Abbildungen der Seite

They have songs; some sung with chorus, and others sung in alternate stanzas, by two persons. They have festivals every three months, as at Timbuctoo. They believe that there is one God, and they suppose that both men and women enjoy a happier state of existence after death ; but they do not believe in future ponishments, for they think the wicked receive their punishment in this world.

At Housa there are merchants from Teembo, Bornoo, Moshu, and India. It is also fréquented by people from Jinnie, Bambarra, and the interior countries. Shabeeny bought a tooth of ivory, weighing 200lbs. for 1l. 5s. and sold it in Marocco for 121. 10s.

There are dogs and cats, lice, fleas, and bugs, at Housa ; but no scorpions or snakes. Shabeeny saw po wild animals in the neighbourhood.

After two years residence at Housa, Shabeeny went back to: Timbuctoo, where he remained seven years, and then returned to Tetuan.




The other traveller across the Desert is my friend and conductor Seedy Hamed, whose recital is given in his own name and manner, as he gave it at Mogador. He was a native of the Atlas mountains, near Marocco, but his narrative does not commence till his departure from Wedinoon. The caravan, of which Hamed and his brother Seid formed a part, was composed of about 3,000 camels, and 800 men, armed with muskets and scymitars, and was under the command of a Sheik of the Woled Deleim.

“ We set out from Wedinoon," said Hamed, “ with four good guides. When we had travelled six days to the west, we came to the last mountain, where we stopped ten days, and let our camels feed on the bushes; while half the men were employed in getting wood from the mountain, and burning it into charcoal, which was put into bags, and laid on the camels, over the other goods; then, setting off for the Desert, we mounted up to its level, which is much higher than the country near it to the north. We travelled four days on the hard level, and then among the mountains of sand you saw on your way here: the wind blowing hard, we were six days in getting through them, and were almost covered with the flying sand. After this, the ground was smooth, and almost as hard as the floor of a house, for ten days, when we came to a watering-place called Biblah. Eight of our camels had died on the road, and had served us as food.

“ We stopped at that great well seven days, and then went on to the south-west twenty days, which brought us to another well called Kabeer Jibbel; but there being no water in it, we were obliged to travel six days, to another well, which was close to the sea. The water was black and salt, but after the camels had drank of it, they yielded us some milk, which was almost dried up before: we found, however, nothing for them to feed on; and, for many days, their only food had been charcoal, which was given them once a day. After remaining six days at the well, we travelled near the sea, where we found wells, like that we had left, every ten days. There were very few green leaves on the bushes in the small valleys we saw; for no rain had fallen on that part of the Desert for a long time.

After a journey of four moons, we came to the south part of the Desert, and went down into the country of Sudan, where we found a small stream of running water, some bushes, some grass, and a very large tribe of the Abbusebah Arabs, of whom we bought barley and maize, and made some bread. We lost, on the Desert, more than 300 camels, which perished with hunger, thirst, and fatigue; but we did not lose one man. passage over it, we saw a great many tribes of Arabs, but none strong enough to attack us.

6 We staid with the Woled Abbusebah one moon, to recruit our camels, and then travelled towards the east, on the border of the Sahara,

In our

[blocks in formation]

close to the low country, with mountains in sight, on the south, most of the way; and, in two moons more, we arrived at Timbuctoo. We halted in a deep valley with our caravan, and went, every day, close to the strong walls of the city, to trade with the black men;

who gave us for our goods gum,gold rings, gold-dust, elephant's teeth, fine turbans, and slaves. The little river, that runs close to the wall on the west, was quite dry; and all the people in the city were obliged to fetch water, with asses, from the great river, south of the city about two hours ride on a camel. We also fetched water from the great river, for ourselves, and our camels. I did not enter the city, because I was chosen captain of 200 men, who were appointed to keep guard about the caravan, lest the Arabs, and black men, who hovered round, should carry off the strayed camels. We lost only twenty, during our stay at Timbuctoo; and the sheik gave me, for my trouble, a fine young black female slave, who now lives with my wife. .

“ After staying at Timbuctoo one moon and a half we returned to Wedinoon by the way we had come; that is, first, west, one moon, along the borders of the Desert, and then north-west, for the sea-coast. But, before we struck off to the northward, we stopped in the hill country, and fatted our camels, and burnt charcoal for them to eat by the way. We durst not take any thing without paying for it, because we were afraid of the inhabitants."

This is a candid declaration that possession belongs to the strongest. This wholesome fear is the only motive that could restrain an Arab from plunder, if he were not hired to be honest; and this

fear is a powerful incentive to honesty even among Europeans.

Seedy Hamed continued his narrative as follows:

“After we had prepared our charcoal, and laid in our provisions, we went upon the level Desert, and in three moons and a half we reached Wedinoon, having been absent almost a year and a half. We had lost about 500 camels, that had either died, or been killed to give us meat; and during our stay at Timbuctoo, and on our return home, thirty-four of our men had died: we bad also lost eighty slaves."

The second journey of Seedy Hamed affords the most lively picture of the dangers of the Desert yet presented to Europeans. Other travellers say, “ Such things are;" Hamed says, “I have seen such things.”

“On our second journey,” said the Arab merchant, “ we set out from Wedinoon with about 4,000 camels, and more than 1,000 men, well armed, and commanded by Sheik Seedy Ishrel. We laid in an abundant store of barley, and had a great many milch camels, and it was determined to go south, across the Sahara, nearly on a straight course for Timbuctoo, by the way that the great caravans usually travel; though there had been several destroyed on that route, that is to say, one within every ten or twelve

years. We went to the south, around the bottom of the great Atlas, six days journey ; then we halted close by it, to cut and burn wood for the camels; for the caravans never attempt to cross the Desert without this article. Four hundred camels, that is one in every ten, were laden with provisions and water for the journey; all had plenty of water given

« ZurückWeiter »