312 GREYHOUNDS & THEIR ARAB MASTERS
the village, and very fine it was ! They seldom went far; the neighbouring woods were full of game, and thanks to the skill and quickness of the dogs, the men had an easy time of it. The leash was slipped, and the dogs dashed into the thickets, and soon re≠appeared, bringing with them all sorts of gameóbustards, guinea-hens, or anything else that they happened to come across. If they spied an antelope, five or six would join to chase him, and it was seldom, indeed, that he got away. At the end of the day the spoil was counted over, and was found to consist of antelopes, hares, birds, and often wild animals, such as pariah dogs or desert foxes.
The greyhounds are the pride of the dwellers in the Kordofan desert, and every man thinks his own dog the most beautiful and clever in the world. This breed is not to be found among the Arabs who live among the marshes that border the Nile, and if by any chance one of the desert highlanders wanders that way with his dogs, one or two are sure to be snapped up by the crocodiles. Those dogs who are born and brought up on the banks of the Nile seldom fall a prey to these terrible creatures. If they are thirsty, they never drink till they have looked carefully up and down to make certain that their dreaded enemy is not lurking close at hand. But the desert dog, who knows nothing about rivers or crocodiles, leaps gaily into the stream, and is dragged underneath by his destroyer.
In the west of the Sahara, dogs, as a rule, are only valued for their uses, and are not treated at all kindly ; but all the care and affection that the Arab has to give, he bestows on the greyhound. His dog is the apple of his eye, and the two almost eat from the same dish, and share the same sleeping mat. A Sahara Arab will travel joyfully twenty or thirty miles to find a suitable wife for his beloved companion.
A really good greyhound is so swift that it can over≠take a gazelle in a very short time; and there is a saying