On Commando eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about On Commando.

I had to ride under trees, through shrubs and grass, and had to keep a sharp look-out, as the king of beasts sometimes takes the lords of creation unawares.  And I had to look out for an opportunity to shoot a buck—­the only food within my reach.  The nearer I came to the mountain, the surer I was that I had lost my way completely, and the more I became reconciled to my fate.  I planned how I should build a large fire in the night for myself and my horse, and how I should defend myself against a lion with a burning piece of wood.

Suddenly my horse went faster and pushed to the left.  Greatly to my astonishment, I saw that the attraction was a little stream of water that he had scented in a donga.  I off-saddled, and let my horse graze in the luxuriant grass.

Now I was strengthened in my belief that I had taken the wrong direction, for we were all under the impression that we should not soon reach water.  I prepared some more Dum-Dum bullets with a small file that I carried in my pocket, and did not let my horse graze long, but hastened to the mountain to find a better shelter for the night.  To my great joy, I came upon the wide road about a thousand paces further on.  I followed the road along the mountain for half an hour, when I came upon the lager, camped near a stream—­probably the same stream at which I and my horse had quenched our thirst.

As we sat round our fires that night we heard shots fired in the distance from the direction that we had come.  Some men were sent out immediately, and returned after a while with a man quite exhausted from hunger and thirst, and paralyzed with fear; he had been unable to overtake the lager.



Experience teaches us.  The knowledge that we have gained in this war we must pass on to the coming generation.  It may be of use in a war of the future, or on some other occasion.  Therefore Oom Dietlof will take this opportunity to give his nephews in South Africa some practical hints that may be of use to a burgher in his travels or in a war.  If anyone loses his way in the same way that I have just described, he must remember the following way of finding the four quarters of the wind: 

The small hand of a watch describes a circle in twelve hours, while the apparent movement of the sun round the earth is in twenty-four hours.  The movement of the small hand is therefore twice as fast as that of the sun.  If one points the small hand of a horizontal-lying watch to the sun at twelve o’clock, then the hands and the figure XII. lie in the meridian as well as the sun.

In the northern half-circle the sun and the hands move in the same direction.  In one hour’s time the small hand goes a distance of 360 deg./12 = 30 deg., and the sun goes a distance of 360 deg./24 = 15 deg.  If at one o’clock one points the small hand of a horizontal-lying watch to the sun, the line that divides the acute angle between the figures I. and XII. lies in the meridian.  So one can always find the meridian.

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On Commando from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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