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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

My riding camel was taken very ill


Mukak

had six mud rooms, three roofed over and the others unroofed. Water was plentiful but slightly brackish, and a salt rivulet, a few inches broad, irrigated a patch or two of cultivation below the rest house.

Among low hills, we rode away first due east from Mukak, the track at a mile's distance rising to 3,620 feet, and we remained at this altitude for five miles. Again on this march we obtained a glorious view (at 200 deg. b.m.) of the Daftan volcano, with its two imposing white domes on the crater sides. We had then gone north-east for 61/2 miles, when, after rounding some sand hills, our track proceeded again due east.

We had crossed a plain one mile broad and four and a half miles long, where there was good grazing (_regheth_) for camels, but no tamarisk. At the termination of the plateau, which rose some 50 feet higher than the remainder of it, we commenced to descend by a gentle incline, having high hills to our left (north) and low hills to our right (south), the track being due east. To the north-east we had another long, straight, monotonous spread of fine sand and gravel in slight undulations, and to the south-west very low ranges of sand hills varying in height from 20 feet to 100 feet. Before us on our left to 100 bearings magnetic (E.E.S.E.) stood above the plain a pillar-shaped mound of enormous height resembling, from a distance, a semi-ruined tower, and south-south-east (150 deg. b.m.) another

isolated red mountain with a sharp, needle-like point. Other smaller rocks, of sugar-loaf form, were scattered about on our left.

By the roadside an enormous boulder weighing several tons could be seen, the presence of which could not easily be accounted for unless it had been shot out by volcanic action. It was most unlike the formation of the rock in the immediate neighbourhood of it, and had all the appearance of having dropped at this place.

The track again changed its course and now went to east-south-east, (120 deg. b.m.). My riding camel was taken very ill, and even Mahommed's most affectionate language, and the caresses he bestowed on him as if the animal had been his dearest relation, had no appreciable effect upon his health. The animal evidently had a colic, caused, no doubt, by excessive eating of _regheth_ the previous day. He seemed to have the greatest trouble in dragging his legs along, and every now and then he languidly swung his head round and gave me a reproachful look, which undoubtedly meant "Can't you see I am ill? I wish you would get off."

Well, I did get off, although walking in the desert is not a pleasure at any time, and when we arrived at the next well, after a dreadfully slow march, we proceeded to doctor up our long-necked patient.

Now, doctoring a camel is not an easy matter, for one cannot work on his imagination as doctors do on human beings. When a camel is ill, he is really ill. There was no mistake about the symptoms of his complaint, and after a consultation Sadek, Mahommed and I agreed that a strong solution of salt and water should be administered, which was easier said than done. While the poor brute lay with his long neck stretched upon the sand, moaning, groaning and breathing heavily, we mixed a bag of salt--all we had--with half a bucket of water, and after endless trouble--for our patient was most recalcitrant--poured the contents down his throat.

[Illustration: Interior of Rest House, Mukak.]

[Illustration: The Rest House at Sahib Chah.]

We had some moments of great anxiety, for the animal was taken with a fit. He fell on his side, his legs quivered three or four times, and for one moment we really thought our remedy had killed him. The medicine, however, had the desired effect, and about an hour later the camel was again as lively as a cricket, and we were able to continue.


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