OSTRICHES IN THE DESERT 211
and we now saw them waving their plumed hats in the air, and shouting to us to hurry.
' A nest!' they cried, ' an ostrich's nest! Quick —quick!'
We found the two boys standing over a large ostrich-nest—if we can dignify a hole dug in the ground by the name of nest—in which were arranged from twenty-five to thirty eggs, each as large as a child's head.
' Take care,' I said to them, ' don't touch them, for if you do the female will desert her nest.'
However, the boys were so eager to take some home, I allowed each of them to choose one, leaving the rest untouched. They soon repented of their wish, for the eggs were heavy, and they changed their burden from hand to hand, with all the signs of fatigue. I came to their assistance, and advised them to cut some branches from a low sort of pine that grew about the rocks, and make a basket in which to carry their eggs.
My plan succeeded admirably, and the boys began their march without the slightest complaint.
We then arrived at the borders of a swamp; here we could trace the marks of the dogs and the monkey, and recognized this as the place where they had wet themselves. We could see in the