« PreviousContinue »
A LAND OF ETERNAL THIRST-THE TANEZROUFT
The Expedition traveled for more than 300 miles across this barren waste without finding any trace of water. A region of sand hills and plains, with frequent rugged outcroppings of rock, it has been referred to as the "country of mysterious disappearances" because of the many travelers who have perished without trace in its terrible sandstorms.
THE SAHARA CLAIMED HIM FOR HER OWN
Caravans crossing the Tanezrouft sometimes miscalculate their water supply or the speed of their camels and often atone for their error with their lives. M. Haardt's party came across several skeletal remains of those who had died from thirst (see text, page 653).
The Harratines are black Saharan Berbers, resulting from an early crossing of Berbers and Sudanese Negroes. They are darker than many of the Negro races, but have all the handsome Berber features and form and are a very proud people.
To lead water from the wells and occasional streams found on the desert, small trenches are dug, which carry the life-giving fluid to the roots of the date palms and other plants. The main trenches are frequently covered over to check evaporation.
dazzling light, stood motionless, its eyes glowing like balls of red fire in the darkness, and it was the work of only a few seconds for M. Poirier to put a bullet squarely between them.
SULTAN BARMOU BOASTS IOO WIVES
Under the escort of 3,000 of Sultan Barmou's Hausa riders, we arrived at Tessawa amid. the noise of tom-toms and trumpets (see page 675).
Barmou is one of the few living men who can claim the possession of 100 wives. He was once a very powerful prince and still maintains a considerable retinue. His wives do nearly everything but breathe and eat for him, from the time of their earliest morning greeting, when they prostrate themselves in the dust, till the end of the day, when they dance for their lord before he retires.
This mighty chief showed us many special favors, even allowing our photographer to visit his harem and obtain motion pictures of the daily life of his interesting household (see page 665).
At Zinder, where we stayed for several
days, we observed an interesting ceremony of the Peuhl tribe, known as flagellation. It is a ritual performed by youths who have reached the age of manhood and who wish to take unto themselves wives.
Before a numerous gathering of women, who sing and clap their hands to the rhythm of tom-toms, the aspirants approach, naked to the waist.
An old man carrying a flexible branch strikes each youth a severe blow on his chest or back, while another venerable member of the tribe crouches at the feet of the candidates to watch their move
A STRANGE REGATTA ON THE KOMA-
Ten or a dozen blows are thus delivered on each boy's bare skin, but he must not move or exhibit any sign of pain, and during the whole of the ordeal must sing a pæan of praise. If he passes successfully this severe test of fortitude he is considered a man among men and is granted all the rights and privileges of his new position (see page 679).