THE TROOP OF BUFFALOES 165
soon returned to their new hives, where the queen was, and settled there.
Having now discovered that the tree was almost entirely hollow, I intended to make my staircase inside it. I first fixed in the centre the trunk of a tree completely stripped of its branches, in order to carry my winding staircase round it. On the outside of this trunk and the inside of our own tree, we cut niches to hold the boards which would make steps. I made another hole to serve as a window, and larger ones to form doors at the top and bottom. I fixed the windows taken from the captain's cabin in the smaller holes. But all this took a long time, and many things happened during its progress.
To the boys' delight Flora presented us with two puppies. A few days later the two she-goats gave us two kids, and our sheep five lambs, so that now we had quite a flock.
Next to the winding stairs, my chief occupation
was the young buffalo, whose nose was now quite
healed, so that I could lead it at will with a cord
or stick. I preferred the stick, which answered
the purpose of a bit, and I resolved to break in
this spirited beast for riding as well as drawing.
It was already used to the shafts, and behaved very