down 
into oil, which finds a ready sale all over Bengal 
among native women as a sovereign remedy for 
sterility. It took a large amount of curing before 


the skins were fit to hang up. For the curing we 
used wheat, ground to a flour with all bran and 
husk, boiled with skimrned milk and made into a 
paste with other ingredients, in the following pro- 
portions : wheatmeal, 2 Ibs. ; alum, i Ib. ; wood- 
ashes, 2 Ibs. ; skimmed milk, 4 quarts ; water, 4 
quarts. This paste was rubbed in night and 
morning for a fortnight, when the skins became soft 
and free from smell. 



THERE is no wild animal that takes to captivity 
so kindly as the lordly elephant. An elephant 
farm is an unknown institution. It is even very 
generally doubted whether these huge animals 
breed in captivity ; but instances have been re- 
corded where domesticated females have had 
young, although the instances are so few that 
there appears to be reason for the accepted 
belief. As far back as recorded history, it can be 
shown that the elephant was the servant of man. 
Some of the earlier Egyptian inscriptions, going 
back to B.C. 3,000 years, exhibit the elephant as a 
beast of carriage, and, strangely enough, these 
early drawings all depict the Asiatic variety, 
although Africa produces the lordly pachyderm 
in enormous numbers. That the African elephant 
has been tamed we know, from the fact of his 
having been used in the triumphal processions of 
several of the Roman emperors and generals. Thus, 
though thousands and hundreds of thousands of 
these animals have done man service, yet their 
ranks have always been recruited by capture 
from the herds of wild elephants that roam the 
forests of tropical Asia and Africa. Now, if the 


difficulty of training these creatures were at all in 
proportion to their size, a domesticated elephant 
would be a rarity ; but the ease with which they 
can be broken into service, and the very great 
value of these services, account for their whole- 
sale slavery from time immemorial. Eliminate 
from a captured herd all elephants above forty 
years of age, and in a fortnight's time the others 
will be amenable to discipline, and in a month 
may be set to work. I have given, in a previous 
chapter, some account of the capture of a herd of 
thirty-seven wild elephants in the presence of the 
late Duke of Clarence, when he visited Mysore 
in 1889. Within six weeks of their capture, most 
of them were sufficiently broken in to permit of 
their being brought into Bangalore and sent by 
rail to Calicut on the Malabar coast, where these 
animals are much in demand to work the timber 

At the Bangalore Railway station a large crowd 
had assembled to witness the transference into 
trucks of these unwieldy monsters. It was ex- 
pected that the half-trained brutes would give 
some trouble before they could be got into the 
wagons intended to convey them to Calicut. 
About a dozen of them were tethered in a 
mango tope near the station, and when I saw 
them they did not show the least uneasiness at 
the crowds of human beings gathered around 
them. While watching a young tusker regaling 
himself on a bundle of sugar-cane, I suddenly felt 
something cold and clammy encircling my neck 


from behind. I sprang forward in alarm, and 
turning round was horrified to see, as I moment- 
arily thought, the expanded hood of a huge cobra 
elevated above a small enclosure near which I 
had been standing. Fortunately, however, there 
was no cobra ; and on closer inspection I saw a 
number of baby elephants within the enclosure, 
and one of these little creatures had put its trunk 
over and was feeling me round the neck, when 
I started forward in such alarm. There were five 
of these babies, all under a year old, and standing 
about the height of a donkey. All the mothers 
had been shot, as too old for work, so that the 
little ones, deprived of their natural nourishment, 
were fed on boiled rice and milk poured down 
their throats from hollow bamboo vessels. It 
was amusing to see the little things curl up their 
trunks and elevate their mouths, so that the pap 
might be poured in without losing a drop. Quite 
a bucketful is a square meal, and this they indulge 
in twice a day. The preparations at the station 
were now sufficiently advanced, and a great 
muckna (tuskless male elephant) was the first 
taken to the siding to be entrained. Specially 
strengthened horse-trucks, with the tops and 
partitions removed, had been got ready by the 
Railway authorities for their transport. A strong 
gangway led from the platform into the truck, 
and the mahout (driver) was endeavouring to 
get the muckna over this and into the wagon, 
but without success. Nothing would induce him 
to go further than the entrance of the gangway. 



No amount of coaxing, no amount of goading, could 
get him to advance a single step. More than an 
hour had been wasted in these vain endeavours, and 
then someone suggested that a hawser should be 
fitted round him, and that he should be dragged 
bodily into the truck. The hawser was adjusted, 
and fifty coolies started pulling. Step by step 
he was dragged half-way across the gangway. A 
shout of triumph went up from the spectators. 
Alas for their hopes ! That very shout dashed 
them to the ground. Apparently alarmed at the 
noise, the elephant backed suddenly, and sent all 
the coolies sprawling on their faces. A windlass 
was next tried, but had to be given up, as the 
brute, finding his strength of no avail against the 
machine, turned himself sideways and jammed his 
body against the entrance of the gangway, so 
that he could not be pulled further without up- 
setting both gangway and truck. 

The whole morning had now been wasted, and 
not a single animal had been got into the trucks 
provided for them. Many of the spectators had 
gone away disappointed. Mr. Sanderson, the famous 
hathee (elephant) king, who was in charge of the 
operations, was in despair, when a drunken 
mahout came forward and offered to get the ele- 
phants aboard if he were given a bottle of arrack 
(country spirit) as a present. Although doubting 
the man's ability to do what he undertook, the 
arrack was readily promised, and the mahout set 
to work at once. He directed two tame elephants 
to be brought up, and placed one on each side of 


the muckna. All three were then led up to the 
entrance of the gangway, the muckna in the centre, 
facing the entrance. A huge commissariat tusker 
now took up a position behind him, and at a 
word from its mahout, gave the muckna a prod 
in the stern with its tusks, and pushed him 
bodily forward. A scream of rage and fear burst 
from the recalcitrant beast, and he endeavoured 
to turn round, but found himself hemmed in by the 
mountains of flesh on either side of him. Another 
word from the mahout, and another prod from the 
tusker sent him half-way across the gangway. A 
third push, and he was safely landed within the 
truck, the tusker keeping guard at the entrance 
while the muckna was being hobbled and the door 
of the truck made secure. A shout of approval 
went up from the spectators, and many rupees 
and half-rupees fell to the drunken mahout for 
his clever, yet simple and effectual, method of 
overcoming recalcitrant elephants. By adopting 
the same means, in a very little time the whole 
batch were safely within the train and on their 
way to their destination. 



NATURALISTS recognize but one species of wild- 
dog (Cuon rutilans) in India, but there can 
be no doubt there is a very great dissimilarity 
between the varieties noticed in different parts of 
the Peninsula. The dhole, or red dog, is found in 
the uplands and hill-tracts. In size not much 
larger than the common jackal, it is of an 
orange-red colour shading off to yellow under the 
stomach. It is of very slender build, and is shaped 
like a hound. It hunts by the scent, and is very 
courageous and tenacious of purpose. When once 
on the scent, it will follow up its quarry with the 
utmost determination, pursuing it for days until, 
utterly wearied out, it falls an easy victim to 
the pack. 

A second variety of wild dog is found in the 
large stretches of forest at the foot of the various 
ranges of hills. It is more than double the size 
of the dhole, and of a lighter orange colour, 
flecked with grey along the back and tail. It is 
of a different build from the dhole, being more 
massive in the shoulder and loins. It is a 
splendid water dog, and will swim the largest 
rivers when in flood, and attack cattle in the 


water. This variety is very common in Assam, 
the Terai, and the Central Provinces. There is 
also a third, or intermediate, variety, from which 
the village or pariah dog is said to be descended. 

The dhole, or red dog, is the most dreaded by 
the natives, and many are the stories they tell of 
its ferocity and determination. They say it will 
even attack the tiger and drive it off from its kill. 
The dholes hunt in packs of from six to eight 
(members of one family parents and pups), but 
several packs have been known to combine to run 
down large game, such as a cow-bison with a very 
young calf, or an aged buffalo. I was once witness 
of an attack of the wild dog on a solitary wild 
buffalo of the largest size, and from what I then 
saw I can well believe many of the native stories 
of the courage and determination of these creatures. 

We were encamped in an open glade in the great 
elephant forest of Jorda, about fifteen miles west 
of the town of Bonai, in Chota Nagpore. It 
was early morning, and the table for chota 
hazri (early breakfast) was laid outside the 
tent, when, while partaking of tea, we heard 
an occasional " yap ! yap ! ' in the forest some 
distance away. On inquiry the native trackers 
told us that the sound proceeded from wild dogs 
on the trail, and that they were following up game 
of some kind, most probably a sambhur. The 
noise approached nearer and nearer, until now 
there was a great rustling in the forest and a magni- 
ficent bull-buffalo trotted leisurely into the glade. 
When he caught sight of the tents he stopped 


suddenly, and began pawing the ground, and threw 
up great tufts of grass and earth with side thrusts 
of his wide-spreading horns. There was an imme- 
diate scramble for guns, as we knew what that 
meant, and we hoped to be able to turn him with 
a well-directed shot before he wrecked our tents 
and furniture. We had not been a minute getting 
our guns, and had rushed out, momentarily 
expecting the buffalo to charge, when a strange 
sight presented itself. As if by magic, the bull 
was surrounded by a pack of fourteen dholes. 
They did not appear to be larger than half-grown 
setter puppies, and looked even smaller by the 
side of the great brute they had surrounded. How 
they were going to attack this enormous creature, 
or what chance they could have against its for- 
midable horns and giant strength, we were curious 
to know, and watched the scene with great interest. 
The dogs took not the slightest notice of us, but 
kept circling round and round the buffalo and 
avoiding his charges with great skill. We soon 
noticed that all their feints of attack were directed 
to one side, so as to draw him into some low 
brushwood to the south of the glade. Our shika- 
rees said this manoeuvre to get their victim among 
the brushwood was for the purpose of blinding 
him ; the dogs would micturate on the bushes, and 
then, when he charged with lowered head, their 
acrid urine on the leaves would get into his 
eyes and cause great irritation, so that he would 
be partially blinded, and they could attack him 
without fear. Sure enough, in a little time the 


buffalo was lured among the brushwood, and 
then we actually saw the dogs urinating on 
the bushes all around him. Charge after charge 
the buffalo made, but he never seemed to get 
up to his agile foes, who bounded out of reach 
of the great swinging horns. The bull did not 
make the slightest attempt to run, but would 
charge here, and then there, at his ever retreating, 
yet ever present, foes. The ground was scored up 
in every direction by the furious lunges of the 
great brute. Bushes were torn up by the roots, 
and sent flying in the air ; yet not a casualty 
had occurred among his wily foes. We soon saw 
that there was some truth in what the shikarees 
had told us of the strange method the wild dog 
has of crippling its victim. I had often heard of 
this habit in the dhole, but had never credited 
it ; yet here was the buffalo rubbing his eyes 
violently against his knees, springing into the air, 
and tossing about in a fury of agony. There 
could be no doubt that his eyes were affected, 
as he now began to charge blindly, and stumbled 
and fell repeatedly. We now approached nearer, 
as there was no danger from the buffalo, who 
seemed intent only on his canine foes, who had 
redoubled their activity, and no longer feinted, but 
made actual attacks on their huge opponent now 
that they saw he was blinded. We noticed, too, 
that all their assaults were delivered in the same 
spot, viz., under the stomach of the buffalo, and 
that the scrotum was entirely torn away, and the 
poor brute bleeding to death. This is the favourite 


method of attack with wild dogs when attacking 
buffalo, bison, domestic oxen, and deer of all kinds. 
Indeed, in no other way would they be able to 
overcome these thick-skinned animals, as the tiny 
jaw of the wild dog would not be able to inflict 
fatal wounds in any other part. 

Very soon the buffalo became exhausted from 
loss of blood, and sat down on his haunches. The 
dogs now became more audacious, and one actually 
pinned the buffalo by the nose. In a moment, 
with one stroke of its great hoof, the dog was 
struck dead, and the buffalo sprang to its feet, 
and kept stamping the body of the dhole to a pulp. 
Now it went on its knees, and kneaded the mass 
into the ground ; and although the other dogs 
were tearing at its vitals, it took not the slightest 
notice, but seemed bent on wreaking its vengeance 
on the one which had fallen into its power. We 
thought it now time to interfere. A shot in the 
shoulder sent the bull forward a dozen paces in 
a wild charge ; a second shot in the neck, and 
he fell dead. The dogs took to flight at the first 
shot, but seemed inclined to return when they 
saw the bull drop. A couple of charges of SS., 
and two of their number bit the dust, and the 
remainder scampered off. 

It was singular that during all this fight, which 
lasted more than half an hour, the dogs had 
not given tongue in the least. Neither bark 
nor growl had escaped them. The buffalo fre- 
quently roared with rage. There is no other term 
for the cry of an infuriated buffalo. It is 


certainly not a bellow, nor is it a grunt, but 
is very like the roar of a tiger when charging. 
We now had time to examine the buffalo. It was 
a magnificent beast, in its prime. The spread 
of the horns was enormous, quite twelve feet 
from tip to tip, measured round the curve. The 
dholes had torn the poor creature's genitals com- 
pletely out ; both scrotum and testes were gone, 
so that death would have occurred in a little time 
if we had not shot it. I don't know whether any 
other writer on shikar has noticed this peculiar 
method of attack by wild dogs. I have seen it 
stated that they generally make for the eye and 
seize their prey there. Some say that they make 
for the heels, and hamstring their quarry ; but I 
have invariably noticed in deer, buffalo, and bison 
that have been run down by wild dogs that the 
genitals have been the place of attack. Only 
three weeks ago, a young sambhur was run down 
by a pair of wild dogs near my camp. The poor 
brute ran in among the coolies, who drove off 
the dogs and secured the sambhur, but it had 
to be killed, as the genitals were almost torn out 
and it would have died in a short time. 

A friend of mine, a coffee planter in the Wynaad, 
once had a pair of dhole puppies brought him by 
the coolies. Although only just able to run about, 
the foxy smell from them was so intolerable that 
no amount of washing would remove it, and they 
had to be sent away from the bungalow and 
lodged in the hen-house. My friend succeeded 
in rearing the slut, and from her he got a litter 


of puppies from a cross with a half-bred Poligar. 
When she was big with pup, she disappeared for 
some time, and it was thought that a leopard had 
carried her off. Some of the servants declared, 
however, that they saw her about at night. 
In a little time the fowls began to disappear 
mysteriously. Nearly every morning a good fat 
hen would be missing. The servants were set 
on the watch, and Junglee, as the bitch was 
called, was soon seen in the act of seizing a 
hen and running off in the direction of a 
large stack of timber. A careful search was 
made, and a burrow ten feet in length, driven 
clean under the timber, was discovered. The 
timber was removed and the burrow dug out, and 
six pups about three weeks old were discovered 
among a heap of feathers. Junglee had to be 
chained up, as she several times made attempts 
to carry off and conceal her pups. I secured one 
of the pups ; he turned out a large and powerful 
dog, double the size of his mother, but with all her 
keen powers of scent and alertness of movement, 
and with the shoulders and weight of his Poligar 
father. He was one of the best sporting dogs I 
ever had, and was an invaluable companion in 
the jungle. He always gave notice of game long 
before it could be seen, by a peculiar low whine, 
which could not be heard more than a few yards off, 
and by the erection of the hair along his back. His 
only failing was want of voice, as he would never 
give tongue when following a scent, or even when 
he brought the game to bay ; but this was soon 


remedied by giving him a pariah dog as a com- 
panion. This was a most cowardly brute that 
would not approach within twenty yards of any 
animal brought to bay by Tiger (the half-breed 
dhole), but he barked most vociferously, and thus 
gave notice of the whereabouts of Tiger and game. 
Tiger would attack anything under the sun, if 
ordered to do so a snake or an elephant, it was 
all the same ; he knew no fear. He was only 
wounded on one occasion, and then by a mongoose. 
He, too, always directed his attacks on the same 
place as did the dholes, and, like them, he was 
without voice, beyond an occasional whine. 

In a former chapter I gave an account of the re- 
markable powers of swimming of the larger grey 
variety of wild dog. On that occasion, the reader 
will remember, a couple of these creatures breasted 
the Koel river when in flood, and kept ahead of a 
dug-out paddled by two powerful boatmen. What 
was more astonishing still, they did this even down 
stream, and kept up the pace for over a mile, diving 
on several occasions to avoid my shots. The tails 
of this variety are extremely long, with a large 
tuft of strong hair at the end. This they use as 
a kind of propeller when swimming. It also 
enables them to turn readily in the water, and is 
of material use when diving. I don't know 
whether this kind of dhole hunt by scent or 
merely course like the greyhound. That they 
have means of communicating with each other, 
and can concert a regular plan of attack, is 
evident from the following incident. 


We had just ascended some rising ground over- 
looking a stretch of scrub jungle extending as far 
as the left bank of the Koel, when our attention 
was drawn to a pack of four wild dogs squatted 
on their haunches, close together, and evidently 
watching something in the scrub towards the river. 
Their backs were towards us, so we had time to 
conceal ourselves and watch their further move- 
ments. Now and again one of the group would 
leave its companions, make a short reconnoitre, 
and return with information which it evidently 
imparted to its fellows. In a little time two of 
the dogs set off, one in a direction down stream, 
and the other up ; the other two separated a few 
hundred yards, but without advancing towards the 
game they had evidently spotted. About ten 
minutes after the dogs had gone up and down 
stream, one of those that had remained behind 
rushed forward into the scrub and roused a fine 
stag sambhur (C. Aristotelis) that must have been 
lying up in a dense cover of scrub. The stag at 
once made off down stream, the dog pursuing 
for a hundred yards or so and then returning to 
the place whence it started. For a little time 
the sambhur had disappeared from view, and we 
were about to resume our journey, when we saw 
him in the distance making back with a wild dog 
in hot pursuit. Now the sambhur headed up 
stream, the dog following a few hundred yards and 
then lying close. We began to understand the 
tactics of the dogs, but still did not take in all 
the details, so waited to see the denouement. The 


stag must have made up stream until he was 
turned by the dog we saw go off in that direction, 
as we now saw him returning with the dog close 
at his heels. The chase was not long continued, 
as this dog also stopped short and concealed itself, 
while the now thoroughly alarmed deer continued 
its headlong flight till within a hundred yards 
of the spot where the dog down stream had con- 
cealed itself , when it sprang into view and caused the 
stag to swerve away to the left, until again turned 
by one of the dogs concealed in that direction. The 
now thoroughly bewildered brute began running 
round and round in a gradually narrowing compass, 
as at each point he was met and turned by one 
of his adversaries, who advanced a little way and 
then stopped. The stag made repeated and in- 
effectual attempts to break away up and down 
stream and to the left, but on every occasion it 
was headed by the dogs concealed in those direc- 
tions and driven back. We thought it was the 
plan of the dogs to thoroughly tire the sambhur 
out, and then fall upon him ; yet, this could 
scarcely be their object, as the direction of the 
river was left quite open, and to this point the 
hunt was evidently making. Closer and closer 
drew the cordon of ever-watchful dogs, husbanding 
their strength for the finale, which now could not 
be far off, as the river was in view and the gradually 
lessening space allowed the affrighted deer was 
now not more than an acre or two. We hurried 
up to be in at the death, when we saw the stag 
make a bound and disappear into the river, all 


four dogs in close pursuit. When we got to the 
banks we saw the sambhur in deep water with a 
dog hanging on to each ear, and two hanging on to 
his tail. We soon made out that the object of the 
dogs was to keep the brute in deep water, for they 
pulled with all their strength whenever he attempted 
to swim in the direction of a sand-bank in the 
river, as they probably knew that if he got into 
shallow water he would be more than a match for 
them, since he would be able to use his feet and 
antlers when the water would still be too deep 
for them to escape his attack. Now and again one 
of the dogs at his tail would dive down and attack 
his groin, when the sambhur would throw up his 
haunches to avoid his antagonist ; the dogs at 
the ears would seize this moment to drag his head 
under water and keep it there till he was nearly 
suffocated. The dogs were in much better wind, 
as they had done little or no chasing, while the 
stag was nearly done with the long coursing he 
had undergone from point to point. After three 
or four unsuccessful attempts to drown the poor 
brute, his efforts to shake off his foes becoming 
weaker and weaker, he was at length overcome 
and kept under so long that when the dogs re- 
appeared at the surface and actually towed him 
by the ears till near the sand-bank, he made no 
movement and we knew he was dead. They now 
took him by the tail and drew the body partly 
out of the water and began feasting on his groin, 
which we saw was dreadfully lacerated by their 
attacks when in the water. My men were now 


for interfering, but I would not permit them, as 
I thought the dogs deserved their meal for their 
very clever scheme for capturing a brute so much 
larger and stronger than themselves. It was not 
until the dogs had had a surfeit that I allowed 
such of my servants as chose to take any of the 



PERHAPS one of the strangest methods of hunting 
tigers is by capturing them in nets, and when 
so entangled, spearing them to death. That this 
method of capture dates from very early times 
we have evidence in the fable of the Lion and 
the Mouse, which is undoubtedly of Indian origin, 
being founded on the beast fables of the Pancha 
Tantra, one of the oldest Sanskrit books. 

It is hard to conceive so large and ferocious 
an animal as a tiger, with his strong teeth and 
sharp claws, imprisoned in so frail a contrivance 
as a mesh of fine cords. One would think that 
with a single bound he would break and be through 
them ; or that with his sharp teeth he would 
quickly sever the thin cords to shreds. But it 
is just this inability to bound, with the entangling 
skeins of the net clogging all his limbs, and the 
uselessness of biting through a single mesh when 
the very effort brings fifty other meshes round 
his ears, that makes him fall an easy victim to 
the treacherous net, and keeps him a fast prisoner 
till the arrival of his human foes, who make short 
work of him with their spears, since he is unable 
to offer the least show of fight, so hampered is he 


with the folds of the light yet strong fabric of 
the nets. This method of destroying the dread 
monster may sound unsportsmanlike to English 
ears ; but the Indian does not hunt for sport. 
With him the destruction of animals that prey 
on his flocks and herds is a stern necessity, and 
any means of getting rid of such creatures is 

I know of only one part of India where tigers 
are still captured in nets. In the Wynaad, a part 
of the Malabar district on the west coast of South 
India, the natives employ this method of entrapping 
and killing tigers, which are very numerous and 
destructive on the forest-clad hills and valleys 
that make up the bulk of this region. In the 
uplands abutting on the coastal reaches are long, 
low, marshy valleys, where much rice is grown by 
a race of people called Chetties. These are the 
landlords of the soil, and each Chetty owns a number 
of Punniar slaves (a dark squat race of the negroid 
type), who do most of the hard work and who are 
bought and sold with the land, as a kind of fixture, 
the number of such slaves materially increasing 
the value of the paddy flat. The Chetties are, in 
fact, a fine race of men, tall and fair, with clean- 
cut features of the Aryan type. They are extremely 
hospitable, open, and free in their manners, dearly 
loving a lotah of palm-wine (toddy), which they 
tap from the talipot palms that are usually found 
near their dwellings, and not unwilling to share 
it with the planter Sahibs whose coffee estates dot 
the hill-sides for miles round- 



I was camped near a paddy flat some seven 
miles from Gudaloor on the Sultan's Battery 
Road in South East Wynaad, when, early 
one morning in March, a fine old Chetty called 
at my tent and wished to know whether the dor ay 
(gentleman) would like to see a tiger which was 
caught in the nets the previous night. Of course 
the doray was only too willing to witness so 
novel a sight, so off we set, I taking the pre- 
caution to carry with me a gun in case of 

The nets are about twelve feet wide and thirty 
yards long, with four-inch meshes. They are made 
of quarter-inch cord of green cocoanut fibre, 
which is immensely strong. A stronger cord passes 
through the top and bottom of the length of the 
net. There are two methods of using these nets. 
When a tiger has killed a cow or bullock, his lair 
for the time, which is generally near to his kill, 
is marked down and is surrounded by beaters 
from all the neighbouring villages. One path alone 
is left open, and across this the nets are stretched. 
The lower rope of the net, which runs along the 
ground, is fastened to pegs on either side of the 
path. The top rope is loosely supported on bamboo 
uprights, at intervals of a few yards, which spread 
out the net and make a fragile and scarcely per- 
ceptible barrier across the unguarded space. The 
uprights are so lightly fitted that the slightest 
pressure on the net knocks them away and the 
whole net comes to the ground, covering the creature 
that attempts to force its way through. When 


all is ready a frightful din begins ; all the beaters 
shouting and screaming at the top of their voices 
and clashing every noise-making utensil they can 
get hold of. The tiger roused from his sleep after 
a full meal, hears the noise approaching him from 
all sides but one. He makes in that direction, 
and scarcely notices the thin netting barring his 
way. He presses against the meshes and down the 
uprights go, the net falling on him and enclosing 
him in its folds. On feeling the net over him 
he makes a few frantic bounds, which only serve 
to pull out the pegs to which the lower rope is 
fastened, and bring the ends together so as to 
completely envelop him. If left to himself he 
might probably be able to bite through the meshes 
in time and free himself, but the spearsmen, who 
have been concealed in the branches of the neigh- 
bouring trees, are quickly on the spot and dis- 
patch him with thrusts of their long-handled 

Kills are not of every-day occurrence, and are 
rather expensive items to the unfortunate owner 
of the beast, so that this kind of beat into the 
nets is uncommon. The more usual practice is to 
set the nets across some known track of the tiger, 
either to the spot where he drinks water or where 
he prowls round the cattle pen. In this case the 
nets are placed three deep with intervals of a yard. 
His struggles when he brings the first net down 
on himself, bring him within the toils of the second, 
and perhaps of the third, so that he is a fast prisoner 
till the men arrive next morning and dispatch him. 


This was the position of the tiger on the morning 
the Chetty came for me. When we arrived at the 
village, every soul was afoot, and our appearance 
was the signal for a vigorous beating of tomtoms, 
to which the spearsmen of the village did a kind 
of war-dance, circling round and round the pole, 
in the centre of the threshing-floor, to which the 
cattle are attached when treading out the corn. 
The spears were most murderous-looking weapons, 
with blades a foot long and bamboo handles 
twelve feet in length. The Punniars were not 
allowed to use the spear ; only Chetties were so 
armed. The spear handles were marked with 
stripes of turmeric, in honour of the occasion. 
We now moved off to the scene of the capture, 
which was near to the cattle pens. The drummers, 
who were Punniars, beat vigorously on a long, 
barrel-shaped drum, each head of which was 
strung to give a different note, and as this 
pitch could be varied by pressure of the hands 
on the drum-head, a sort of rhythmic measure 
was kept up, to which the spearsmen danced 
in their onward march. The women were not 
allowed to follow the procession. On arrival at 
the scene, the spectators formed a wide circle 
around what appeared to me a mass of cordage 
inextricably entangled. The spearsmen lined the 
inner front of the circle and kept back the crowd, 
who were armed with axes, reaping-hooks, stout 
sticks, rice-beaters, etc. I was told I could enter 
the circle and examine the tiger, as there was no 
danger. On our approach there was a subdued 


growl, with a convulsive movement of the cordage, 
as the only signs that the tiger was within the 
network of ropes. Probably the brute had quite 
exhausted himself in his previous efforts to shake 
off the nets. Successive prods with the blunt end 
of the spear failed to elicit more than a savage 
growl. I suggested that they should throw a pail 
of water over the brute, as the cold douche might 
rouse him, but to this the Chetties objected. " It 
was not the custom/' they said, and they are 
great sticklers for custom. 

We were now told to stand back, as the Slaying 
Ceremonies were about to begin. The drums re- 
newed their thumping, when the chief Chetty 
stepped into the ring with spear in hand and began 
a kind of step dance. With legs outspread he 
made a complete circuit of the enclosure, measuring 
off the distance as one would with a drawing 
compass. Now commenced a series of hops on 
one foot and feints and lunges with the spear. 
Soon he was joined by a second and a third, and so 
on to a sixth spearsman, all of whom did exactly 
like their leader. Now they divided into two parties 
on opposite sides of the circle and cut the same 
antics. Rushes were made with levelled spears 
at the inert body in the centre, but these were 
only feints to rouse the tiger. Then all was silent 
and the leader of the Chetties began apostrophizing 
the tiger, and wished to know if that was the 
na-andamaganay (son of a dog) that frightened 
the old women and ran off with their cattle. 
" Yes ! yes ! " shouted the multitude, " that is 


he ! ' "Is that the thief who would not show 
his face to the daylight, so that the sons of 
Ram might know him ? " " Yes ! yes ! " shouted 
the mob again. " Is this the lord of the 
forest, the mighty one at whom even the 
elephant trembles ? " " No ! no ! this is a dog 
and a son of a dog ! " This abuse is kept up 
for some time, and then the leader says : " Ye 
mighty ones of Pursuram, show what you do 
with stealers of cattle, frighteners of old women, 
and prowlers of the night." There is silence for 
a moment. The six spearsmen range themselves, 
three on each side, with spears levelled at the object 
in the centre. Suddenly there is a loud thump of 
the drums, and a shout from the multitude, as 
the six spearsmen rush forward and thrust their 
spears simultaneously into the body of the tiger. 
With a mighty effort the tiger brings his legs together 
and springs clean into the air, nets and all ; the 
upward bound sends the spearsmen sprawling, two 
of the spear handles snapping short off, while the 
others still stick in the body of the tiger like the 
quills of a porcupine. Now the mob rush forward 
and begin belabouring the body, till all signs of life 
are extinct. The spears are withdrawn, and boys 
over a certain age are marked across the chest 
with the blood of the tiger, as a sign of manhood. 
Then the nets are unloosened, and the body is 
carried in triumph to the village. 




'' How long have I been a mahout ? As long as I 
know of from a child I have been with elephants. 
My father, who is an old man, is still a mahout, and 
his father was before him. We are a family of 
mahouts for many generations back. My grand- 
father was mahout to one of the nobles of the 
Emperor of Delhi, and was present with his ele- 
phant at the battle of Punputh (Paniput). We are 
Rohillas by race, but have settled down in Behar 
these two generations. I am now in the service of 
th^ Sircar, but formerly I worked for the Raja of 
Durbhunga under whom my father is still employed. 
" Elephants are like women they cannot be 
trusted. When they appear most attached to you, 
then they meditate mischief. My uncle Oomer was 
killed by his elephant at Dacca. The fuss he made 
with that elephant ! Twice a day he rubbed it 
down with a brick and painted its ears with ver- 
milion and white. He spent half his wages on oil 
and gur and metay (sweet-stuff) for the wretch ; 
yet in an evil hour it killed him. Why or wherefore, 
no one knows. Certainly it was sorry afterwards, 


and wept yes, wept, Sahib ; we saw the tears in 
its eyes ; elephants cry. Ask any mahout ; he will 
tell you. It is true words I am telling you. When 
my aunt saw her husband's dead body, she took 
up her infant son and threw it before the elephant 
and cried, ' Oh, wretch ! you have taken the life 
of my life, now take that of my son also. You have 
eaten of our best and have had more attention than 
even I had from him whose life you have taken. 
Here is his son ; kill him, I say, kill him ! ' That 
elephant was ashamed and cried and fondled the 
little one, and none dared take him from the brute 
but my aunt. Then it was told to Sanderson Sahib 
and he made the baby mahout in my uncle's place, 
and my aunt had charge of the elephant till the boy 
grew. Whenever my aunt went to the bazaar or 
was engaged cooking or about her household duties, 
she would make over her baby to the elephant to 
look after, and it was strange to watch how that 
great animal would fondle it with its trunk and whisk 
the flies off it and pull it out of the sun ; and when 
he began to crawl it was fun to see the elephant 
take him by his leg and prevent him crawling away. 
None dared take the baby from the elephant but 
my aunt, and if the little one was not brought to it 
in the morning it would become restless and excited 
and would try to break its chain, and could only be 
appeased by the little fellow's presence. When 
my cousin grew old enough to run about and talk, 
the way he bullied that elephant was astonishing. 
He would get under its belly and prick it with 
thorns, he would pinch its trunk, he would remove 


sugar-cane from its mouth, but the great creature 
would only grunt its satisfaction. Sanderson Sahib 
would sit for hours and watch that elephant and 
boy at play ; and he took their pictures. How is it 
my aunt took charge of the elephant after it killed 
her husband ? That was his nusseeb (fate) ; who 
can help his fate ? The elephant fed her child and 
herself after my uncle's death, therefore why should 
she not look after him ? Yet still, for all, elephants 
are not to be trusted. I have lived my life with 
them, and I ought to know. 

'' No, Sahib, elephants are not clever ; it is only 
with the ankwas (goad) that we can make them 
understand. The elephant is as the mahout is. If 
the latter is sharp, the elephant will do almost 
anything. Even a well-trained elephant grows dull 
under a stupid mahout. Sanderson Sahib used to 
say, ' Give me a good mahout and indifferent ele- 
phant rather than a clever elephant and stupid 

" Yes, I have been to Assam and Burmah ; I 
have been in the Terai and in Mysore and Ceylon. 
I went to Mysore with Sanderson Sahib when the 
Padishaw (Duke of Clarence) came to India. We 
went to show them how to catch elephants. I was 
chief nooser, and the Lord Sahib spoke to me 
through the one-handed Sahib (Sir Charles Brad- 
ford). See, here is the certificate the one-armed 
Sahib gave me. We caught fifty elephants in the 
kheddah at Mysore when the Padishaw came. We 
took twelve koonkies (decoy elephants) with us 
from Dacca. Without koonkies elephants could 


not be secured when driven into the kheddah. 
There is no danger when on the koonkies' neck ; the 
only danger is when we are hobbling the wild 
elephant's feet. If we are not quick with the noose, 
the brute will swing out its hind foot, and should 
it hit you, death or broken bones are certain to 

" Where are the largest herds ? Herds always 
number about the same, twenty to thirty, seldom 
more. The members of a herd are all of one family. 
There may be several herds in one district, but they 
never mingle ; they always keep apart. If from any 
cause an elephant should become separated from 
its herd and try to join another, it won't be allowed 
to ; the members will turn it out hence the solitary 
elephants one sometimes sees. In the Garo Hills, 
in Assam, there are the most herds. In one season 
we caught four hundred and thirty elephants there. 
In Burmah also there are many herds. Sometimes 
two or three herds may be driven into a kheddah at 
one time, but these will always keep apart. 

" Do wild elephants dance ? Wagh ! Weigh ! 
What talk is this ? Are elephants nautch-girls, that 
they should dance ? Who has been lying to the 
Sahib ? The Assamese and Kachees are liars and 
sons of liars if they say so. Yes, there are ele- 
phant-circles or cleared spaces in the heart of the 
forest, where no man has been, but these are the 
elephant meeting-places when they meet to go to 
a far country. When the bamboo leaves become 
black with leaf disease the elephants all leave that 
country and go away for a year or two, and then 


come back. They do not go in single herds, but 
hundreds assemble at these meeting-places and talk 
and talk and then decide where they will go and 
how they will go. Yes, I have seen these meeting- 
places when out with Sanderson Sahib, but I have 
never witnessed a meeting. The Sahib must know 
that elephants are the most restless creatures in 
the world ; you can never get an elephant to stop 
perfectly quiet for five minutes. It will shift from 
leg to leg, fling its trunk about, flap its ears or shake 
its head. If not chained it will walk about, and 
never stand still in one place. When the elephants 
meet to take counsel when they shall leave the 
country, they cannot keep quiet but walk about in a 
circle hence the open spaces in the forests. Moving 
about from foot to foot may look like dancing to 
the wild men. Yes, that is how they must say that 
elephants dance. The Sahib is wise. Only old 
elephants go to the meeting-places the leaders of 
the herd, male or female. Why should not a female 
lead a herd ? Have you not got a Ranee ? I have 
seen herds led by a female, and such herds are always 
more difficult to capture, as we cannot send koonkies 
to decoy them. The koonkies are female elephants, 
and we always use them to decoy the tusker that 
leads the herd, and then the herd will follow him. 

" Have I seen an elephant-fight ? Yes, often. 
During the kheddah-works in Assam we had to 
watch the herd of wild elephants night and day for 
months, and gradually drive them towards the 
valley in which the kheddah was made, and thus one 
sees much of elephant life and learns their ways 


when in the wild state. In the uthee-khana (ele- 
phant stables) the elephants are under control and 
are mostly grown animals, so one learns little of 
their natural habits. Three or four seasons in the 
jungle at kheddah-work and you learn a deal. When 
a young bull becomes must for the first time it 
always fights, generally with some other young 
tusker. It is only when the leader becomes very 
old or enfeebled from disease that he has to fight to 
maintain his place as leader. Then it is a fight to 
the death, or the challenger has to leave the herd 
and becomes the dangerous brute known as a 
solitary bull. When one young tusker wishes to 
fight another he challenges him by kicking dust in 
his face with his forelegs. When the challenge is 
accepted the remainder of the herd clear off some 
distance, and go on feeding without taking the 
slightest notice. The fighters face each other about 
twenty paces apart. They grunt and trumpet out 
defiance. Then they back a few paces like fight- 
ing rams, and rush at each other with heads 
lowered and trunks coiled between the forelegs. 
The shock is great, and should either be thrown 
the other immediately proceeds to kick the prostrate 
one until he gets up and runs away. They seldom 
stand a second charge, unless it be a fight between 
the leader and some aspirant for his post. Then 
tusks are used and great wounds are inflicted, and 
the battle lasts hours. The greatest fight I have 
seen was between two tame ones. Sanderson Sahib 
has put it in his book, so you may have seen it. I 
was mahout to Motee Goocha, the great fighting 


tusker at Dacca. We were up at kheddah-work in 
the north when Luxa, a large tusker we had caught 
the previous season, went must and killed Pichee, 
his Mug mahout. Pichee was a bay coop (fool). He 
drank muddut (smoked opium). When Luxa was 
must, instead of giving it the opium served out by 
the jemadar for must-elephants, Pichee stole it and 
made muddut. In his drunken fits he beat Luxa 
with a bamboo when taking it to water. Luxa 
stamped on him and killed him, and ran off into 
the jungles. We give our elephants twelve seers of 
paddy every day. In the jungles Luxa got no 
paddy, so it went to the villages at night and smelled 
out the place where the villagers keep the paddy in 
baskets in a corner of their huts. It would quietly 
pull off the thatch, put its trunk down into the 
basket and suck up its trunk full of paddy and blow 
the paddy into its mouth. After emptying the 
basket, it would go to another hut and do the same. 
One night while stealing paddy, the man of the 
house got up, and thinking there was a thief there 
he stabbed the elephant in its trunk with his spear. 
The elephant ran off with a scream and was not 
seen again for a week. The next time it came it 
pulled down the house and killed a couple of vil- 
lagers, and when they all ran away it quietly took 
possession of the village and remained there till all 
the rice was eaten ; then it would go off and attack 
another village. 

" In this way it had killed many persons and looted 
several villages, when Sanderson Sahib determined 
to recapture it. Motee Goocha and two of the best 


koonkies were selected. The jemadar, All, and my- 
self were the mahouts, and I drove Motee Goocha, 
with Sanderson Sahib on the pad behind me. A 
strong cable noose (lassoo) was on the neck before 
me, and made fast at the other end to Motee 
Goocha's girth. We were to go five miles, to a 
village which Luxa had looted that night. When 
we got near the village some of the villagers who 
were hiding in the forest told us that Luxa was 
still at the village eating paddy. Sanderson Sahib 
told the jemadar to keep the koonkies some distance 
behind, and while we were fighting Luxa they were 
to get behind and try and surround it, so that it 
could not run away. We went along quietly, I 
encouraging Motee Goocha the while, but he wanted 
no encouraging ; he was only too ready for the fight. 
I could tell that by the feel of his jaws on my toes. 
With knees and feet, we mahouts can tell all the 
feelings of an elephant when we are seated behind 
its ears. Motee Goocha's were now worked con- 
vulsively, so I knew he scented a fight. The rogue 
watched us approach, but did not take any notice, 
as elephants see badly, and it did not perceive San- 
derson Sahib or myself, but probably mistook Motee 
Goocha for a wild one. When we got within fifty 
yards it scented us and began trumpeting and 
screaming and kicking the dust towards us. It 
advanced a few paces as if to frighten us ; and 
finding we still approached, it threw forward 
its ears, backed a few paces and then came on with 
a rush. ' Asthe, Bayta / Asthe / (easy, my son ! 
easy). Don't waste your breath on that son of 


a dog,' said I to Motee Goocha who was but 
too eager for the fray. When within ten paces 
Sanderson Sahib told me to shout to Luxa to stop 
and sit down, as runaway elephants frequently 
remember the words of command they have been 
accustomed to, and involuntarily obey. The sound 
of my voice seemed only to infuriate the rogue, for 
it only screamed the fiercer and continued to come 
on with head lowered and trunk coiled away. In 
these face-to-face charges elephants don't use their 
tusks until after the first shock is received on the 
thick frontal bone of the skull, otherwise the tusks 
would be broken clean off in the terrific force of two 
such enormous weights coming together with such 
speed. Forehead to forehead like two rams came 
they together, and both were thrown back on their 
haunches by the dreadful shock. Recovering them- 
selves they both backed several paces and looked 
at each other a moment, and then to it again, but 
this time not so fast as the first charge. Trunks 
were now entwined and each tried to lift the other's 
head, so as to get at the chest and deliver a fatal 
thrust with the tusks. Now they reared on their 
hind legs like two horses, and continued the struggle 
with their trunks. Sanderson Sahib was thrown 
off the pad at this time by the unexpected move- 
ment of Motee Goocha rising on his hind legs. 
Luxa was the taller beast, and when on his hinds 
Motee Goocha' s head was below that of the run- 
away, and he was able to get his opponent's neck 
between his tusks and with a dexterous twist he 
threw it on its side. In a moment my noose was 



over the fore-foot and I felt sure of the brute. 
Urging Motee Goocha close up, he kept Luxa down 
with his tusks while Sanderson Sahib shackled the 
hind legs of the rogue. The koonkies now came up, 
and Luxa thoroughly cowed was allowed to rise. 
With great difficulty a hawser was fastened round 
its neck and lashed to the koonkies, one on each 
side, so that it could not run away without dragging 
the koonkies with it. A prod or two from Motee 
Goocha' s tusk applied behind soon set it in motion, 
and thus we rode home in triumph. Luxa turned 
out a first-rate elephant after that, and did a lot of 
good work. Whenever it showed temper, the very 
sight of Motee Goocha reduced it to order. That 
was the grandest elephant fight I ever saw." 



SOME years ago we were at Sumpta, a part of the 
Sarunda State Forest, Chota Nagpore, seeing to 
the marking of sal trees to be cut down for 
sleepers which the Forest Department had under- 
taken to supply to the Oudh and Rohilkund Rail- 
way. The heat was intense, something like 114 
in the shade, so that even the physical training 
of a Cooper's Hill course, where physical fitness 
is a sine qua non, had to admit itself beaten and 
prefer a siesta in the shade to a ten-mile tramp 
over hill and dale even after the largest of solitary 
bison. Our coolies had come in with reports 
of a solitary bull here, a cow and a calf there, or 
a herd somewhere else, all within easy march ; but 
bison-shooting meant a day or two away from 
duty, and our Chief C - was a devil for work, 
and thought more of a sleeper or two brought to 
the railway station than bagging the biggest 
tusker in Singbhoom, or the record horns of a bull 

We were talking of school-days and of football 
matches, and arguing whether M. or S. was not 
the best half-back of his year and entitled to a 
place in any county fifteen, when my servant 

1 6* 


Karim interrupted our reminiscences of Cooper's 
Hill with " Sahib ! coolie loka boltha burr a samp 
hai pad may najeek (coolies say there is a large 
snake in the hill near)/' With all the ardour of 
schoolboys we sprang to our feet, forgetting the 
sweltering sun and our half-told tales of school- 
life, and set off at a run to scotch the snake. The 
old Hebrew writer was correct, I think, so far as 
Eve's descendants were concerned : "I will put 
enmity between thy seed and her seed." The 
horror and detestation of a snake is pretty general 
among human beings ; at least I can answer for 
myself. Taking my shot-gun with me, we hurried 
off with our informants, who stated that they had 
just seen a monster snake, as large and as thick as 
a sal tree, take refuge in a cave among some rocks 

on a neighbouring height. S g declared it must 

be an Ophiophagm elaps, or King-Cobra, of which 
a specimen had been seen in these parts. He 
declared he was acquainted with the forest of 
Singbhoom and there were no boas in the district. 
I was new to the country so could not offer an 
opinion either way, and was only half-inclined 
to go for our friend the King-Cobra after the 
dreadful accounts I had heard of the ferocity and 
deadliness of that monster snake. The natives 
however said it was not a nag (cobra), and after 
seeing the cave a mere hole about a foot or more 
wide I was more inclined to think it an iguana, 
common in these parts. But peering in at the en- 
trance, we could make out the great coils of an 
enormous snake round a projecting rock in the 


further part of the chamber, under the overhanging 
rocks. The coolies were posted with lathies and 
axes along the passage the snake was likely to 
take, while I endeavoured to dislodge him with a 
shot in the body ; no sign of his head could be 
seen. Telling the men to be careful of his rush 
should he be a King-Cobra, I fired into the cave 
and then bolted to one side. 

Not a stir or rustle to show that the shot had 
taken effect, neither did the reptile whatever it 
was charge out of the hole. When the smoke 
had cleared away we could still see the coils 
round the rock, and fancying the snake was dead 
we got a long stick with a crook at the end and 
endeavoured to haul it out ; but the united efforts 
of six of us could not move it an inch. Beyond 
an occasional hiss, the monster gave no other 
signs of life than a convulsive clinging to the rock 
round which it had thrown its folds. I now tried 
the effects of a second shot, aiming with great care 
at the body, as I was inclined to think my first 
shot had missed. There was no doubt that this 
shot had gone home, as the brute at once uncoiled 
and made for the entrance ; but the sight of so 
many foes ready to do battle, sent it back to its 
shelter again. A third shot, and this time the 
creature was fairly out of the hole and making down- 
hill at good speed, the coolies belabouring it with 
clubs. We now saw that it was a rock snake or boa, 
common to many parts of India, and non-poisonous. 
Finding itself hard pressed by its human foes, the 
creature turned round and again made for its hole, 


and, in spite of the merciless belabouring it got with 
great sticks, it had nearly reached its shelter when 

S g rushed forward and seizing it by the tail, 

which he placed over his shoulder, and turning his 
face downhill, began hauling away as if at a great 
cable. More than half its body was now off the 
ground, so that the creature could not obtain a 

purchase, yet it struggled hard and S g swayed 

and shook with each movement of its great body, 
and I expected momentarily to see him knocked 
to the ground or in the coils of the gigantic brute. 
But his football experience stood him in good stead, 
and clinging to the tail of the serpent in regular 
Rugby style he struggled onwards, pulling the 
snake after him. A native now rushed up and split 
open its head with a battle-axe, and a fourth shot 
finished the fight. 

Before skinning, it measured twelve feet two 
inches in length, and was about as thick round 
as the small of a man's thigh. We removed the 
skin, thinking to send it home to Cooper's Hill to 
show the fellows there what was expected of 
Foresters in India, but before morning there was 
but little of it left, for the ants having found their 
way up had played havoc with the whole carcase. 

x * 2 


[To face page 246. 



IT is not generally known that within a night's 
railway journey of Calcutta there is a shooting pre- 
serve where, on the payment of a fee of ten rupees a 
month, permission to shoot game of any kind but 
elephant can be had for the asking. The Saranda 
Reserved Forest covers some seven hundred miles 
of heavily-wooded country, alive with game of all 
kinds buffalo, bison, deer, tiger, leopard, bear, pig, 
huge snakes and game birds. It is easy of access, 
as the Bengal-Nagpore Railway runs through it 
from Goilkora to Rourkela, and no part of it is more 
than twenty-five miles from a railway station. 
Excellent food supplies too can be had from 
Messrs. Kellner's Railway Refreshment Rooms at 
Chakardarpore. This fine shooting ground was little 
known, because the Forest Officers had come to 
regard it as their own little preserve, where they 
were sure of a bag whenever they were inclined for 
a day's shoot ; or where a particular friend or two 
could be invited down during the holidays and 
treated to sport usually reserved for friends and 
acquaintances of Cooch Behar and other Rajas with 
shooting preserves. It is not long since Dr. P , 
from Fort William, spent a few days here and 


bagged one of the finest solitary bison to be seen. 
He was out by himself with only a tracker or two, 
and came on the brute end on, and at twenty paces 
was able to put in a right and left from a heavy 
ten-bore, but the position was a bad one for a mortal 
shot, the bullets hitting high on the withers. The 
beast made off and put a mile of ground between 
itself and its pursuers before, overcome with the 
loss of blood, it sank down in the long grass to rest 
awhile. When first seen, the rain was coming 
down in torrents, so that P - was able to get 
within twenty yards without difficulty ; but after 
delivering his fire he was unable to get in two fresh 
cartridges, as the wet had swollen the cases and 
they jammed. The torrents of rain and the noise 
of the shower prevented the bison seeing from 
which direction the shot had come, or he might have 
charged and done some damage ; so after sniffing 
the air awhile he made off down hill and took 
shelter in some heavy grass. It was some little 

time before P could reload his gun, and he then 

set off in search of the bison, which he was sure 
could not have gone very far after being so badly 
wounded. The tracks were plain and easily fol- 
lowed up, and the native shikarees soon pointed out 
the huge brute lying in a clump of grass. Two 
more shots, which were afterwards discovered to 
have taken effect in the region of the ribs, and the 
brute was up and away like the wind, receiving 
two hasty shots as he was scurrying through the 
grass. The rain now came down in torrents so 
that all sight of him was lost, and the tracks were 


washed out by the streams of water running down 
the hillside. Close search was made next day, but 
they were unable to find any trace of the bison and 
thought it lost for ever. P - returned to Cal- 
cutta ; but two days later the body of the bull was 
recovered miles away from the spot where he was 
last seen. The skin was quite spoilt ; but the 
head was cut off and sent to P , who was strongly 
enjoined not to tell where he had bagged the brute, 
or the whole of Saranda would be overrun with 
sportsmen from Fort William and the State Forest 
would no longer be the preserve it is. 

The best places for shikar are to the south and 
east of the Manharpore railway station, and some 
eight miles away among the Ankua range of hills, 
for twenty miles south. At Thamsi, Phoolbari, and 
Hundagudi the country abounds with large game. 
There is not the slightest difficulty about trackers 
and shikarees ; they can be had at all the native vil- 
lages near the forest, while the railway stations make 
capital rest-camps. Provisions can be had from 
Chakardarpore daily if necessary, so that the 
usual discomforts of a long shooting trip and the 
heavy expenses of transport are not incurred if 
Saranda be the scene of the excursion. The jungles 
are not unhealthy during the wet months, and if 
one is provided with stout boots and a good water- 
proof there need be feared nothing beyond a good 
wetting now and again. The damp ground makes 
tracking simple work and game can be followed up 
more easily than in the dry weather. During the 
hot months it is more difficult to obtain a permit, 


as there is always the danger of forest fires from a 
lighted end of a cigar, or from camp fires. All 
things considered the monsoon is about the best 
time for shooting within the forest reserve. 

The native shikarees dread the solitary bull-bison, 
and will if possible lead the hunter off the track 
and take him to a herd of several cows and calves, 
with perhaps a young bull as master of the herd. 
The solitary bulls are generally aged animals, no 
longer fit to rule the herd, and ousted perhaps by 
some younger rival. It is hard to say why the 
natives dread this animal, as unlike the solitary 
buffalo he will not attack unless molested, and 
always endeavours to make off unless brought to 
bay at close quarters. 

Some years ago I saw one of these animals brought 
to bay and fighting for its life, when the reflection 
forced itself upon me that had it been a buffalo 
the consequences would have been more serious. 
We were shooting up the Champa, a small stream 
flowing into the Brahmini river in Bonai, and 
forming the southern boundary of the Saranda 
Forest for some distance. We had done fairly 
well, having bagged thirteen head of game in a week. 
Nearing the Koenjure frontier we came on to some 
grass hills where there were numerous tracks of 
bison. After a little search we managed to hit on 
one which the trackers told us was that of a solitary 
bull. In spite of the eloquence of the guides, who 
would have had us go after a herd, promising us 
much sport, we elected for the solitary bison and 
made our preparations accordingly. There were 


three Sahibs, so we tossed for first shot much to the 
wonderment of the natives, who thought we were 
performing some charm to ensure our safety if we 
came up with the bison. We had no difficulty in 
following up the trail, which was very distinct in 
the damp ground ; and on nearing a thicket of 
bamboos, the shikaree told us to be prepared, as the 
bison was in all probability among them, taking 
his midday rest. We therefore proceeded cau- 
tiously, keeping the bamboos well to the windward, 
R_ _^ a hot-headed Welshman who had won the 
toss, leading. We had got well within the bamboos 
and were peering cautiously to the front, when 
suddenly up sprang a large bison within a few 
yards to our right rear and went tearing down the 
hill. R - let drive at once at the stern of the 
brute as it was making off, and luckily one of his 
shots took effect and broke its hind leg below the 
knee. We now made sure of the beast and followed 
up rapidly, R being a long way in advance. 
There was a slight spur of the hill on which stood 
a few rocks, and round this the bison had disap- 
peared. On nearing the rocks we saw R - stop, 
put his gun to shoulder, bring it down without 
firing, feel his pockets and then come scampering 
back to us. He had no ammunition it was with 
the shikaree and he had not re-loaded after 
firing at the bison. It was now at the rocks 
and had turned to bay and waited for R 
with lowered head ; but why it had not charged, 
especially when it saw its enemy retreating, it 
is hard to say. Had it been a buffalo R -'s 


life would not have been worth a minute's pur- 

We now hurried up, and, yes ! sure enough, there 
was the bison ready to receive us. He looked a 
truly magnificent brute, with his forehead covered 
with long hair of a bright brown colour, the rest of 
the head and body being black. The extreme 
height of the fore-quarters and their massive build 
make the bison appear a more formidable beast than 
he is. From his position it was hard to get at a 
vital spot, and although hats, stones and turbans 
were thrown near him to induce him to charge, he 
would not move from his position. Several shots 
were tried at his head, but made no impression, as 
we had nothing beyond four drachms of powder in 
our cartridges, and this did not give sufficient pene- 
tration. At last, one of us was compelled to go 
above the rocks and fire down on him. A shot in 
the spine near the shoulder did for him. 



I WAS spending a few days with my friend, Abdul 
Gunnee, the Commissariat contractor, at his country 
house in a village not far from Vellore, in the 
Madras Presidency. My friend's residence was once 
a palace belonging to one of the magnates of 
Mahomed Ali's Court when that unscrupulous ruler 
was Nawab of Arcot. The country around Vellore 
and Arcot is dotted with many such buildings, 
erected by the nobles of the Carnatic Court when 
that State was the chief of the Mahomedan King- 
doms of South India. Surrounded with gardens of 
cocoanut and areca palms, orange groves, mango, 
pomegranate and other fruit trees, these old build- 
ings at once testify to the wealth, good taste and 
love of ease of their former owners. 

I had ridden my friend's horses, had admired the 
fountains which threw their myriad jets in various 
parts of the garden, had tasted his mulgovas and dil- 
pusund (varieties of graft-mango), and now what 
else was there to do ? There was no shikar in the 
neighbourhood beyond duck, and " surely the 
Sahib was tired of walking in the mud and getting 
wet to the middle in search of duck that he could 


buy for a few pice." This was my friend's idea of 
duck-shooting and all its attendant pleasures. 
Would I like to see how duck were trapped by the 
natives ? Of course I would, so the village thaliarree 
(watchman) was sent for, and directed to engage 
some bestars (fisherman) to show the Sahib some wild- 
duck trapping. 

There were numerous large tanks in the neigh- 
bourhood, which served to irrigate the extensive 
rice-fields for which this district is famous, and 
these tanks were the resort of numerous flocks of 
wild duck at certain seasons of the year. The 
bestars are expert fishermen and takers of water- 
fowl of all kinds, and have several very ingenious 
methods of trapping ducks. These birds generally 
frequent the shallow water near the margin of 
tanks, as here aquatic plants are most abundant, 
and among them they find the small shell-fish and 
fry of fish on which they live. Having sighted a 
flock of wild duck the bestar gets a large earthen pot 
such as natives use for carrying water. The mouth 
of the pot must be sufficiently large to admit his 
head, and in the sides of the pot he knocks two little 
holes to see out of. Inserting his head into the pot 
until the rim rests on his shoulders, he wades into 
the water neck-deep, or crouches down until only 
the pot is seen above water. The little holes in 
the sides admit fresh air, and permit him to see. In 
this fashion he gently moves along in the direction 
of the flock of ducks. In order to accustom the 
ducks to the appearance of the pot, several pots 
mouth down have been previously placed among 


the weeds the birds are known to frequent, and near 
to these pots small rafts of plantain bark are placed, 
with a little paddy, or snails or other bait to attract 
the birds. The ducks do not take alarm at the 
approach of the pot under which the bestar is con- 
cealed, as they imagine it similar to the pots around 
them. When the bestar gets near to the flock he 
adroitly puts his hand under the nearest duck, 
seizes it by the legs, and sharply draws it under 
water. This creates no alarm, as ducks fre- 
quently dive down after small fish, etc. He breaks 
the neck of the duck under water and hangs it to a 
string round his waist, and then goes for another. 
In this way he is able to secure a number before 
the others take alarm and seek safety in flight. 

Another method by which large numbers of wild 
duck are taken alive shows that the natives are 
keen observers of the habits of the game. A rough 
model of the body of a duck is made of pith (the 
substance of which sola topees are made), and this 
is stuck over with the feathers of a wild drake of 
the species they wish to capture. The feathers 
are most carefully inserted in the pith so as to give 
a good imitation of the live bird as it floats on the 
water. Water fowl do not sleep on the water as is 
generally believed, but make for an island or the 
sedge-covered margin of the tank at dusk, and 
sleep there at night. The bestar s note the spots the 
flocks usually resort to at night, and during the 
absence of the birds in the day they clear away a 
funnel-shaped entrance in the sedges. The taper 
end of the funnel, or V, is towards the shore The 


whole of the cleared space is covered by a net hung 
about two feet above the water. In the evening 
the decoy is floated in the water a little distance 
away from the trap and a thin string is attached 
to it, the other end being in the hands of the bestar, 
who is carefully concealed among some bushes or 
other shelter on the bank. On the approach of the 
flock at dusk the decoy is made to bob about in a 
most odd manner. This attracts the wild duck 
which swim up to know what is wrong with one of 
their number, as they imagine the decoy to be. The 
bobbing stops on the near approach of the wild 
birds, and the decoy swims off in the direction of 
the trap, being drawn that way by the string in 
the hands of the bestar. Soon the flock follows, 
and are gradually led into the funnel. When the 
flock is well within the trap, the net at the mouth 
is dropped, and the birds secured. 

I did not on this occasion see the decoy used and 
the wild duck captured alive, but I saw the bestar 
at work with the pots. A singular incident occurred 
while the bestar was among the flock of wild ducks. 
He had drawn down several when suddenly we 
saw the pot turn over and a great splashing ensue 
in the water. The ducks took to flight while the 
bestar kept shouting that a mugger had seized him 
by the leg and was drawing him into the water. 
Fancying there might be some truth in his assertion, 
as crocodiles had been known to stray away from 
the trench round the Vellore Fort, where these crea- 
tures were to be seen in large numbers (being pro- 
bably put there in the first instance as one of the 


means of preventing an enemy entering the fort), 
we rushed towards the spot, shouting and making 
as much noise as possible to frighten off the horrid 
creature. By the time we got round to where the 
bestar had been at work, he came floundering out, 
yelling and crying out, " Uppa / Uppa ! (Father ! 
Father !) I am dead ! '' We noticed some creature, 
long and black, with white under its stomach, flop- 
ping about his waist, which, on nearer approach, 
we saw was an enormous murrel or ball fish (the 
Indian trout), common in all South Indian tanks. 
This is the most voracious of Indian fish and 
answers in this respect to the pike in England. It 
had probably made a dash at the wild duck dangling 
from the waist of the bestar, and its gills got en- 
tangled in the folds of the cloth he had round his 
loins. In its efforts to get away it struck frequently 
against the man's naked thigh, hence his idea 
that he had been seized by a mugger. The fish 
was fully two and a half feet long and weighed 
twelve pounds. We congratulated the bestar on 
having caught the mugger instead of being caught 
by it, and rewarded him for his trouble. 

I expressed a wish to my friend to do a little duck 
shooting on my own account, and he at once directed 
the bestars to make a raft on which I was to seat 
myself and be towed out by the swimming bestars, 
to any position I wished to make. Four large 
earthen pots were arranged in the form of a square, 
and kept in position by means of bamboo frame- 
work. Over this a native charpoy (bedstead) was 
placed, and on this I was seated with my heavy 



duck gun, the bestars pushing this fragile yet buoy- 
ant concern into deep water. The party on the 
shore directed our movements, and soon I was 
ensconced behind some tall rushes near to where 
several flocks of wild *duck were feeding. My 
bestars now left me to drive the duck in my direc- 
tion, as I hoped to take them on the wing. Soon 
I heard a quack ! as the birds took the wing, and 
presently a large flock were sailing overhead. 
Rising on my fragile support to get a better shot, I 
let drive right and left among them, and then found 
myself head over heels in the water and nearly 
drowned. With great difficulty I managed to get 
back to my seat on the raft, leaving my gun in the 
water for the bestars to recover. In my anxiety to 
get a good shot at the duck I had stepped too near 
the edge of the raft, and that, with the heavy recoil 
of the duck gun, sent one side of the raft down and 
me into the water. My friend was too much of a 
gentleman to laugh at my woe-begone figure, wet 
and covered with mud, but he remarked : " You 
Sahibs are hard to understand ; you will risk your 
necks to drive a spear into a pig ; you will slave 
all day for birds that can be bought for two pice." 



IT is a popular belief that all wild animals dread 
fire ; hence it is that when camping in the open, 
in districts frequented by the great carnivora, 
hunters and travellers kindle large fires round their 
camps at night to frighten off wild beasts. Living- 
stone and other writers on African travel have 
recorded instances where men and domestic animals 
have been carried away from camp-fires by lions. 
I have known an instance where a tiger has come 
night after night and warmed itself at a large 
fire, not taking the least notice of the coolies 
working around. We were sinking a prospecting 
shaft in Chota Nagpore, and as we wished to push 
the job to completion we worked night and day, 
in shifts of eight hours. We had no pumps, and as 
the ground was wet a pulley was fixed over the 
shaft and sixteen women worked up and down 
a ramp, pulling a large bucket which was emptied 
by a man stationed at the mouth of the shaft. 
The nights in December and January are very 
cold, and as the hauling was not continuous we 
kept a large fire going near the shaft to light 
up the work, round which the women warmed 
themselves when not working the rope. One night, 



just after the women had left the fire and gone to 
the rope, a large tiger was seen to walk deliberately 
up to the fire, look about for a little while and 
then lie down and warm itself. Of course there 
was a stampede of the workpeople at the surface, 
and the miner in charge of the night-shift was 
informed of the occurrence. He went to the 
shaft accompanied by several men, and there saw 
the tiger lying by the fire. The men shouted 
and the tiger got up and walked quietly off among 
the neighbouring bushes. I was told of the circum- 
stance next day but was not inclined to credit it ; 
however, I lent my gun to the night-shift man, 
and told him not to fire at the tiger if it came again 
but merely to shout and discharge the gun in the 
air to scare the beast. The tiger did not turn 
up next night, nor for several following nights, 
but it did turn up at irregular intervals, and in 
time the coolies got used to its coming and would 
go on with their work as usual. This tiger was 
well known to the inhabitants of several villages 
around, and one man claimed relationship with it. 
He seriously told me it was his great-uncle, who 
was the gowala (cattle herd) of the Tentudee village 
some years ago. In his time tigers were common 
in those parts, and carried away numbers of cattle 
and occasionally human beings. So great was the 
loss of cattle that the villagers stopped the usual 
allowance of paddy given to the village herdsman, 
as they said he was careless and allowed the cattle 
to stray, so that tigers could easily seize them. 
His great-uncle was nearly starved by this stoppage 


of his allowance, and he vowed a vow to Mahadev 
that if she took the tiger away she could do with him 
what she pleased. Shortly after the gowala died, 
and since that time the present tiger kept guard 
over the villages and allowed no other tiger near. 
When I pointed out that this tiger had killed several 
buffaloes and cows to my knowledge he replied, 
' Well, must he not live ? Is he to die of hunger ? 
He does not kill men nor allow other tigers here 
he is my great-uncle." 

The following incident, related by a gentleman 
of whose veracity there can be no question, would 
seem to prove that tigers, like the African lion, 
have occasionally taken away men from the camp- 
fire and shown no particular dread of light : 

" We were surveying a district lately acquired by 
the British in North Burmah, and as we had found 
great difficulty in procuring local labour in the 
previous season, we took with us from Bangalore 
a number of Madrassee lascars. The country was 
in a very disturbed state, as bands of dacoits looted 
villages and robbed and murdered travellers where- 
ever they found them. Six military police under 
a naik were sent with us for our protection, and a 
couple of elephants to carry our baggage and 
provisions, as nothing was to be had in the district 
we were going into. The first part of our journey 
lay through low marshy country, with here and 
there a little rice cultivation, but we soon got 
past this into a ' terai ' at the foot of a range 
of hills, and here our troubles began. The country 


was the most difficult for survey operations that I 
have seen. Dense jungle and tall grass with 
fearful canes everywhere. You could take a sight 
nowhere. Lines had to be cleared before we could 
make any progress. We had scarcely cleared a 
mile or two of pathway, when we missed one of our 
Madrassees. He was not missed till we got home 
in the evening. Fancying he might have strayed away 
and got lost in the jungle, we kindled large fires, 
kept shouting out at intervals, and I got the police 
to fire off an occasional shot, thinking that if he 
were within hearing this might direct him to our 
camp. Next day search-parties were organised and 
the country carefully scoured, but the men would 
not go far for fear of losing themselves, the jungle 
being so dense. After a two days' wait and 
continuous search we were obliged to go on with 
our work, having reported the circumstance to 
head-quarters. On the fourth day after the dis- 
appearance of the man, a second Madrassee was 
missing. We had a suspicion that the first man 
had deserted, but in this instance that could not 
be, as we were too far advanced into the heart 
of the jungle for the man to find his way back 
alone. It could not be dacoits, as they would not 
molest a coolie with nothing valuable about him, and 
as we were well out of the Wa country, that being 
on the other side of the river, the head-hunters 
were not to be feared. The general opinion was 
that this man had also strayed away into the 
forest and had become lost ; he might find his 
way to some Shan settlement on the hills, or stray 


back to the open ground near the river. The men 
received orders to keep as much as possible together, 
and even when going into the forest for water or 
other purposes to go two at a time. In another 
four days we had made about fifteen miles, 
when a third man was missing at night. The 
men used to cluster round the camp-fires at 
night ; a policeman was on guard at intervals 
of four hours, and the elephants were picketed 
near at hand ; yet none knew how the man had 
disappeared. The police on guard said that at 
about midnight one of the coolies left the fire to 
go into the bushes for a little while. He thought 
he saw the man return, but he was not sure. A 
careful search was made all around, yet no trace of 
the man was visible, nor track of any wild animal. 
A great fear fell on all. I confess that I myself felt 
some alarm at this unknown danger. If we knew 
the source from which to look for an attack, a 
proper defence might be provided. But here were 
three men missing, at intervals of four days, and 
none could say how or where they had gone. Was 
it a head-hunting party of the wild Wa that had 
crossed the river and were carrying off human 
heads to grace the village ' Avenue of great 
deeds ' ? Was it a party of dacoits that were 
following us up and not feeling strong enough 
to attack us together were cutting off stragglers 
and would eventually storm the camp. It could 
not be a tiger for there were no signs of these 
creatures about, and then what of the intervals 
of four days, and the following up of our camp, 


which had shifted quarters some thirty miles since 
the first man was missing ? 

" The men were unmanageable from fear. They 
would not leave camp but in groups of half a dozen, 
and when the fatal fourth day came round again, 
not a soul would leave the clearing to bring even 
a pot of water. That night extra precautions 
were used ; additional fires were kindled all round 
the camp, and the elephants were made to patrol 
round and round while darkness lasted. The 
morning-roll was called and thank Heaven ! not 
a soul was missing. Having got over the fatal 
day, the men took heart and said we could go 
on working for the next three days, but on the 
fourth the same precautions were to be taken. 
We shifted camp a few miles and did an indifferent 
day's work, the men going about cautiously and 
in groups. That night an enormous fire was 
kindled a little distance from the entrance of my 
tent, and in a circle round the large fire, and at 
some distance from it, smaller fires were burned, the 
men sleeping within this circle of fire. The night 
passed off without disturbance, and we were 
congratulating ourselves on having at last overcome 
the danger, when the roll was called and a Madrassee 
was reported missing. The men who slept on 
either side of him were questioned. No, he had 
not left the camp fire, at least not to their know- 
ledge ; they had not missed him in the morning. 
While this examination was going on, an excla- 
mation from Kissen Sing, the naik of the military 
police, drew us to the spot where the missing man 


had slept at the large fire. Motioning the crowd 
to keep off, the naik called me to the place, and there 
pointed out what appeared to be a drop of blood, 
and, what was of more significance still, the well- 
marked pug of a tiger. The marks were so small 
that I said these were those of a panther, but 
Kissen Sing, who was a noted shikaree, and had 
often taken part in tiger shooting expeditions 
in Tirhoot, declared it was a tigress and with cubs. 
How on earth he inferred all this I cannot make 
out, but subsequent events proved he was right. 
He was of opinion that the tigress was answerable 
for the four persons missing. She had followed 
us up from day to day and when pressed with 
hunger had carried off one of the men. Now that 
we knew the source of danger, the men were not 
so much scared, although still timid and moving 
about in groups. A careful search was made with 
the aid of the elephants, but not a trace of the 
tiger or its prey could be found. We shifted camp 
that day and the next and took no extra precautions, 
as Kissen Sing said the tiger would not look for a 
victim till it was again hungry. On the third 
night he had a strong platform erected, about 
twelve feet from the ground, among the trees, 
and upon this the men slept, the elephants being 
chained one on each side. The men slept in safety, 
and there were no casualties to report in the morning. 
The next day the same precautions were taken, 
and the men safely stowed on the platform be- 
fore it was dark. I had called for dinner, and 
Ramaswamy, my Madrassee cook, had just left 


the kitchen pal (small tent) to dish the dinner 
on a camp-table outside, on which there was 
a kerosene lantern. The man and the table were 
not ten yards from me, and I was seated in my 
hill tent directly facing him, when I saw something 
dark spring over the table, seize the cook by the 
neck, and spring back. Not a sound from the 
cook not a rustle of the leaves nothing dis- 
turbed. The cook's mate within the pal heard 
nothing, and here was the cook carried away from 
within a few feet of a bright light. I immediately 
raised the alarm, and fired off a couple of shots 
in the direction the tiger had taken, and the police 
began a regular fusillade. Next morning a care- 
ful search was made, but to no purpose. The 
men declined to work further, and said they would 
leave me and go back in a body. They did not 
care for their back wages ; their lives were of more 
consequence. I was without a cook, so there was 
nothing for it but the back track. The elephants 
were loaded and back we went. We had almost 
reached our last camp when the elephants stopped, 
and sounded the alarm by striking the ground 
with their trunks, making a kind of kettle-drum 
sound. Kissen Sing said there was a tiger about. 
We proceeded cautiously, the men keeping near 
to the elephants. On getting into our former 
camp, and near to the watch-fire, there we saw 
the head and other portions of my cook Ramaswamy. 
The tigress and two cubs were evidently disturbed 
at their meal, as we saw their pug marks in close 
proximity to the remains of the cook, which were 


on the ashes of our camp fire. We gave the remains 
of the poor fellow what burial we could and hurried 
off on our return journey. We passed several 
other of our late camps and did fifteen miles that 
day. The next day we had passed one camp 
and were just entering a second when the elephants 
swerved on one side of what was the site of our 
camp fire, and here on the ashes we found the 
skull, feet, and thigh bones of a second human 
being, which, from scraps of cloth about, were 
recognised as those of the Madrassee carried off a 
few days before Ramaswamy, the cook. The next 
day the remains of another lascar were come on, 
several camps away. We could now see the cunning 
tactics of the tigress by which she had avoided 
detection. She had actually followed us up on 
our own tracks, and, having made a kill, dragged 
the unfortunate back to our previous day's camp, 
some four or five miles off, and there stayed with 
her cubs till pressed by hunger to follow us up 
again. The marks of the elephants and men 
made a kind of a beaten track, along which she 
would leave no trace. The cubs, which Kissen 
Sing said were not more than six months old, 
judging from their pugs, were not allowed to 
accompany their mother when on the hunt, but 
remained behind to feast on what she brought. 
We hurried back to head-quarters and saw nothing 
of tigress or cubs. The survey in that locality had 
to be abandoned that season, as none of the lascars 
would work there." 



" WILL the Huzoor see the snakes ? Many snakes ; 
snakes from Raipore, Bilaspore ; snakes from the 
hills, and snakes from the plains ; snakes of all 
kinds. Yes, the Sahib is right ; we are humbugs. 
I am a poor man, and I must talk for my stomach. 
I have nags (cobras), and I have kraits. I have 
the swift dhamna (whip snake), and I have the 
deadly, yet tiny, bingraj (the sand viper, the most 
deadly of all snakes). No, Sahib, I have not the 
raj nag (king-cobra), nor have I got the bandpost. 
I see the Huzoor understands about snakes, since 
he asks for the rarest of all snakes, the raj nag 
and the bandpost. I have seen the raj nag, but I 
have never had one myself. They are useless for 
our purposes, as they are too fierce and cannot 
be tamed. The bandpost also is hard to keep, 
as it lives on bees, and where am I to get bees 
all the year round ? Yes, the Huzoor is right ; 
the bandpost stings with its tail and bites with its 
mouth, and both are deadly. Have I seen it 
sting anything ? Yes, I have seen it sting a dog 
that went near to smell it after its head had been 
broken, and the dog died. The Huzoor does not 


believe me ? The Huzoor is right, I am a liar, 
and the Huzoor is my father and my mother ; 
but the bandpost has got a sting in its tail, like a 
scorpion. Am I not a catcher of snakes and 
should I not know ? 

' Yes, I can cure the bite of all snakes all but 
the bingraj. It is the smallest of snakes, and yet 
if it bites, death is almost instantaneous. It is 
generally found during the hot months in the fine 
dust of pathways. It lives in the dust, and feeds 
on insects, ant-lions and such like. See, here it 
is " and he turned out a tiny snake about six 
inches long from a purse he had stuck in his 
waist-cloth. The creature looked somewhat like 
a dry twig, and was very slow in its movements, 
and but for the forked tongue which it protruded 
from its mouth now and again it gave no 
sign of life. Its flat viper head showed that it 
belonged to the poisonous family of snakes. I had 
often heard from the natives of this deadly snake, 
but this was the first I had ever seen. It is 
commoner in the Punjab and Rajpootana than 
in the more wooded districts of India, and is well 
known for its deadly venom. The natives say 
that if this snake bites one in the foot, death is 
instantaneous ; but if it bites one in the chest, 
a gentle drowsy sensation of sleep overcomes one, 
and one dies with a pleasant look on the face. 
Rajpoot women when they wish to commit suicide 
apply one of these snakes to the bosom and make 
it bite them there, when they enjoy the most 
pleasurable sensations and die quietly. There is 


no cure ; whether it bites in the foot or chest, 
death comes all the same, only the one is quicker 
than the other. Can there be any connection 
between this story and that of Cleopatra and the 
viper ? 

" Yes, Sahib, I can cure the bite of the cobra 
and krait, in fact, of all serpents but the bingraj. 
I can show the Sahib the medicines I use if he 
will give me bucksheesh (a present). This is nag ka 
thitka (gall of a cobra). If this is applied to the 
bite at once there is no danger of death, although 
the person bitten will have fainting fits and cold 
sweats for a week ; but we give a little gall mixed 
in milk to the person once a day, and he is cured. 
I am proof against snake venom, as I take a little 
snake poison every week, in a pill. I have taken 
it for years. All our people take snake poison, 
and we are not afraid of snakes. We dip a paddy- 
straw into snake venom and wipe the straw on a 
paste of hillul (a creeping plant that looks like 
sarsaparilla), and this we swallow. We must take 
this every week, or it will have no effect. I have 
been bitten frequently on the back of my hands 
by snakes that I keep. Yes, we draw the venom- 
fangs, but they grow again in a fortnight or a 
month. We can also take out the venom without 
drawing the fangs. See, Sahib, if I press here, 
in the snake's jaw, with this piece of stick, the 
fangs are erected and the poison exudes at the 
point of the fang. The fangs are hollow like a 
pipe, and the poison comes out through this pipe 
when the poison bags are squeezed. We sell the 


poison to the baghmarees (tiger killers) and kobirajs 
(native physicians). 

' Will the Sahib now see the snakes dance, 
since he has talked his stomach full, or will I 
catch the snakes that are in the Sahib's bunga- 
low ? " 

I was residing in a thatched bungalow that had 
been uninhabited for years, and the old straw in 
the roof seemed to be a breeding place for snakes. 
I was seated in the verandah one evening just 
after a shower of rain, reading the newspaper, 
when something dropped on to my lap. To my 
horror I saw it was a small snake of the viper or 
house krait kind. In a moment I was up, tossing 
the snake on the floor, and crushed it under foot. 
I resumed my reading, but in about a quarter of 
an hour I heard a flop on the floor just behind my 
chair, and on looking round saw this was another 
snake of the same size and kind as that I had just 
killed. This I despatched with a stick, and, feeling 
that I could no longer enjoy my reading when 
there was a chance of a deadly serpent dropping 
on to me, I went into the bedroom, the roof of 
which had a ceiling of cloth. I had been in the 
bedroom about an hour when I noticed a snake, 
similar in all respects to the other two, creeping 
in at the door. It was now patent that a brood 
of these creatures must have been hatched some- 
where in the roof, and were now on the move. 
A careful search was made, and the doors secured 
for the night. In the morning my servant killed a 
fourth snake in the verandah. In all we killed 


some fourteen snakes in the bungalow in three 
months, all of them poisonous. 

I thought perhaps the snake-charmer had heard 
of this plague of snakes, and wished to take ad- 
vantage of it for his own purposes. No, I did 
not want a krait from the bungalow, but would 
he bring a snake of a different kind from the bed 
of zinnias in front of the bungalow ? Yes, he was 
quite prepared to bring a snake from anywhere, 
even out of the floor of the verandah. Fearing a 
trick, I made him divest himself of as much 
clothing as possible, and with only his calabash 
snake-charming pipes to his mouth he approached 
the zinnias in a cautious manner, myself and 
my servants watching his every movement closely. 
He kept blowing vigorously, and circled round the 
bed of zinnias once or twice, and then with a leap 
he was into the flower-bed, and hauled forth a 
large snake about six feet long which struggled 
violently to get away. But he held it firmly 
by the middle and brought it to the verandah, 
when there was a stampede among the lookers-on, 
myself among the number. We made him put 
away his capture in one of his snake baskets 
before we again approached. 

Suspecting that he had put one of his tame 
snakes in the flower-bed beforehand, in case I 
should ask him to catch a snake, I now determined 
to watch him more closely and to give him no 
chance of preparation. I said, " I will give you 
five rupees if you will take a cobra out of there " 
pointing to a spot in the cement floor about four 


[To face page 272 


feet away from where I was sitting. The snake- 
charmer readily consented, and began a kind of 
a war-dance in the verandah, keeping step to a 
weird tune he played on his calabash. The only 
stitch of cloth he had on was a rag, some six 
inches wide between his legs, fastened before 
and behind to a cord round his waist, so that 
it was impossible for him to conceal anything in 
his clothing. I asked my servants to watch him 
closely, while I did the same. After dancing a 
measure or two, and approaching and receding 
several times from the spot I indicated, he sud- 
denly shouted " There ! Sahib, there ! " pointing 
to the spot. All eyes were involuntarily turned 
thither, and he leaped forward and pretended to 
clutch something from the ground, and held up a 
cobra about two and a half feet long. There 
were shouts of approbation and wonder from my 
servants in which I did not join. It is a common 
trick among conjurors of all nations when some 
sleight of hand is to be performed to call off 
attention from the expert's hands to some other 
spot. I was prepared for this, so did not look 
at the spot the snake-charmer pointed to, but kept 
my eyes on him, watching his every movement. 
As he sprang forward to seize the supposed snake, 
as quick as lightning one hand was thrust into 
his hair, which was tied in a large knot somewhat 
like that the Cingalese women wear, and from 
this hiding place he drew the small cobra he 
pretended to pick off the floor. 

The man quickly noticed that I did not join 



in the plaudits of his audience and said : " Who 
can deceive the Sahibs ? we are their children, 
and we learn from them. It is for my stomach's 
sake, Huzoor, but don't you tell the fools around. 
The Sahib will give me what he pleases since I 
have not earned the five rupees." 



IT is singular that while the tiger, the leopard 
and the wolf are the recognised enemies of the 
cultivator, in that they prey on his flocks and 
herds, and that the Government offers a reward 
for the destruction of these predatory animals, 
probably the most daring and destructive of all, 
and the one which does more damage to cattle 
and goats than all the other wild animals put 
together, is generally regarded as a harmless 
creature and one to be protected rather than 
destroyed. One reason perhaps for this good 
name is that the cheetah, or hunting leopard, has 
never been known to prey on mankind, while tigers, 
leopards and wolves are all known to be man- 
eaters on occasion. The cheetah also can be 
domesticated and taught to run down antelope 
and small deer, and thus be rendered subservient 
to man another reason for overlooking its well- 
known habit of preying on the sheep, goats and 
calves of the villagers. But for courage, daring, 
cunning and audacity it can give points to any 
beast of the field, and it is fortunate indeed that 
it does not prey on man, as few would be safe 
from its attacks. 

1 8* 


At Jeraikela, on the Bengal-Nagpur Railway, 
a villager had a pet spotted deer, which would 
follow him about like a dog. I frequently wished 
to purchase it, and offered him a price many 
times its value and sufficient to tempt most 
natives. But he would not sell. He was as fond 
of the deer as the deer was of him. His hut was 
in the heart of the village. One warm moonlight 
night he drew his charpoy (bedstead) as usual 
across the entrance of his hut and slept on 
it. While he was asleep, a hunting leopard 
crept under his charpoy, seized and killed the 
deer, and crept back the way it came, drawing 
the deer after it, and made off to the woods. 
The man only knew of his loss on awakening 
in the morning, when the unmistakable dog- 
like foot-prints of the animal showed who the 
midnight marauder was. Not long ago one of 
these brutes entered the village of Sendee during 
the dark hours just before dawn. It dug a 
passage for itself through the wattle-and-dab 
walls of the bazaar-man's hut, seized and killed 
a two-year-old calf, and endeavoured to drag 
the body through the passage it had made for 
itself, but the calf's body was too large to pass 
that way. The noise made by the cheetah's 
efforts to drag the calf through the hole in 
the wall awakened an old woman who was 
sleeping in the hut, and she immediately opened 
the door, rushed out and raised an outcry. The 
cheetah, seeing the door open, re-entered the 
dwelling and pulled the calf away through the 


door ! It made off to a neighbouring nullah and 
there devoured the stomach and a great part 
of the rump. The calf certainly weighed over 
200 Ibs. ; yet the cheetah was able to drag the 
body several hundred yards, when its own weight 
could not have been over 70 Ibs. even if full 

The cheetah is particularly fond of dog's flesh 
and does useful service in carrying off super- 
fluous pariah dogs which otherwise would in- 
crease to such an extent as to be a source of 
danger to the villagers themselves. It is seldom 
one sees a dog in the country where the hunting 
leopard has taken up its abode. Sooner or later 
even the 'cutest of 'cute pariah dogs falls a 
victim to its arch enemy. I have had seven dogs 
carried away from my bungalow in eighteen 
months. Among these was a black pariah that 
the servants had named Hooseearee (the wary 
one), so alert was it. It would never on any 
pretence leave the servants' quarters after night- 
fall. I often tried to tempt it out with a bone 
after dinner, but no ; hungry or not, Hooseearee 
was not to be cajoled into the open. One night 
while I was having my dinner, a pheeall (an animal 
of the jackal kind said to act as a decoy to tigers, 
leopards and other of the great carnivora) sent 
forth its hideous howl near the servants' quarters. 
I was long anxious to secure one of these 
creatures, as I had heard so much of them, but 
had never come across anyone who had shot one. 
I ran for my Winchester and hurriedly loading it 


went into the verandah facing the servants' quarters. 
The moon was slightly obscured with clouds, so 
that objects in the open could be seen, but not 
very distinctly. Hooseearee was barking loudly, 
when again the unearthly yell of the pheeall was 
heard, this time just in front of the servants' 
quarters. This was too much for flesh and 
blood, and Hooseearee gave chase. Instead of 
making for the jungle, which was near at hand, 
the pheeall made for some logs of timber lying in 
the open. As soon as the black dog in pursuit of 
the pheeall neared the timber, swift as a flash 
of light the cheetah was on him and seized him 
by the back of the neck ; a single bark of agony 
and Hooseearee was no more. I fired twice at 
the cheetah, but he was off like a bird, carrying 
the body of the dog with him. It looked as if 
it were all planned out by the cheetah and the 
pheeall ; the latter was to decoy the dog out, and 
run in the direction of the logs behind which 
the cheetah was concealed. I cannot conceive 
any other reason why the pheeall should have 
run to the logs instead of to the jungle. 

After the loss of Hooseearee I had all my 
dogs shut up in a godown at dusk every evening. 
On several occasion I was awakened by the furious 
barking of the dogs, and generally found signs 
in the morning that the cheetah had tried to enter 
through a barred window. After several attempts 
to break in this way he gave it up, as he found 
iron bars too hard for even his powerful teeth. 
But one day three of my dogs accompanied 


the syces taking out my horses for their morning 
constitutional. All three were large dogs, half- 
breeds, about the size of a foxhound. One of 
them was particularly large and heavy. All had 
broad leather collars with steel pricks to protect 
the neck from the assaults of wild animals. The 
horses were being promenaded along the road 
within half-a-mile of my bungalow, when a cheetah 
sprang out of the neighbouring bushes and seized 
the largest of the dogs by the neck, in spite of his 
protecting collar, and made off with him 

The cheetah is said to be the swiftest animal 
under the sun for distances not exceeding half-a- 
mile. In six hundred yards he could probably 
give a fleet greyhound half the distance and 
overtake him. The cheetah, or hunting leopard, 
in no way resembles the ordinary leopard or 
panther. The latter has retractile claws like the 
cat, while the cheetah's paws are like those of 
the dog. Most shikarees are agreed that he 
belongs to the hyaena family, and is to that animal 
what the greyhound is to the foxhound. Sir 
Samuel Baker has stated that he has seen one of 
these creatures run up the smooth trunk of a 
tree for about fifteen feet and then crouch in the 
fork, out of reach of its keepers, whence it could 
only be tempted down by the offer of a ladleful 
of warm blood taken from an antelope just slain 
by another hunting leopard used in the morning's 
chase. It is generally believed that the cheetah 
is only found in the more open parts of the scrub 
jungle of Central India, but I have killed them in 


the dense forest of Saranda in Chota Nagpur. 
The skin is differently marked to that of the 
panther. Both have a yellowish brown ground 
with black spots. The spots on the panther are 
rosettes ; on the cheetah they are simply black 
dabs without a central opening of yellow. For 
purposes of hunting the antelope and other small 
deer the cheetah must be caught when full grown 
and then domesticated. When taken as cubs 
they never learn to hunt. 



IT was before the days of railways when the Seegor 
pass via Mysore was the only road to Ootacamund, 
and bullock transits the quickest means of travelling. 
It was a fair road from Bangalore to Mysore, but 
from thence onwards to Seegor at the foot of the 
Neilgherries there was nothing but a clayey track 
(known as a second class road) with quagmires 
and pits during the rainy season, in which it was 
a miracle if your coach wheel did not stick and 
remain a fixture till help was procured from 
Bandypore or Mussencoil, the only large villages 
along this route. Such had been my fate the 
previous July, when travelling to Madras from 
Ooty via Bangalore. My transit came to grief in 
a mud-hole in the centre of the road and in our 
efforts to extract the wheel by means of a long 
pole used as a lever, a felloe was smashed. This 
necessitated a delay of two days at the Bandypore 
bungalow, before a new felloe could be made by 
the village artizan, and it was while thus stranded 
far away from the haunts of civilization that I 
first heard of the Bandypore man-eater. Having 
nothing better to do I had strolled into the village 
to watch the carpenter at his work, and help with 


advice as to the repairs of the transit, and was 
soon in friendly converse with the villagers who 
crowded round the " Doray " (gentleman). " Had 
the Daveru heard of the ' pille ' (tiger) 'perun 
pillee ' (large tiger) which was living on them and 
on their children, and their cattle ? Poojah (pro- 
pitiatory ceremonies) was of no avail ; the devil 
of a tiger had even carried away the poojahree 
(village priest), and now, no one was safe ; they 
could not go to the jungle for firewood, and brattees 
were consequently getting dear. Would the Doray 
stay a day and try and shoot the brute ; his children 
(the motley assemblage around) would be grateful 
for ever/' 

The Doray had nothing better than a six-shooter 
a kind of travelling companion with which 
to try conclusions with the monster if met with^ 
and as he did not like to add himself to the already 
long list of those the brute had killed and eaten, 
he, with many expressions of what he would do 
if he had the weapons, gratefully declined the offers 
of those who volunteered to lead him to the edge 
of the forest the tiger haunted, and leave him there. 
On my return journey to Ooty some eight months 
after, I again found myself delayed at Bandypore, 
and this time because the transit drivers refused 
to drive through the Tippoo Kadu as that portion 
of the forest was called, as two transit drivers had 
been carried off from their coaches only a few days 
before by the man-eating tiger. 

At the bungalow I found Messrs. Kaye and 
Ward, the Government Tiger Slayers. Kaye I 




frequently met later on as a successful coffee 
planter on the Hills, and a better shot or a more 
fearless hunter I have never seen. Ward belonged 
to the 6oth Rifles, then stationed at Ootacamund, 
and had been specially selected for his keen shikar 
instincts to exterminate the tigers which then 
infested the Neilgherries. I have lost sight of 
him for many years, but I am told that he left 
the army and joined the Madras Railway where 
he did right good work. He had so happy a way 
of relating his shikar experiences so little of the ego 
in them, yet so full of dash that the long evenings 
seemed to fly while listening to deeds of daring 
unrecorded in printer's ink. If ever he writes 
his experiences of jungle life, his will be a book 
worth reading. Kaye and Ward had heard of the 
Bandypore man-eater and were now collecting infor- 
mation on the spot, and finding out its favourite 
haunts. They had already been out a couple of 
days but had not succeeded in coming across 
it, and had only heard that morning that a coolie 
on the Moyar Coffee Estate, some fifteen miles 
away, had been carried off the previous day by the 
brute, and they were now hurrying to get off while 
the scent was warm. I had a new Westley- 
Richards with me, a recent purchase in Madras, 
and was anxious to try its qualities on big game, 
but the time at my disposal was not enough to 
permit of my joining them. In such company 
I believe I would have faced a dozen tigers, as both 
were deadly shots, and as cool as cool could be 
under the most exciting circumstances. Wishing 


them all success I saw them off and then went 
on to the village to induce the transit drivers to 
supply bullocks for the next two stages, there 
being none available at the station five miles off, 
the men having deserted owing to fear of the 
tiger. I pointed out to the men that with two 
such noted shikarees as Kaye and Ward before 
us there was nothing to fear as they were certain 
to account for the tiger if it was about. After 
much persuasion I managed to procure two 
drivers and two sets of bullocks, one to yoke 
to the coach and the other to follow behind, 
to drag from the next station. It was about 
four in the afternoon when we set out, my 
servant on the box beside the driver, and the 
extra pair of bullocks trotting close behind the 
keeper at their heels urging them on. To inspire 
confidence I had my double Westley-Richards in 
my hand, having carefully loaded it with an extra 
charge of powder, ready for contingencies. Keeping 
a bright look-out ahead, we were jogging along 
in the hot sun and amid clouds of dust, and hoped 
to get to the changing station in a few minutes. 
I had been chaffing the driver as to the man-eater, 
and asked him where it had got to ? Was he 
alarmed now ; and had he not done wisely in coming 
with me ; when suddenly with a snort of alarm the 
bullocks behind the transit galloped to the front 
and went tearing along with tails erect. Turning to 
learn what had alarmed them, I saw an enormous 
brute of a tiger slouching off in the brushwood 
beside the road, with the unfortunate bullock 


driver in its mouth ! It held him by the neck 
and his legs were dragging on the ground as it 
was stealing off. I rapidly cocked my rifle, and 
placing the stock to my shoulder took a rough 
aim and pulled off both triggers, as I hoped 
that even if I missed the tiger, the sudden 
report would make him drop his victim. Snap ! 
snap ! went both barrels, and I found I had 
not capped the gun (this was in the days 
before breech-loaders were in common use). By 
this time the bullocks yoked to the transit had 
also taken the alarm and were dashing away 
after their companions and no amount of tugging 
at the reins would stop them in their wild flight. 
It was fully a mile before they could be brought 
under control and then no amount of persuasion 
or threats would induce either my servant or the 
driver to go back with me to try and recover the 
body of the poor fellow carried off by the man- 
eater. That he was dead there could be no doubt, 
as his neck must have been broken by the first 
bite of those tremendous jaws. Probably the brute 
would have begun his gruesome meal ere this, 
but still there was a chance of recovering some 
portion of his body. The next best thing to be 
done was to hurry on and try and overtake Messrs. 
Kaye and Ward and bring them back to the scene 
of this dreadful adventure. I felt that I had 
indirectly been the cause of the man's death, as 
it was my representation that had induced him 
to come with me. We hurried on till we came 
to a small hamlet on the southern skirts of the 


forest, the inhabitants of which had securely 
fastened their doors at dusk, as this tiger had been 
known to enter a village and carry off a woman 
who was drawing water from a well. We learned 
from the villagers that the Government tiger 
slayers had left the road and taken a short cross 
cut to Moyar. While in converse with the villagers 
a transit from Ooty drew up, and in it were two 
officers of the 6oth Rifles on their way to Bandypore 
to look up the famous tiger. My tale was soon 
told, and after a hasty meal we set out for the spot 
where the driver was carried off. We had to do 
the driving ourselves as the natives were too 
frightened to sit on the box alone. We camped 
at the deserted transit station and were out 
betimes next morning, but nothing could be 
found of the body, nor were there any traces 
of the tiger. We searched all that day and 
part of the next, but no tiger, nor any signs of 
the unfortunate man's body could we see. Leaving 
the officers to continue the hunt the transit was 
once more turned to the Ooty direction, I driving, 
and my servant inside (the driver had decamped 
the previous day). I was in hopes of getting a 
change of bullocks and new driver at Seegor, 
and was driving along slowly when we arrived 
at a large stream (the Moyar river) about two in 
the afternoon. My servant asked me to stop 
a little as he wished to obtain a drink at the river. 
There is a fine masonry bridge of several arches 
over the stream, and on this I stopped the coach 
to allow my boy to quench his thirst. He had 


barely been away a minute when he came hurrying 
back, and in a trembling voice told me the tiger 
was in the river with all his body in the water, 
and merely his head out. Telling him to hold the 
bullocks by their nose-strings I got my Westley- 
Richards, this time careful to see it capped, and 
stealing to the parapet and peeping over saw, 
sure enough, the enormous head of a tiger just 
protruding out of the water. Luckily it was 
looking in a direction opposite to that from 
which we had come and the noise of the stream 
had prevented its hearing our coach- wheels. 
Taking careful aim at the head I fired, keeping 
the other barrel ready if I required to use it. 
With a convulsive movement forward, that brought 
its body half out of the water, the tiger fell 
never to rise again, the ball having gone (as 
I afterwards saw) clean through the brain. Waiting 
for some time to make sure the beast was not 
foxing nor merely stunned by the shot, and finding 
no movement in the body, we unyoked the bullocks 
and fastened them to a tree, and then went down 
to examine my kill. It was a magnificent male 
tiger, one of the largest I have seen, and in splendid 
condition. There were no marks of mange about 
the skin to show that it was a man-eater the 
popular idea being that eating human flesh causes 
the tiger to become mangy ; this, like many other 
popular beliefs, is incorrect, as I learned by later 
experience, some of the finest skins being those of 
man-eaters. With the greatest difficulty I and 
my servant were just able to drag the body out 


of the water, and there I had to leave it till my 
servant returned with a cart from Seegor. The 
villagers of Seegor on arrival pronounced the tiger 
to be the man-eater of Bandypore, but this I was 
not inclined to credit as I then believed in the 
mange theory. However, I allowed them to carry 
the body in triumph to Seegor, where certain cere- 
monies were performed by the village priest over 
the dead tiger's body. On careful measurement 
before skinning, the length from tip of tail to snout 
was ten feet two inches. After skinning the length 
was nearly eleven feet. I wrote to the Collector 
of Coimbatore relating the circumstance of the kill, 
and some two months later received a letter of 
thanks and a Government reward of two hundred 
rupees for having unwittingly shot the man-eater 
of Bandypore. 



IT is unaccountable the taste some men have for 
odd pets. I knew a man in the Railway at Coopum, 
in the fifties, who had a rock-snake or boa for a 
pet. He was an assistant on construction at the 
time the Madras Railway was being built from 
Jollarpett to Bangalore, and the snake was taken 
in a large-sized mouse-trap with a falling door. The 
snake was known to take shelter in a natural fis- 
sure in the rocks that abound on the ghauts near 
Coopum, and the trap was set near its entrance and 
baited with a live fowl. The snake was found within 
the trap next morning and the fowl had disappeared, 
probably down the snake's throat. My friend trans- 
ferred the snake to a rabbit hutch and there at- 
tended to it himself until it got quite tame and 
allowed him to handle it freely. He would take it 
out and fold it round his neck like a comforter, or 
stretch it out at arm's length, when it would wind 
itself round his arm. Its length when caught was 
nearly five feet, but it grew very quickly on the 
diet of eggs and young chickens that it got twice 
a week, and in six months' time, it was quite six 
feet and weighed fifty pounds. After a time it was 
allowed to roam the house at will when its master 



was within doors, and only caged when he was at 
work. It appeared to know him well and recog- 
nised his voice, as it would protrude its tongue on 
his approach and raise its head. 

There was nothing it more dearly loved than to 
nestle under the blankets near my friend's chest, 
in the cold days of December and January. It was 
a long time before his dogs would take to it, but a 
little terrier soon made friends and then the others 
tolerated it all except Fan, a fine spaniel, which 
could never be persuaded to allow the snake to 
approach her. There seemed to be reason in this 
antipathy, for some time after Fan had a litter of 
four puppies, and one morning when the master 
was having his breakfast and the boa was loose as 
usual, Fan left her puppies a moment and went 
into the breakfast room, on the chance of getting a 
scrap. Shortly after she set up a tremendous 
barking, and on going out to see what was the 
matter, my friend found the boa coiled up in Fan's 
corner, and two of her puppies missing. The 
boa was in disgrace for some time after, and not 
allowed out of its hutch. 

Visitors were chary of approaching my friend's 
house, and always stopped at the gate and shouted 
out, " Put away your d d snake " before ven- 
turing within doors. Its presence also kept away 
the natives, and few of the domestic servants would 
go near it. When carefully fed it was perfectly 
harmless and slept away the most of its existence. 
During the time it shed its outer skin it would take 
no food for about a month, but would constantly 


rub itself against any rough substance in order to 
assist in peeling off the exterior gauze-like mem- 

Leopards were common about Coopum and proved 
a great nuisance, as they carried off a great number 
of my friend's dogs. One night the little fox- 
terrier that had first struck up a friendship with the 
boa was asleep near the steps of the verandah, the 
snake was coiled up near it, and my friend was in 
his office-room getting through some correspondence 
when he heard a sharp " yap ! " (the sound a dog 
emits when seized by the neck by a leopard). He 
at once recognised the sound and knew that one of 
his dogs had been seized by a leopard. Rapidly 
picking up his gun which stood loaded in a corner 
of the room, he hurried out and heard a tremendous 
row in the verandah, as if a dozen cats were engaged 
in deadly strife. In the imperfect light he could 
see a dark mass wriggling about, and fancying it 
was the leopard, he fired two shots at it. When 
lights were fetched, he found "Tricks," the little 
fox-terrier, quite dead with a dreadful bite on the 
neck, and a small-sized leopard still in the coils of 
the boa and nearly dead from the gunshots. With 
some difficulty the snake was made to uncoil, and 
it was then found that my friend's shots in the dark 
had also seriously wounded the snake. It had 
probably seen the leopard attack the terrier, and 
had flung itself on the leopard, and would have in 
all probability squeezed it to death had not my 
friend unfortunately shot both. It died in the 
course of the day. 



Lieutenant Frere, a son of Sir Bartle Frere, who 
was well known in Bangalore twenty or thirty years 
ago, had an enormous tame hyaena. This he picked 
up when a very tiny cub on the Agram plains one 
field day, and brought it up on the " bottle " until 
it was large enough to eat meat, when it shared 
their food with his dogs. It grew up quite tame 
and apparently much attached to its master, as it 
whined sorrowfully whenever he left it. Nothing 
pleased it better than to accompany him in his 
walks. It would trot close to his heels, and no 
amount of barking or baying by dogs would make 
it leave its position. It made a splendid pet, 
but for its insufferable odour, which repeated 
tubbing could not remove. The enormous power of 
its jaw was amply verified by the way it would 
crush up and swallow the largest beef-bones. It 
was thought so tame and harmless that it was 
left always loose and only chained up when Frere 
went to parade, to prevent its following him. 

One morning he was strolling along the ride on 
South Parade with the hyaena at his heels when a 
native ayah with a perambulator passed. With- 
out a moment's warning the hyaena sprang at her 
and tore her cloth, when Frere rushed up and 
struck it repeatedly with a light walking cane he 
had with him. The hyaena left the woman and 
attacked its master furiously, seized him by the 
forearm, and would have probably done him serious 
mischief had not Mr. L. been passing that way and 
seen the attack. He at once rushed up and with 
a stout stick he had with him. brained the creature. 


Snakes and hyaenas are strange pets, but strangest 
of all is a full-grown tiger, and such a pet had Major 
Mansell-Pleydell. It used to be chained up just 
in front of the door of his bungalow. The Major 
had a method of running up bills with local trades- 
men, but there was great difficulty in getting pay- 
ment, as none of the bill collectors were venturesome 
enough to cross the guardian at the door. It was 
a great joke of the Major's when asked to pay his 
bill to reply, " have you sent your bill; your man 
has never presented it at my house/' Brutus, 
as the tiger was named, seemed to know what was 
required of him. When chained before his master's 
door he would lie with his head between his fore- 
paws and watch the gate. If a stranger entered 
he would lift his head and breathe heavily, and this 
was enough to scare the most venturesome of bill 

Pleydell and another were out shooting at Arsi- 
keri (before railway times) and Brutus went with 
them. The scrub jungle making up the Amrut 
Mahal Kavals, to the south of the village, was a 
noted place for tiger. The native shikarees had 
marked down four of these dreaded beasts a tiger 
and tigress with two well-grown cubs. In the 
morning's shoot Pleydell had been very success- 
ful, and had bagged the mother and two cubs before 
breakfast, within a mile of the travellers' bungalow. 
The tiger w r as still about, and they made up their 
minds to try and get him before night. Brutus 
was chained up before leaving. Pleydell and his 
friend, each with a shikaree and beaters, had taken 


different routes. The friend had been very un- 
successful and was returning to the bungalow in no 
good humour, when the skikaree pointed out a large 
tiger just off the path, evidently watching some- 
thing in the distance. It was but a moment's work 
to bring his rifle to his shoulder and let the tiger 
have one in the chest ; as it bounded forward 
a second shot fair in the head sent it over quite 
dead. Rushing forward to view his triumph, he 
saw Brutus Pley dell's pet dead before him ! 



" How long, oh Sahib ! how long are thy servants 
to be food for the tiger ? Are you not our father and 
mother, and we, servants of the Great Queen ? Can 
you not tell the Dipty Sahib or the Lot Sahib, and 
proclaim by beat of drum in the three thanas of 
Chorporan, Koderma and Gay a that the agrarees 
(charcoal-burners) are not to be eaten of tigers ? 
What have we done that we, who share the forests 
with the wild beasts, who burn charcoal and collect 
iron-sand for our smelting furnaces in the most 
lonesome parts of the jungle, should now be 
debarred from pursuing our daily avocations by 
this son of shaitan (devil). It mattered not when 
he killed the cheating golas (herdsmen), who 
watered our milk and sold curds that had 
gone bad ; or even the evil-smelling chamar 
(the lowest caste in the native village, whose 
perquisite it is to have all cattle killed by 
tigers, or which have died from disease), who 
robs the tiger of half his kill, and even eats 
that which Mahadev has slain. Had I not given 
Kadun, the Poojaree, two white cocks to be sacri- 
ficed at the shrine of the Great Mother, when Bola 
was taken by the tiger, and then did not we charcoal- 


burners subscribe and buy a kassee (he-goat) when 
Moortah fell a victim ? No later than bazaar-day 
we got two pigs from Chirala and sacrificed at 
Kali's shrine, and yet at noon this very day my 
own mother's sister's son was taken at Bageetand 
by the devil and son of a devil." 

Such was the tale of Jiban shikaree and char- 
coal-burner poured out in disjointed phrases on 
my arrival at camp after a few days' absence. 

Many is the fine haunch of venison, plump pea- 
fowl and smaller game of sorts that Jiban has sup- 
plied for my larder, and many is the chat I have 
had with him on the habits of wild beasts, with 
which he is familiar ; his days being spent in char- 
coal-burning and many of his nights in sitting be- 
hind a light screen of branches at some forest pool 
that wild animals frequented. He was a little bit 
given to exaggeration, but withal truthful ; hence 
it was that I gave more attention to his story of 
the famous man-eating tiger that was doing so 
much damage to human life in the police thanas of 
Koderma, Chorporan and Gaya. This brute made 
his first human kill in March, and since that 
date no fewer than twenty-seven persons have 
been carried off in the three above-named police 
circuits within three months this is the record 
even among famous man-eating tigers. Natives 
say that the number is even higher, and that it 
is the invariable custom of this ferocious brute 
to kill and devour a human being every other day, 
and that many of these cases are not reported to 
the police, 


Bageetand has gained an unenviable reputa- 
tion, as from here no fewer than four people 
have been carried off within the last few 
months. Three golas (cattle herdsmen) were 
cutting brambles for fencing in some low scrub 
not far from Bageetand bungalow about midday. 
One of these fancied he heard a low cry from the 
direction in which his fellows were working. He 
called to him several times, and, receiving no re- 
sponse, he and his fellow gola went in search of their 
comrade, when they saw a large tiger carrying off 
the man. They at once raised a shout and bolted 
to Koderma to inform the European residents there. 
Several gentlemen and a gang of coolies searched 
the locality, and in a dry water-course they found 
the body of the gola, one thigh and all the lower part 
of the belly having already been eaten. The tiger 
had seized the man by the back of the neck, so 
that death must have been almost instantaneous. 
Here to-day, ten miles away to-morrow, in the 
very opposite direction the next day, he held the 
borderland of the Hazaribagh and Gaya Districts 
in absolute terror so that the natives will not 
go about their usual avocations unless in large 
gangs, and even Europeans go armed when 
visiting their mining blocks. This brute has 
become more and more daring with each suc- 
cessive kill, and he has lately taken men from 
the middle of a gang. Very recently five natives 
were going along the forest road from Koderma 
to Rajowlee. The road winds through some low 
scrub before it enters the Reserved Forest of 


Koderma. The fourth in the line of coolies was 
a man with a black umbrella over his head. His 
wife, with an infant child on her hip, was following. 
The foremost coolie fancied he saw something 
move behind a felled tree some distance ahead. He 
thought nothing more of the circumstance until he 
had passed the tree, when he heard a scream from 
the woman, who was standing in the middle of the 
road, with her child at her feet, shouting : " The 
tiger ! The tiger ! See ! See ! " There, sure 
enough, was the tiger carrying off the man with the 
umbrella, which he still grasped in his hand ; the 
open umbrella catching in the brushwood and im- 
peding the progress of the tiger. The men raised 
a shout, and moved a few paces in the direction 
of the brute, when it dropped its prey and turned 
on the men, snarling ferociously, which at once put 
them to flight. One of the men remarked that the 
tiger had lost its left ear and its eyesight appeared 
defective, as if it had been wounded by a charge of 
shot. It is of large size and of a light tawny colour. 
Hitherto it has baffled all the attempts of Euro- 
pean and native shikarees to shoot it. So great 
has been the loss of human life, and so great the 
terror this man-eater has inspired in the neighbour- 
hood, that it behoves the Government to take 
special measures to destroy it. 

Jiban's tale was true as regards the peculiarities 
of this brute. At first he took to killing and eating 
only golas. Jiban says that it was because the 
golas always smell of |' cattle a common food of 
tigers and that this odour attracted him at first. 


As golas grew more wary and kept out of his haunts, 
he tried a chamar or two. He has now taken to 
agragrees (iron smelters and charcoal-burners), and 
his last six kills have been among these men ; hence 
Jiban's appeal to me. Jiban's ideas of the power 
of the Government are great. By mere beat of 
drum the tiger can be debarred from slaying 
charcoal-burners. Apparently the report that this 
man-eater is of defective vision is correct, as only 
a few days ago, some coolies were returning from 
work at dusk, and one of the women had a bundle 
of wood on her head. The tiger sprang out of a 
thicket at the woman and seized the bundle of wood, 
with which he went crashing down the khud, growl- 
ing ferociously the while. The coolies all bolted 
while the tiger was engaged with this novel prey, 
and no damage was done. One more instance of 
this brute's cunning. About six weeks ago a wood- 
cutter was engaged felling a semul tree within a 
hundred yards of the village of Pardiah. The time 
was about midday, and his wife usually took him 
a drink of water at this hour. On arrival at the 
tree she found only his axe, and noticed a few drops 
of blood on the ground. She raised an alarm, and 
the whole of the men employed at the mines turned 
out with drums, empty kerosine tins, spears, lathis, 
etc. All the European employes turned out also 
with guns. The whole of the forest near the village 
was beaten over, but no signs of the brute or his 
kill were found. Next day some vultures were seen 
alighting in a field in the immediate vicinity of 
the village. This was searched, and the poor 


victim's head, hands, and feet were found. The 
tiger had evidently taken the body among the 
tall corn-stalks and calmly devoured him while 
the beat was still going on in the forest. 

3 oi 


MOST of those who travel by the East Indian Rail- 
way, know of Simultala as a picturesque little sta- 
tion at the head of the only ghaut along this other- 
wise almost dead level of a railway. From Gidhour 
to Simultala the line winds and twists over steep 
gradients among low hills covered with scrub forest, 
which stretch away north and south as far as the 
eye can see. From Monghyr on the north to Hazari- 
bagh on the south, this belt of forest extends for 
more than two hundred miles. Its width is not 
much more than ten miles. 

The scrub forest between Gidhour and Simultala 
is infested with tigers of the most dangerous type- 
man-eaters. More persons have been carried off and 
devoured by tigers between Gidhour and Simultala 
than in any other locality -of similar size in all India. 
Mention is made of this tiger-infested tract in the 
Ain-i-Akbari, the revenue collectors of the Mogul 
Emperor Akbar being unable to collect the land tax 
for fear of man-eating tigers. Over three hundred 
persons are known to have been carried off by tigers 
in the country around Gidhour and Simultala 
during the last ten years. Skirting the densely 


populated and highly cultivated lands of South 
Behar, this forest is resorted to by the villagers 
for firewood, and while engaged in felling brush- 
wood and tying it into bundles, they fall easy vic- 
tims to the tigers that abound in this jungle. Last 
year no fewer than thirty-eight persons were de- 
voured by one of these brutes, and so great was the 
terror he inspired that the woodcutters abandoned 
their calling, and the price of firewood went up 
several hundredfold in this neighbourhood. The 
villagers subscribed a sum of three hundred rupees 
and offered it as a reward for the destruction of this 
notorious man-eater. He was credited with ab- 
normal powers. He was said to be many times the 
size of ordinary tigers and to be beautifully marked. 
He was also thought to be mad, as he would wan- 
tonly destroy cattle, killing five and six in a herd 
at one time. It is well known that tigers, as a 
rule, will kill one or at most two of a herd at one 
time, or just enough to last them for food for a 
week. It does not matter if the carcase becomes 
putrid, as apparently the tiger likes his meat 
" high." It is rare that the " kill " will last a 
week as vultures, jackals and crows devour all 
they can during the absence of the tiger. The 
Gidhour man-eater seemed to kill for the mere 
pleasure of killing, and on one occasion he destroyed 
in the afternoon four large milch buffaloes belonging 
to a small zemindar, but left their carcases un- 

Human beings were his favourite food, and to 
get at his prey he has been known to stalk them 


for miles. Owing to his depredations, it was diffi- 
cult to get cultivators to remain in the rice 
fields after dusk, so that much of the crops 
were destroyed at night by deer and pigs. The 
zemindar above alluded to, with considerable diffi- 
culty, managed to get a Kol and his wife from the 
Karagpur hills to watch his fields by night. A 
high platform on slender poles was erected in the 
centre of the field, and on this the Kol and his wife 
took up their quarters at dusk. The night being 
cold in winter, the pair had with them an earthen 
pot filled with fire and a supply of firewood to last 
the night. They had scarcely taken their places 
on the platform before a large tiger made his appear- 
ance, and walking up to the machan began sniffing 
round and round. Apparently he had not seen 
the couple, but had followed them up by scent, 
as he walked round and round the platform making 
larger circles in his hunt for the lost trail and re- 
peatedly came back and sniffed at the poles of the 
frail edifice on which the pair were crouching in 
helpless terror. After a time he realised that his 
prey was on the platform above, and rearing him- 
self on his hind legs he tried repeatedly to pull down 
the shaky fabric, but the slender poles gave him no 
foothold, so that he could not climb on to the struc- 
ture, which was just beyond his reach. The hours 
went by, and time and again he renewed his efforts 
to pull down or climb the machan. The moon rose 
late and the occupants were in hopes that with the 
moon, the tiger would take his departure. The 
moon was in her zenith and the tiger had ceased his 


efforts for some time, which emboldened the Kol 
to peer over the edge of the platform, when the 
tiger rushed forward with a fierce snarl and re- 
doubled his efforts to climb the poles. Reared on 
end, the tiger's head was within a few feet of the 
trembling pair, and they could feel and smell his 
hot foetid breath as he snarled at the Kols above. 
Fearing that the structure would give way under the 
renewed efforts of the tiger, the man set about devis- 
ing some means of getting rid of their dangerous 
assailant. His wife suggested that they should 
heat the piece of iron which forms the cutting part 
of a ploughshare which they had luckily taken up 
with them, and throw it on to the tiger's face when 
next he reared himself. The suggestion was good, 
and the fire was replenished with extra wood and 
blown to a brisk flame. Soon the iron was red hot, 
and when the tiger with open jaws again tried to 
claw them off their perch the Kol dropped the 
fuming metal straight into the gaping mouth of the 
tiger. With a fierce howl of rage and pain the 
tiger rushed away, and crouching down among some 
bushes, he kept groaning in pain and tried with his 
paws to soothe the burnt portion. This he kept up 
till late in the morning, and it was only when other 
cultivators arrived in a body to reap the corn that 
he went off into the forest. None of the native 
shikarees would venture into the forest to hunt this 
brute so great was their dread of his prowess. Even 
the few European sportsmen from Calcutta who 
tried to bag him failed in their efforts. The land- 
lords were losing heavily, as not only was the 


royalty on firewood gone, but even the fields were 

One day a mild-looking native called on the 
zemindar of Sheikpura who was a heavy loser by 
the depredations of the tiger, and offered to trap 
him, if he was given the promised reward. Eventu- 
ally a bargain was struck that the man should get 
one hundred rupees, and that all expenses of con- 
structing the trap should be borne by the villagers. 
The man disappeared for a day or two saying he 
was going to watch the tiger and find out its habits 
and the places it most frequented. On his return 
he asked that a ring fence, some twenty feet in 
diameter, of strong poles should be constructed at 
a point he indicated near a water-course. At one 
point the fence was open for about five feet and 
parallel walls of poles made a passage some thirty 
feet long, leading into the ring fence. Within the 
ring and near to the entrance he constructed a huge 
pit twelve feet long, eight feet wide and twelve feet 
deep. All the earth from this pit was carefully 
removed to some distance. Over the mouth of this 
pit he pegged down a cloth of sufficient size to cover 
it, and over this he strewed leaves. Beyond this 
pit and within the fence he securely fastened a 
buffalo to a stake, so that it could be plainly seen 
from the passage, but could not be got at, without 
crossing the pit. Before baiting his trap, he asked 
that no cattle should be allowed near the forest, 
and that the villagers should keep away, so that the 
tiger would be without food for some time. He 
then baited his trap with the live buffalo, and 



all went off till next day. It was found in the 
morning that a tiger had been round and round 
the trap, but had not entered the fence. The man 
was not disheartened. He said he was now certain 
of his foe, as the tiger was sure to come back if he 
did not kill elsewhere. A second night passed and 
the villagers again hastened to the trap, and there 
crouching in a corner of the pit was a tiger of the 
largest size, growling and snarling furiously at the 
sight of his human foes. In rushing to seize the 
buffalo he had to cross the pegged cloth, which gave 
way to his weight and hurled him into the pit. 
Immediately the joyful news went round, the 
villagers assembled in their thousands and made 
the forest ring with their shouts of exultation, 
and abuse of the tiger and his relatives for 
several generations. The magistrate was com- 
municated with, and he thought the catch so 
good that the tiger ought to be sent to the 
Calcutta Zoo. There was no doubt it was the 
terrible man-eater, as the marks of the burn 
inflicted on it by the Kol were plainly visible. 

The Zoo authorities sent up a portable cage on 
wheels. An inclined plane was cut leading from" the 
exterior of the ring fence to the bottom of the pit 
and the cage, with door toward the pit, was gradu- 
ally lowered. On nearing the pit the door was shut 
and the men from inside the cage cautiously worked 
through the bars until the intervening earth was 
removed. On the barrier of earth being removed, 
the tiger rushed furiously at the iron bars, but the 
stout iron resisted all his efforts. When all was 


ready the door was cautiously raised and the tiger 
hustled with long spears. He made for the open 
door, which was dropped on his entrance, and the 
famous Gidhour man-eater was now a close prisoner. 
Hundreds of willing hands took hold of the ropes 
attached to the cage and drew it amid resounding 
shouts to the surface. The old women and the 
village children assembled in crowds, and throwing 
pebbles at the tiger invited him to come now and 
eat them. " We will singe your whiskers and burn 
your tail, you coward/' shouted they. This was 
kept up till the Gidhour station was reached, quite 
a multitude of persons joining the cortege, until the 
cage, with its contents, was safely entrained and 
on the way to Calcutta. Visitors to the Zoo at 
Alipore may still see this dreaded brute, a label on 
the cage giving the necessary information to 
identify him. 







(Author of " Through <Asia," etc. 

With 420 Illustrations from Drawings and Photographs, Eight Full-page Coloured 
Illustrations from Paintings, and Five Maps, mostly by the Author. 




BY X ^J) 


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