chapter  3
20 Pages


H ERE at last was a channel of clear water I All day, as we traversed the narrow byways of the marsh, our way had been impeded and our progress hindered by the clinging water-weeds. Wearying as they are to the boatman, these flowering masses have a beauty of· their own. The goose-flower lies on the surface in a sheet of white blossom like that of the wild strawberry; jat, the favourite food of the buffalo and not despised by his master, has a gay pink flower; the dull red of the' oxtongue' and the brighter red of the roundleaved ga' aiba give their note of colour to the marsh. None the less, we all rejoiced when at last the hampering masses were left behind, and we found ourselves in a channel the limpid water of which was evidently kept clear by the frequent passage of boats. A paddle stuck into the water to show where its owner had cast poison to catch fish, a net for snaring birds, were signs that my surmise had not been unfounded; and soon the breeze bore faintly to our ears the distant shouts of men.