The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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ELEPHANT SHOOTING                  243
smeared over their bodies. The ivory tusks are, of course, used as an article of trade.
Along the course of the Zambesi river elephants are to be found in vast herds, or were to be found, sixty years ago, when Livingstone explored that country. One way of killing them is to make platforms high up in the trees, under which the elephants must pass. As soon as the animal is right under the trees a man aims a spear, measuring four or five feet, with a sharp blade twenty inches long, straight at the elephant's ribs, and a well-directed blow causes death very soon. Sometimes they use instead of this a spear fixed to a beam of wood and hung on a dangling cord tied to a tree. The head of the spear is poisoned, and when the animal treads on the cord the spear wounds him in the foot, and he dies in a few hours.
In these regions men are forced to do their hunting on foot, for horses fall victims to the terrible tsetse fly, from whose bite neither ox, horse, nor dog ever recovers, though it never touches either wild animals or men. It is, therefore, very difficult to kill an elephant with one shot placed in the brain, as is done in countries where horses can be used, and, besides, the climate makes hunt­ing a very tiring sport, and only fit for very strong men.
In 1850 a friend of Livingstone's, named Oswell, was tracking an elephant along the banks of a river, and saw him with disgust take refuge in a thicket of thorny bushes, which did not hurt his hard skin, but were very unpleasant to a white man. Here the country was comparatively free from tsetse, so Oswell was riding, and at once put his horse into the narrow path, forcing his way as well as he could through the dense branches. When he was well into the midst of the tangle, keeping his eye steadily fixed on the elephant's tail, the creature turned suddenly round and charged. Oswell tried to break away in another direction, but found it was hope­less, and in leaping from his horse caught his foot in a
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