240 ELEPHANT SHOOTING
gave an excellent mark, which Baker did not fail to take advantage of. This animal was killed on the spot, and like the other rolled into the river, and boats were sent at once down the stream to tow them both back.
But luckily for the rest of the herd there was no more ammunition left, so the elephants were allowed to climb up the bank without any more disturbance. They took counsel together as to what was best to be done, and at length agreed it was safer to cross to the further side. A few stray shots from a field gun hastened their movements, though the shells burst without touching them, and the whole nine were soon out of reach on the eastern shore.
As for the two which had been killed, the current was so strong that the boats sent after their bodies had to go two miles before they came up with them. Unlike a hippopotamus, which sinks for two hours after he is dead, the elephant always floats, for he is like a great football, on which two or three people can stand. The hippopotamus, on the other hand, is solid all through, and his skin is far thicker and heavier than the elephant's.
The two heads and the tusks were all that Baker wanted, so he was pleased to gratify the villagers who crowded round begging for the meat, which they are very fond of. Hundreds of them came flocking, while some of the tribesmen, who had shown themselves unfriendly, looked on in disgust, watching the preparations for the feast. They were very much awed, too, by the way in which the animals had been killed, and dreading, like all savages, anything they did not understand, they at once sent messengers to beg for peace, which was cheerfully granted them.
Elephants are very particular what they eat, and prefer roots, bulbs, or the branches of trees containing sweet, gummy juiceŚlike mimosaŚto anything else. In their turn their flesh is much prized by the people, partly on account of the fat, which is not only eaten but