THE COW AND THE CROCODILE 379
them had become an object of great veneration to the tribes. Every morning her horns were wreathed with fresh flowers, and she had become the sheik or chief-tainess of all the herds, for she had performed the remarkable feat of having caught a crocodile.
It had happened in this way : she had gone to drink at the river, at a place where the banks sloped gradually down to the water's - edge. While she drank, a large crocodile came out and seized her by the nose, with the intention of dragging her down to the water, and there drowning her, according to crocodile custom. Far from this, however, for once he found that he had met his match. The cow being heavy and strong, and the slope of the bank gradual, she succeeded in dragging the crocodile out of the water, and as the creature would not let go its hold, and the cow was equally determined and more powerful, they gradually receded several yards from the water's edge. The natives attracted by the bellowing of the cow, rushed to the rescue, and soon put an end to the combat by despatching the crocodile with their spears. Its head was kept as a trophy, and the cow became a heroine for life.
A bullock on another occasion was less fortunate, or, perhaps, less plucky and determined ; a crocodile having succeeded in dragging it into the water, several times, in its struggles, its body was seen to appear above the surface, its head being held down by its captor. At length nothing was visible but its tail, withing and twisting convulsively in the air, like a snake, till at length that too ceased to move, and disappeared. Presently the dead body rose to the surface, and was seen to float, while the triumphant crocodile swam alongside, contemplating its victim with satisfaction.