Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
I had heard many stories about tigers and bad people who are supposed to make some of
these valleys unsafe. One day I had taken a trail that led to nowhere and, when I found out my
mistake, was obliged to return. Unfortunately, towards evening, long before the proper time,
it became dark, and as we were fighting our way up a steep trail in a narrow hollow, a regular
deluge began to fall. Soon the trail was transformed into a roaring stream, making it impos-
sible to move. Before long it was pitch dark and there we were trapped in the hollow, unable
togetoutofitortomove.Presently lightning andthundermade thingsevenmoreunpleasant,
and when I found a spot where the current was not so strong the three of us took refuge there.
I do not know how long I had been leaning against one of the muddy walls that trapped us in
when I heard a noise like some rushing animal, and suddenly I remembered what I had heard
about tigers. The horses also were obviously frightened, for I heard them snort and move. It
was so dark that I could not see an inch, but I was prepared to make a fight for it, and so I
legs, not by a tiger, but merely by earth loosened by the heavy rain, and what I had taken for
the smell of an animal was only the smell of wet, newly loosened earth. Although it had long
before ceased to rain we were still in the same place when the first daylight appeared. I was
wet to the marrow, and I believe the only dry thing within miles was the inside of my watch.
The poor horses were standing with their heads down, fast asleep, but seemingly not in the
the night.
Between two distant settlements part of the trail had been swept away by a landslide, and
I was warned that a man and his mule had fallen down trying to cross. This meant making a
detour of two or three long days, and as I had my doubts about the truth of this report, I de-
cided to go and see for myself. After several hours we came to the spot, and a glance at the
to try to jump the gap. There was no alternative but to return all the weary distance we had
covered that day, and make the detour. Mancha was the saddle-horse that day and was going
moving towards the spot where the trail was missing, and before I could stop him he jumped
- and landed safely on the other side. My joy at this ticklish feat soon changed into consterna-
tion when I realised our real situation. Here was I on one side with Gato, whilst Mancha was
on the other, as unconcerned as if nothing had happened, as if he had only jumped across an
arroyo (stream) in the pampas, and not across a gap where he would have fallen down several
hundred feet had he hesitated or slipped. We all know that an eight-foot jump is not much for
one's nerves.
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