CRAP. V.] TOUR OXEN STOLEN. 87
His trading parties kept alongside but far from the sea. There were different points on the route from which it could be seen. The journey to the Ovampo occupied two months (moons). The men stayed one month there and then returned. The Damaras were friendly along that route, and so were they at Omanbonde, but between where we then were and Omanbonde, Omagunde's tribe cut off all communication. He said that the road was very broken, and that I should never get my waggons along it.
An incident occurred in which Kahikene behaved very well to me. One morning three of my best front oxen and another slaughter-ox were gone. They were instantly spoored, and the tracks of Damaras driving them found by their sides. I called Kahikene up and told him that I did not for a moment believe that lie was privy to the theft, but that they were taken from me when under his protection, and that he must get them back. I am sure that he was very much touched by my giving him credit for sincerity, for of late he had been hearing of nothing else but distrust and desertion on eve-y side. He sent instantly after the cattle, and half a dozen of my own Damaras went also. My men returned after a day's absence, as they were afraid of going further, but Kahikene's men had kept to the spoor. Intelligence at length came that three of the four oxen were recovered, and one front ox had been killed ; six thieves were taken and were detained a little distance off till further orders. Kahikene regretted extremely ,the loss of the front ox; he said he knew that it was as disastrous an accident to our team as cutting off a leg is to a man, but that any oxen of his that I chose to take were quite at my service. Then as to what should be done with the thieves ; he looked about him till a stout horizontal bough of one of the large camelthorn trees caught his eye, and he proposed to hang them in a row upon it. Against this scheme I used all my eloquence, as I did not like such strong measures ; at length Kahikene stated the case fairly enough-; he said the thieves had been guilty both to me and to him-to me for the theft, to him for their audacity in taking oxen when I was under his protection; that the punishment due to them for the first part of the matter was my affair, and that I could remit it or not as I. pleased, but that for his part he must vindicate his own rights. I could of course make no answer to this, so he sent men who clubbed or assegaied four of the culprits, but two escaped. I never could learn the full particulars of the matter. Of the two that escaped one was