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anticipating trouble, I prepared for a hostile encounter. Near the hut I saw one of the beehive-
shaped ovensinwhich the Indians bake the tanta (bread), andthere Idecided tomake myfor-
tification. I unstrapped the rifle and shotgun from the packhorse, and taking all the ammuni-
tion I had with me I crawled under the oven, ready to make a possible attack as expensive as
possible. The horses were standing nearby and so I waited for things to develop. Time went
on without anything happening, and by degrees I found it difficult to keep awake, and once
or twice I caught myself dozing off, but finally I must have given way to nature, for when I
woke up the first daylight had appeared and I heard the voice of the cacique , who had arrived
withboiled eggs,soupand tanta .Ihadbeenasleep onoldashes,andwhenIcrawled outfrom
under the oven I saw that the horses, which were still saddled, were eating straw somebody
had given them, and when I looked at myself in the small steel mirror I always carried I could
not help smiling, for I was as black as the ace of spades. The cacique felt very sheepish and
sorry for himself, not so much on account of the shaking I had given him as for the 'kick' the
most Indians means a dance and a drunken orgy.
When I had finished my much-needed meal I watered the horses and prepared to continue
to pass, I ordered the cacique to come along with me and act as guide. When my interpreter
his alcalde , as the next man of importance after the chief is called, but he also had something
wrong with his legs. He at once hobbled towards his hut and returned with what appeared to
be his wife, who was to come along and show me the way. When I realised that no man was
willing to come with me, and to prevent making trouble, I started out alone.
I did not know whether I was following the right trail - or not, as the case might be - until,
towards evening, a lagoon came in sight. It was situated on a mesa high up among the moun-
tains and I was certain that this must be the point for which I was looking. All along the edge
of the water were a number of flamingoes and, better still, I noticed many ducks. Although I
had no notion where to get fuel, the prospects of a good meal filled me with joy, so when I
wasnearenoughIfiredacartridge ofduckshot intothemiddle, where thebirdswere thickest.
This may sound very unsporting to many, but then it must be remembered that I was not out
for a day's shooting for pleasure, furthermore I had to be careful with my ammunition, for if
I wasted any I might be left without a single shot, and this perhaps at enormous distance from
where I might be able to get a new supply.
A few moments after I had fired some Indians came running towards me over a hill, and
I half suspected there was going to be trouble, but as they came nearer I heard them shouting
and laughing, and presently one greeted me with a hearty buenas tardes (Spanish for 'good
evening'). The same fellow, who spoke good Spanish, then asked me to do them the favour to
shoot some flamingoes for them, and told me they wanted their feathers to make themselves
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