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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Sadek was most unfortunate with animals


[Illustration:

View of Sher-i-Rustam from Rustam's House. (West portion of City under the lee of wall.)]

One sand hill, 80 feet high, quite semi-spherical, and with a solitary tamarisk tree on its top, rising some 40 feet above all the others, was quite a landmark along this route. It marked a point from which to the east of our track we found more uniformity in the shape of the sand mounds, which were lower and all semi-spherical. To the west of the track, curiously enough, there were hardly any sand hills at all,--but this was due, I think, to the fact that tamarisk shrubs did not seem to flourish on the latter side, and therefore did not cause the sand to accumulate.

Several miles further, however, at a spot protected by high sand dunes, tamarisk trees were found growing, some being 4 to 6 feet high, and seeming quite luxuriant after the usual desert shrubs which hardly ever rise above two to three feet.

Sadek had purchased at Warmal two big bottles of milk for my use, but as we had found no good water on the way and the heat of the sun was great, he could not resist the temptation, and had drunk it all. When I claimed it he professed that my cats had stolen it. A long jolting ride on the jumbaz camel produced the marvellous result that, although the cats had drunk the milk, Sadek himself was attacked by indigestion caused by it. He seemed to suffer internal agony, and lay on his camel's

hump doubled up with pain. He felt so very ill that he requested me to take him on my camel, and to let him exchange places with my driver. To my sorrow I consented.

In a moment of temporary relief from the aching of his digestive organs he entered into one of his favourite geographical discussions. Having for the twentieth time eradicated from his brain the notion that London and Russia were not suburbs of Bombay, he now wanted to know whether _Yanki-dunia_ (by which glorified name the Persians call the United States of America) were inside the "walls" of London city or outside!

He had an idea that the earth was flat, and that London, Bombay and Russia were together on the extreme edge of it. The stars he believed to be lighted up nightly, as one would candles or paraffin lamps. Fortunately, while explaining to me his extraordinary theory of how it was that the moon never appeared alike on two successive nights, he was again seized with another fearful attack, and tumbled off the camel.

Sadek was most unfortunate with animals. He was hated by them all. When he went near horses they would kick, buck and neigh as if a wolf had been at hand; mules stampeded at his sight; cats bolted as if he were about to beat them; and camels were restless and made most fearful noises of disapproval and distress at his approach. When he tried to get on and off, the kneeling camel would suddenly spring up again, causing him to fall, and when he did get on the saddle the vicious brutes would assume a most unusual and uncomfortable jerky motion, which bumped him to such an extent that he could not stand it long, and had to get off. The animals evidently did it purposely to get rid of him, for when I got on any of them they went beautifully. Hence, whenever Sadek wished to ride comfortably he always requested to change seats with my driver, who occupied the front seat on the hump of my camel.


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