BUSHMAN SPRINGES. [CHAP. IX.
believe in it, and there is surely plenty of room to find something new in the vast belt of terra incognita that lies in this continent.
Of another fabulous monster, the cockatrice, a most widely spread belief exists. The Ovampo, the Bushmen of this place, and Timboo, all protested that there is such a creature, and that they had often seen it. They described it as a snake, sometimes twelve feet long, and as thick as the arm; slender for its length, with a brilliantly variegated skin ; it has a comb on the head exactly like a guinea-fow], but red,
r,d has also wattles; its cry is very like the noise that fowls make ,,then roosting-I do not mean crowing, but a subdued chucking; its bite is highly venomous, and it is a tree snake. I heard an instance of ten cows having been bitten one after the other; they said that sometimes people when on their way home at night hear a chucking in the tree, and think that their fowls have strayed, and as they are peering about under the branches to see where they are, the snake darts down upon them and bites them. It appears to be a particularly vicious snake. I have generally heard it called "hangara." I never heard of its possessing wings.
Since my return I have had my attention directed to a recent book, Mr. Gosse's "Notes of a Naturalist in Jamaica," in which he mentions the prevalence of the same belief there, and relates several reported facts relative to the creature. In the Penny Cyclopredia, under the head cockatrice, many old drawings of these snakes are reproduced, and are worth looking at ; they differ much in character from one another, and seem to have been derived from different originals. I can give no clue to the fable of the cockatrice's eggs.
The Bushmen of 'Tounobis are far superior to the Damaras in the art of catching animals ; their springe is a very simple one. I admired the simplicity of the method by which the antelopes were induced to leap into the middle of it ; an unpractised hand would have made a fence as though he were laying out a steeple-chase course, but the Bushmen simply bend a twig across the pathway, which does not in the least frighten the animal, but which, in the gaiety of his heart, he overleaps. The pitfalls are neatly made ; there is, however, nothing in them which an English gamekeeper would not contrive as well.
I must take this opportunity of explaining to the uninitiated how to set a common gun (as a spring gun), to shoot game in the night. The use of such a contrivance is obvious. Hyenas, perhaps, vex and trouble you night after night, and it is a horrid bore to sit up through