LION-HUNTING AND LIONS
In the country of the Shoolis. which is one of the districts drained by the rivers that flow into the Nile, hunting is carried on under very strict rules. In most savage places men go and kill what beasts they like when they are hungry, but among the Shoolis this was not allowed, and everything was arranged by a grand council of the villagers, presided over by the chief.
Sometimes, when all was settled, the chief would give a party before the hunt, and as many as a thousand guests would arrive from the villages round, clad in their smartest ostrich feathers and best leopard-skin cloaks. Then they would dine off freshly killed oxen, and afterwards a sorcerer would work them spells, first to preserve them from accidents, and then to bring them plenty of game.
So, when Baker's people began to want fresh meat, he arranged with the chiefs of the tribe for a hunt, and this was how they set about it.
On the day appointed some thousands of people—men, women, and even babies—assembled at the place of meeting, each man carrying a net twelve yards long and eleven feet high, the boys bearing lances, suited to their sizes.
They marched several miles, and as they went along other natives would silently join in, till the company reached a wide treeless grass country, broken up by many streams. Here the nets were set up in a line about