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are branded, generally on the flanks or ribs, with strange large brands,
and are so constantly handled that they are tamer and more gentle than
sheep. I have seen upwards of a thousand head in sole charge of two old
women on foot. These ancient dames drove the beasts in a long file to
water, then turned them quite easily and drove them back again. Opposite
our camp they halted their charges and came to make us a long visit. The
cattle stood in their tracks until the call was over; not one offered
even to stray off the baked earth in search of grasses.

The Masai cattle king knows his property individually. Each beast has
its name. Some of the wealthier are worth in cattle, at settler's
prices, close to a hundred thousand dollars. They are men of importance
in their own council huts, but they lack many things dear to the savage
heart simply because they are unwilling to part with a single head of
stock in order to procure them.

In the old days forays and raids tended more or less to keep the stock
down. Since the White Man's Peace the herds are increasing. In the
country between the Mau Escarpment and the Narossara Mountains we found
the feed eaten down to the earth two months before the next rainy
season. In the meantime the few settlers are hard put to it to buy
cattle at any price wherewith to stock their new farms. The situation is
an anomaly which probably cannot continue. Some check will have
eventually to be devised, either limiting the cattle, or compelling an
equitable sale of the surplus. Certainly the present situation
represents a sad economic waste - of the energies of a fine race
destined to rust away, and of the lives of tens of thousands of valuable
beasts brought into existence only to die of old age. If these matchless
herders and cattle breeders could be brought into relation with the
world's markets everybody would be the better.

Besides his sacred cattle the Masai raises also lesser herds of the
hairy sheep of the country. These he used for himself only on the rare
occasions of solitary forced marches away from his herds, or at the
times of ceremony. Their real use is as a trading medium - for more
cattle! Certain white men and Somalis conduct regular trading
expeditions into Masailand, bringing in small herds of cows bought with
trade goods from the other tribes. These they barter with the Masai for
sheep. In Masai estimation a cow is the most valuable thing on earth,
while a sheep is only a medium of exchange. With such notions it is easy
to see that the white man can make an advantageous exchange, in spite of
the Masai's well-known shrewdness at a bargain. Each side is satisfied.
There remains only to find a market for the sheep - an easy matter. A
small herd of cows will, in the long run, bring quite a decent profit.

The Masai has very little use for white man's products. He will trade
for squares of cloth, beads of certain kinds and in a limited quantity,
brass and iron wire of heavy gauge, blankets and sugar. That, barring
occasional personal idiosyncrasy, is about all. For these things he will
pay also in sheep. Masai curios are particularly difficult to get hold
of. I rather like them for their independence in that respect. I
certainly should refuse to sell my tennis shoes from my feet merely
because some casual Chinaman happened to admire them!

The women seem to occupy a position quite satisfactory to themselves. To
be sure they do the work; but there is not much work! They appear to be
well treated; at least they are always in good spirits, laughing and
joking with each other, and always ready with quick repartee to remarks
flung at them by the safari boys. They visited camp freely, and would
sit down for a good lively afternoon of joking. Their expressions were
quizzical, with a shy intelligent humour. In spite of the apparent
unabashed freedom of their deportment they always behaved with the
utmost circumspection; nor did our boys ever attempt any familiarity.
The unobtrusive lounging presence in the background of two warriors
with long spears may have had something to do with this.

The Masai government is centred in an overlord or king. His orders
seemed to be implicitly obeyed. The present king I do not know, as the
old king, Lenani, had just died at an advanced age. In former days the
traveller on entering Masailand was met by a sub-chief. This man planted
his long spear upright in the ground, and the intending traveller flung
over it coils of the heavy wire. A very generous traveller who
completely covered the spear then had no more trouble. One less lavish
was likely to be held up for further impositions as he penetrated the
country. This tax was called the honga.

The Masai language is one of the most difficult of all the native
tongues. In fact, the white man is almost completely unable even to
pronounce many of the words. V., who is a "Masai-man," who knows them
intimately, and who possesses their confidence, does not pretend to talk
with them in their own tongue, but employs the universal Swahili.




XL.

THROUGH THE ENCHANTED FOREST.


We delayed at V.'s boma three days, waiting for C. to turn up. He
maintained a little force of Wakamba, as the Masai would not take
service. The Wakamba are a hunting tribe, using both the spear and the
poisoned arrow to kill their game. Their bows are short and powerful,
and the arrows exceedingly well fashioned. The poison is made from the
wood of a certain fat tree, with fruit like gigantic bologna sausages.
It is cut fine, boiled, and the product evaporated away until only a
black sticky substance remains. Into this the point of the arrow is
dipped; and the head is then protected until required by a narrow strip
of buckskin wound around and around it. I have never witnessed the
effects of this poison; but V. told me he had seen an eland die in
twenty-two minutes from so slight a wound in the shoulder that it ran
barely a hundred yards before stopping. The poison more or less loses
its efficiency, however, after the sticky, tarlike substance has dried
out.

I offered a half-rupee as a prize for an archery competition, for I was
curious to get a view of their marksmanship. The bull's-eye was a piece
of typewriter paper at thirty paces.[27] This they managed to puncture
only once out of fifteen tries, though they never missed it very widely.
V. seemed quite put out at this poor showing, so I suppose they can
ordinarily do better; but I imagine they are a good deal like our
hunting Indians - poor shots, but very skilful at stalking close to a
beast.

Our missing porter, with the tent, was brought in next afternoon by
Kongoni, who had gone in search of him. The man was a big, strong
Kavirondo. He was sullen, and merely explained that he was "tired." This
excuse for a five hours' march after eight days' rest! I fined him eight
rupees, which I gave Kongoni, and ordered him twenty-five lashes. Six
weeks later he did the same trick. C. allotted him fifty lashes, and had
him led thereafter by a short rope around the neck. He was probably
addicted to opium. This was the only man to be formally kibokoed on the
whole trip - a good testimony at once to C.'s management, the
discrimination we had used in picking them out, and the settled
reputations we had by now acquired.

After C.'s return we prepared to penetrate straight back through the
great rampart of mountains to the south and west.

We crossed the bush-grown plains, and entered a gently rising long cañon
flanked on either side by towering ranges that grew higher and higher
the farther we proceeded. In the very centre of the mountains,
apparently, this cañon ended in a small round valley. There appeared to
be no possible exit, save by the way we had come, or over the almost
perpendicular ridges a thousand feet or more above. Nevertheless, we
discovered a narrow ravine that slanted up into the hills to the left.
Following it we found ourselves very shortly in a great forest on the
side of a mountain. Hanging creepers brushed our faces, tangled vines
hung across our view, strange and unexpected openings offered themselves
as a means through which we could see a little closer into the heart of
mystery. The air was cool and damp and dark. The occasional shafts of
sunlight or glimpses of blue sky served merely to accentuate the soft
gloom. Save that we climbed always, we could not tell where we were
going.

The ascent occupied a little over an hour. Then through the tree trunks
and undergrowth we caught the sky-line of the crest. When we topped this
we took a breath, and prepared ourselves for a corresponding descent.
But in a hundred yards we popped out of the forest to find ourselves on
a new level. The Fourth Bench had been attained.

It was a grass country of many low, rounded hills and dipping valleys,
with fine isolated oaklike trees here and there in the depressions, and
compact, beautiful oaklike groves thrown over the hills like blankets.
Well-kept, green, trim, intimate, it should have had church spires and
gray roofs in appropriate spots. It was a refreshment to the eye after
the great and austere spaces among which we had been dwelling, repose to
the spirit after the alert and dangerous lands. The dark-curtained
forest seemed, fancifully, an enchantment through which we had gained to
this remote smiling land, nearest of all to the blue sky.

We continued south for two days; and then, as the narrative will show,
were forced to return. We found it always the same type; pleasant sleepy
little valleys winding around and between low hills crowned with soft
groves and forests. It was for all the world like northern Surrey, or
like some of the live oak country of California. Only this we soon
discovered: in spite of the enchantment of the magic-protecting forest,
the upper benches too were subject to the spell that lies over all
Africa. These apparently little valleys were in reality the matter of an
hour's journey to cross; these rounded hills, to all seeming only two
good golf strokes from bottom to top, were matters of serious climbing;
these compact, squared groves of oaklike trees were actually great
forests of giants in which one could lose one's self for days, in which
roamed herds of elephant and buffalo. It looked compact because we could
see all its constituent elements. As a matter of fact, it was neat and
tidy; only we were, as usual, too small for it.

At the end of two hours' fast marching we had made the distance, say,
from the clubhouse to the second hole. Then we camped in a genuinely
little grove of really small trees overlooking a green valley bordered
with wooded hills. The prospect was indescribably delightful; a sort of
Sunday-morning landscape of groves and green grass and a feeling of
church bells.

Only down the valley, diminished by distance, all afternoon Masai
warriors, in twos and threes, trooped by, mincing along so that their
own ostrich feathers would bob up and down, their spears held aslant.

We began to realize that we were indeed in a new country when our noon
thermometer registered only 66 degrees, and when at sunrise the
following morning it stood at 44 degrees. To us, after eight months
under the equator, this was bitter weather!

FOOTNOTES:

[27] Eight by ten and a half inches.




XLI.

NAIOKOTUKU.


Next morning we marched on up the beautiful valley through shoulder-high
grasses wet with dew. At the end of two hours we came to the limit of
Leyeye's knowledge of the country. It would now be necessary to find
savage guides.

Accordingly, while we made camp, C., with Leyeye as interpreter,
departed in search of a Masai village. So tall and rank grew the grass,
that we had to clear it out as one would clear brushwood in order to
make room for our tents.

Several hours later C. returned. He had found a very large village; but
unfortunately the savages were engaged in a big n'goma which could not
be interrupted by mere business. However, the chief was coming to make a
friendly call. When the n'goma should be finished, he would be
delighted to furnish us with anything we might desire.

Almost on the heels of this the chief arrived. He was a fine old savage,
over six feet tall, of well proportioned figure, and with a shrewd,
intelligent face. The n'goma had him to a limited extent, for he
stumbled over tent ropes, smiled a bit uncertainly, and slumped down
rather suddenly when he had meant to sit. However, he stumbled, smiled,
and slumped with unassailable dignity.

From beneath his goatskin robe he produced a long ornamented gourd, from
which he offered us a drink of fermented milk. He took our refusal
good-naturedly. The gourd must have held a gallon, but he got away with
all of its contents in the course of the interview; also several pints
of super-sweetened coffee which we doled out to him a little at a time,
and which he seemed to appreciate extravagantly.

Through Leyeye we exchanged the compliments of the day, and, after the
African custom, told each other how important we were. Our visitor
turned out to be none other than the brother of Lenani, the paramount
chief of all the Masai. I forget what I was, either the brother of King
George or the nephew of Theodore Roosevelt - the only two white men
_every_ native has heard of. It may be that both of us were mistaken,
but from his evident authority over a very wide district we were
inclined to believe our visitor.

We told him we wanted guides through the hills to the southward. He
promised them in a most friendly fashion.

"I do not know the white man," said he. "I live always in these
mountains. But my brother Lenani told me ten years ago that some day the
white man would come into my country. My brother told me that when the
white man came travelling in my country I must treat him well, for the
white man is a good friend but a bad enemy. I have remembered my brother
Lenani's words, though they were spoken a long time ago. The white man
has been very long in coming; but now he is here. Therefore I have
brought you milk to-day, and to-morrow I will send you sheep; and later
I will send young men who know the hills to take you where you wish to
go."

We expressed gratification, and I presented him with a Marble fish
knife. The very thin blade and the ingenious manner in which the two
halves of the handle folded forward over it pleased him immensely.

"No one but myself shall ever use this knife," said he.

He had no pockets, but he tucked it away in his armpit, clamped the
muscles down over it, and apparently forgot it. At least he gave it no
further attention, used his hands as usual, but retained it as securely
as in a pocket.

"To-morrow," he promised at parting, "very early in the morning, I will
send my own son and another man to guide you; and I will send a sheep
for your meat."

We arose "very early," packed our few affairs, picked out four
porters - and sat down to wait. Our plan was to cruise for five days with
as light and mobile an outfit as possible, and then to return for fresh
supplies. Billy would take charge of the main camp during our absence.
As advisers, we left her Abba Ali, Memba Sasa, and Mohammed.

At noon we were still waiting. The possibility of doing a full day's
journey was gone, but we thought we might at least make a start. At one
o'clock, just as we had about given up hope, the Masai strolled in. They
were beautiful, tall, straight youths, finely formed, with proud
features and a most graceful carriage. In colour they were as though
made of copper bronze, with the same glitter of high lights from their
fine-textured skins. Even in this chilly climate they were nearly naked.
One carried a spear, the other a bow and arrow.

Joyously we uprose - and sat down again. We had provided an excellent
supply of provisions for our guides; but on looking over the lot they
discovered nothing - absolutely nothing - that met their ideas.

"What _do_ they want?" we asked Leyeye in despair.

"They say they will eat nothing but sheep," he reported.

We remembered old Naiokotuku's promise of sending us sheep, sneered
cynically at the faith of savages, and grimly set forth to see what we
could buy in the surrounding country. But we wronged the old man. Less
than a mile from camp we met men driving in as presents not one, but
_two_ sheep. So we abandoned our shopping tour and returned to camp. By
the time one of the sheep had been made into mutton it was too late to
start. The Masai showed symptoms of desiring to go back to the village
for the night. This did not please us. We called them up, and began
extravagantly to admire their weapons, begging to examine them. Once we
had them in our hands we craftily discoursed as follows: -

"These are beautiful weapons, the most beautiful we have ever seen.
Since you are going so spend the night in our camp, and since we greatly
fear that some of our men might steal these beautiful weapons, we will
ourselves guard them for you carefully from theft until morning."

So saying, we deposited them inside the tent. Then we knew we had our
Masai safe. They would never dream of leaving while the most cherished
of their possessions were in hostage.




XLII.

SCOUTING IN THE ELEPHANT FOREST.


Here we were finally off at dawn. It was a very chilly, wet dawn, with
the fog so thick that we could see not over ten feet ahead. We had four
porters, carrying about twenty-five pounds apiece of the bare
necessities, Kongoni, and Leyeye. The Masai struck confidently enough
through the mist. We crossed neck-deep grass flats - where we were
thoroughly soaked - climbed hills through a forest, skirted apparently
for miles an immense reed swamp. As usual when travelling strange
country in a fog, we experienced that queer feeling of remaining in the
same spot while fragments of near-by things are slowly paraded by. When
at length the sun's power cleared the mists, we found ourselves in the
middle of a forest country of high hills.

Into this forest we now plunged, threading our way here and there where
the animal trails would take us, looking always for fresh elephant
spoor. It would have been quite impossible to have moved about in any
other fashion. The timber grew on hillsides, and was very lofty and
impressive; and the tropical undergrowth grew tall, rank, and
impenetrable. We could proceed only by means of the kind assistance of
the elephant, the buffalo, and the rhinoceros.

Elephant spoor we found, but none made later than three weeks before.
The trails were broad, solid paths through the forest, as ancient and
beaten as though they had been in continuous use for years. Unlike the
rhino and buffalo trails, they gave us head room and to spare. The great
creatures had by sheer might cut their way through the dense, tough
growth, leaving twisted, splintered, wrecked jungle behind them, but no
impediment.

By means of these beautiful trails we went quietly, penetrating farther
and farther into the jungle. Our little procession of ten made no noise.
If we should strike fresh elephant tracks, thus would we hunt them, with
all our worldly goods at our backs, so that at night we could camp right
on the trail.

The day passed almost without incident.

Once a wild crash and a snort told of a rhinoceros, invisible, but very
close. We huddled together, our rifles ready, uncertain whether or not
the animal would burst from the leafy screen at our very faces. The
Masai stood side by side, the long spear poised, the bow bent, fine,
tense figures in bronze.

Near sundown we found ourselves by a swift little stream in the bottom
of a deep ravine. Here we left the men to make camp, and ourselves
climbed a big mountain on the other side. It gave us a look abroad over
a wilderness of hills, forested heavily, and a glimpse of the landfall
far away where no white man had ever been. This was as far south as we
were destined to get, though at the time we did not know it. Our plan
was to push on two days more. Near the top of the ridge we found the
unmistakable tracks of the bongo. This is interesting to zoologists in
that it extends the southward range of this rare and shy beast.

Just at dark we regained our camp. It was built California fashion - for
the first and last time in Africa: blankets spread on canvas under the
open sky and a gipsy fire at our feet, over which I myself cooked our
very simple meal. As we were smoking our pipes in sleepy content,
Leyeye and the two Masai appeared for a shauri. Said the Masai, -

"We have taken you over the country we know. There are elephants there
sometimes, but there are no elephants there now. We can take you
farther, and if you wish us to do so, we will do so; but we know no more
of the country than you do. But now if we return to the manyatta
to-morrow, we can march two hours to where are some Wanderobo; and the
Wanderobo know this country and will take you through it. If it pleases
you, one of us will go get the Wanderobo, and the other will stay with
you to show good faith."

We rolled our eyes at each other in humorous despair. Here at the very
beginning of the reconnaissance we had run against the stone wall of
African indirectness and procrastination. And just as we thought we had
at last settled everything!

"Why," we inquired, "were not the Wanderobo sent at first, instead of
yourselves?"

"Because," they replied, with truly engaging frankness, "our chief,
Naiokotuku, thought that perhaps we might find elephant here in the
country we know; and then we should get for ourselves all the presents
you would give for finding elephant. But the elephant are not here now,
so the Wanderobo will get part of the present."

That was certainly candid. After some further talk we decided there was
no help for it; we must return to camp for a new start.

At this decision the Masai brightened. They volunteered to set off early
with Leyeye, to push ahead of us rapidly, and to have the Wanderobo in
camp by the time we reached there. We concealed somewhat cynical smiles,
and agreed.

The early start was made, but when we reached camp we found, not the
Wanderobo, but Leyeye and the Masai huddled over a fire. This was
exasperating, but we could not say much. After all, the whole matter was
no right of ours, but a manifestation of friendship on the part of
Naiokotuku. In the early afternoon the sky cleared, and the ambassadors
departed, promising faithfully to be back before we slept. We spent the
day writing and in gazing at the vivid view of the hillside, the forest,
and the distant miniature prospect before us. Finally we discovered what
made it in essence so strangely familiar. In vividness and clarity - even
in the crudity of its tones - it was exactly like a coloured photograph!

Of course the savages did not return that evening, nor did we really
expect them. Just as a matter of form we packed up the next morning, and
sat down to wait. Shortly before noon Leyeye and the Masai returned,
bringing with them two of the strange, shy, forest hunters.

But by this time we had talked things over thoroughly. The lure of the
greater kudu was regaining the strength it had lost by a long series of
disappointments. We had not time left for both a thorough investigation
of the forests and a raid in the dry hills of the west after kudu.
Mavrouki said he knew of a place where that animal ranged. So we had
come to a decision.

We called the Masai and Wanderobo before us. They squatted in a row,
their spears planted before them. We sat in canvas chairs. Leyeye
standing, translated. The affair was naturally of the greatest
deliberation. In the indirect African manner we began our shauri.

We asked one simple question at a time, dealing with one simple phase of
the subject. This phase we treated from several different points of
view, in order to be absolutely certain that it was understood. To these
questions we received replies in this manner: -

"Yes, the Wanderobo told us," they knew the forest; they knew how to go
about in the forest; they understood how to find their way in the
forest. They knew the elephant; they had seen the elephant many times in
the forest; they knew where the elephant ranged in the forest - and so on
through every piece of information we desired. It is the usual and only
sure way of questioning natives.

Thus we learned that the elephant range extended south through the
forests for about seven days' travel; that at this time of year the
beasts might be anywhere on that range. This confirmed our decision.
Then said we to Leyeye: -

"Tell the Masai that the bwana m'kubwa is most pleased with them, and
that he is pleased with the way they have worked for him, and that he is


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