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A Rip Van Winkle Of The Kalahari And Other Tales of South-West Africa   By: (1867-1921)

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A RIP VAN WINKLE OF THE KALAHARI AND OTHER TALES OF SOUTH WEST AFRICA

A RIP VAN WINKLE OF THE KALAHARI AND OTHER TALES OF SOUTH WEST AFRICA

SEVEN STORIES

BY

FREDERICK CARRUTHERS CORNELL

CAPETOWN: T. MASKEW MILLER LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN, LTD.

CONTENTS

PREFACE

A RIP VAN WINKLE OF THE KALAHARI INTRODUCTORY I THE BLUE DIAMOND II DEAD MEN IN THE DUNES III THE SAND STORM IV THE PANS AND THE POISON FLOWERS V I LOSE INYATI VI THE CRATER THE PLEASANT BERRIES SLEEP AND THE AWAKENING VII THE COUNTRY OF CRATERS, THE PATH OF SKULLS, AND THE SNAKE VIII THE CATACLYSM THE PRIESTESS "LOOK AND FORGET" IX FORTY YEARS! THE AWAKENING

THE SALTING OF THE GREAT NORTH EASTERN FIELDS, BEING AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF DICK SYDNEY, PROSPECTOR CHAPTER I II III IV V

THE FOLLOWER

THE PROOF

"BUSHMAN'S PARADISE"

"THE DRINK OF THE DEAD"

THE WATERS OF ERONGO

PREFACE

MOST of these stories were written on the veldt; at odd times, in out of the way prospecting camps, in the wilds of the Kalahari Desert, or of that equally little known borderland between Klein Namaqualand, and Gordonia, Cape Colony, and what was at that time known as German South West Africa.

Four of them appeared a few years back in The State an illustrated magazine now unhappily defunct; the others, though written about the same time, have never been published.

And now, time and circumstances have combined to bring the scene in which they are laid most prominently before the public.

Through the dangerous and difficult barrier of the desert sandbelt that extends all along the coast, General Botha and his formidable columns forced their way to Windhuk; from the remote lower reaches of the Orange River other troops steadily and relentlessly pushed north; and even to the east the well nigh unexplored dunes of the southern Kalahari proved no safeguard to the Germans, for Union forces invaded them even there: and all eyes in South Africa are to day turned towards this new addition to the Union and the Empire.

Whilst imagination has naturally played the chief part in these tales, the descriptions given of certain parts of this little known region are accurate, and by no means overdrawn; at the same time, though they treat principally of the dangerous and waterless desert, it must be borne in mind that although the sand dunes form one of Damaraland's most striking features, yet it is by no means altogether the barren, scorching dust heap it is popularly believed to be.

For once the sand region bordering the coast is traversed, and the higher plateau begins, vegetation and water become more abundant, the climate is magnificent, and cattle, sheep and goats thrive; whilst in the north much of which remains practically unexplored there is much fruitful and well watered country teeming with game, and akin to Rhodesia, awaiting the settler.

Mining and stock raising are the two great possibilities in this new country, where water conditions are never likely to allow of extensive agriculture being carried out successfully.

But above all mining! For much of the country and especially the north is very highly mineralized. Copper abounds; tin and gold have been found and there can be but little doubt that the former will eventually be located in abundance and, above all, the diamond fields of the south west coastal belt have since their discovery in 1908 added enormously both to the value of the country and to its attractiveness.

To refer again to these tales; the description of Rip Van Winkle's ride through the desert, the sand storm, the huge salt "pans," and indeed most of the earlier incidents, have been but common place experiences of my own in the wastes of the southern Kalahari, slightly altered for the purposes of the story. Even the "poison flowers" exist there and no Bushman will sleep among them, beautiful as they are... Continue reading book >>




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