THE TRAINING OF A WILD ASS 171
I met with by chance, who had found it sometimes the only method when all others had failed.
During the training of our steed, which we named Lightfoot, our hens had given us a crowd of chickens ; forty of these, at least, were chirping and hopping about us, to the great satisfaction of my wife.
This reminded us of a project we had long thought of, namely—to build covered sheds for all our animals. The rainy season, which is the winter of these countries, was drawing near, so we could not delay.
We had plenty of planks at our disposal, and our experience of carpentering enabled us to complete the work without any very great difficulty, though it took some time.
In one of his rambles Ernest had picked some long, flat leaves which he called sword-grass. When I examined these I began to suspect that here was a real treasure ; nothing less than flax, from which we could make the thread of which my wife had felt the need, and from which she could eventually spin linen. The boys willingly returned to the place where Ernest had made his find, and brought back bundles of the precious plant.
But there was much to be done before we could