The baboon, or macaque, which we killed on the Nam-ting was a close relative of the species (Macacus rhesus) which one sees parading solemnly about the streets of Calcutta, Bombay, and other Indian cities. In Agra, the home of the beautiful Taj Mahal, the Monkey Temple is visited by every tourist. A large herd of macaques lives in the grounds and at a few chuckling calls from the native attendants will come trooping over the walls for the food which is kept on sale at the gate. These animals are surprisingly tame and make most amusing pets.
On one of our hunts my wife and I discovered a water hole in the midst of a dense jungle where the mud was trodden hard by sambur, muntjac, wild boar, and other animals. We decided to spend a night watching beside it, but the “Dying Rabbit” who was enthusiastic in the day time lost his courage as the sunlight waned. Very doubtfully he consented to go.
Although the trip netted us no tangible results it was an experience of which we often think. We started just at dusk and installed ourselves in the bushes a few yards from the water hole. In half an hour the forest was enveloped in the velvety blackness of the tropic night. Not a star nor a gleam of light was visible and I could not see my hand before my face.
We sat absolutely motionless and listened to the breath of the jungle, which although without definite sound, was vibrant with life. Now and then a muntjac barked hoarsely and the roar of a sambur stag thrilled us like an electric shock. Once a wild boar grunted on the opposite bank of the river, the sound coming to us clear and sharp through the stillness although the animal was far away.
Tiny forest creatures rustled all about us in the leaves and a small animal ran across my wife’s lap, leaping frantically down the hill as it felt her move. For five hours we sat there absolutely motionless. Although no animals came to the water hole we were silent with a great happiness as we groped our way back to camp, for we had been close to the heart of the jungle and were thrilled with the mystery of the night.
THE SHANS OF THE BURMA BORDER
We saw many Shans at the Nam-ting River, for not only was there a village half a mile beyond our camp, but natives were passing continually along the trail on their way to and from the Burma frontier. The village was named Nam-ka. Its chief was absent when we arrived, but the natives were cordial and agreed to hunt with us; when the head man returned, however, he was most unfriendly. He forbade the villagers from coming to our camp and arguments were of no avail. It soon became evident that only force could change his attitude, and one morning, with all our servants and mafus, we visited his house. He was informed that unless he ceased his opposition and ordered his men to assist us in hunting we would take him to Meng-ting for trial before the mandarin. He grudgingly complied and we had no further trouble.