Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.
leaping from one tree to another in pursuit of the elephant, which, being a large unweildy animal, is often wounded in many places before it can turn round, or place itself in a posture of defence; but, in an open field, no person dare attack one, nor could even the swiftest escape from their pursuit, as I have been informed by many of the Negroes.  The teeth of this dead elephant, which was shewn me by Guumi-Mensa, one of which still remained in the jaw, did not exceed three spans long, which distinctly shews that it was quite young in comparison of those whose teeth are from ten to twelve spans in length; yet, small as it was for an elephant, we computed that the weight of its carcass was equal to five or six oxen.  Guumi-Mensa made me a present of what part of this elephant I liked best, and gave the remainder to his huntsmen to feast on.  Understanding that elephants flesh was eaten by the Negroes, I had some both roasted and boiled, of which I tasted, that I might be able to say that I had fed upon the flesh of an animal which had never been eaten by any of my countrymen; but I found it hard, and of an unpleasant relish.  I brought one of the legs and a part of the trunk on board our caravel, together with some of the hair from its body, which was a span and a half long, of a black colour, and very thick.  On my return to Portugal, I presented this hair to Don Henry, together with a part of the flesh salted up for that express purpose, which he received with much satisfaction, as it was the first of the kind that had been brought from the countries that were discovered under his auspices.  The foot of the elephant is round, like that of a horse, but without hoofs; instead of which it is covered by a very thick, hard, black skin, and defended by five nails on the fore part, which are round and of the size of a grossone[3].  Though young, the foot of this elephant measured a span and a half in diameter.  From the same Negro lord I received the foot of a full-grown elephant, the sole of which was three spans and an inch in diameter; which, together with a tooth of twelve spans long, I presented to Don Henry on my return, who sent it afterwards as a great curiosity to the Dutchess of Burgundy.

In the river Gambia, and in other rivers on this coast, besides the Calcatrici[4] and other animals, there is one called the river horse, or hippopotamus, of the same nature almost with the sea cow, and which lives both on land and in the water.  This animal is as large in the body as a cow, with very short legs and cloven feet, having a large head like that of a horse, and two huge teeth like the tusks of a wild boar, some of which I have seen upwards of two spans long.  This animal, when it gets out of the river, walks on the land like any other fourfooted beast; and, so far as I know, was never before discovered by any Christian traveller, except perhaps in the Nile.  We saw likewise a number of bats, or rather owls, upwards of three spans long; and many other birds, quite different from those of our country, both in appearance and taste, yet very good to eat.

Follow Us on Facebook