Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/50

This page has been validated.
28
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

Younger ones are too tender and older ones know too much. They soon get acquainted with all the camp and we have lots of fun with them. They are kindly, docile, and as full of pranks as the little black babies who play with them.

"Of all fierce, ungovernable, lusty brutes, the hippopotamus with young is the very worst; and whenever we start off to get a baby 'hip' we calculate to come back with one or more men missing. In water they will fight like devils, and will crush the strongest boat to pieces in five minutes. They are quick as a flash, too, notwithstanding their clumsy appearance, and the oarsmen have to be wide-awake to keep out of their way. On shore they are just as ferocious, and the way they hurry their stumpy little legs over the ground would astonish you. They die hard, and take 'a heap of killing.' When such a job is over you may be sure there is great rejoicing among us; but as one little hippopotamus is worth as much as half a dozen little lions, tigers and such truck, we are well content to take the risk. We cannot get these babies too young to suit. One, I remember, was captured the very day it was born, and the hunters and attendants brought it up on a bottle.