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,rz   DAXAKAS NEVER EAT IT   [CHAP. vr.

there had been plenty of game about, and when the spoors of a month old were perfectly distinct, yet no tracks led to the salt which hung down like stalactites from the rock, from one to twenty feet above the ground, at a place where a small brack-spring dribbles over it, and which was perfectly accessible, and in full view

The Ovampo were very quiet and sociable; they always seemed to make a point of giving orders in a low tone of voice, and if possible aside. They can count, for they explained to me at once the number of Nangoro's wives, one hundred and five, using their fingers rapidly to show the number. They also counted my oxen as quickly as I could have done it myself. The next day we returned with them, and on the morrow reached my werft. The Ovampo traders then separated into bands, and went about the country bartering. Chik alone remained behind and received such oxen as were from time to time sent him. He spent most of his time with me, and told me a great deal about the Ovarnpo and Nangoro. We found that it would require more than a fortnight's steady travel to get there. My cattle were becoming very thin, and I could ill spare the three weeks that the Ovampo kept me waiting. The grass on this side of the Omoramba was different to that an the other, and the sheep fell off sadly from the change of food, and were hardly worth eating; their tails once so full of luscious fat, as is the case with all African sheep, were now reduced to cords. There was no game about for us to shoot, and the steady consumption of an ox in every three days told heavily upon my slaughter-cattle. Chapupa would not sell me anything. I think he dared not for fear of offending his old customers-the Ovampo-and the market was not extensive enough for all of us. I therefore saw clearly that my headquarters had no chance of being removed rurther to the north unless I met with a sufficiency of game in Ovampoland to support my party, or unless my articles of exchange would buy me an abundance of provisions there. I exhibited all that I had to Chik, and he told me what to take, and what to leave behind ; but showed very little rapture about anything except some red beads and some bars of iron. At my request he arranged a present for Nangoro. An ox was essential, then a handful of red Leads, and I added my steel-scabbarded sword, a looking-glass, and a

few other things. I took the great crown, but said nothing about it.


* I am informed that certain New Zealand tribes not only eat without salt, but actually look upon it with distaste and aversion.