1. It occupies the whole of the Eastern Horn, extending from the north of Bab el Mandeb to
several degrees south of Cape Guardafui. In the former direction it is bounded by the Dankali and
the Ittoo Gallas; in the latter by the Sawahil or Negrotic regions; the Red Sea is its eastern limit,
and westward it stretches to within a few miles of Harar.
2. In A.D. 1838, Lieut. Carless surveyed the seaboard of the Somali country, from Ras
Hafun to Burnt Island; unfortunately his labours were allowed by Sir Charles Malcolm's successor
to lie five years in the obscurity of MS. Meanwhile the steam frigate "Memnon," Capt. Powell
commanding, was lost at Ras Assayr; a Norie's chart, an antiquated document, with an error of
from fifteen to twenty miles, being the only map of reference on board. Thus the Indian
Government, by the dilatoriness and prejudices of its Superintendent of Marine, sustained an
unjustifiable loss of at least 50,000l.
3. In A.D. 1836-38, Lieut. Cruttenden published descriptions of travel, which will be alluded
to in a subsequent part of this preface.
4. This "hasty sketch of the scientific labours of the Indian navy," is extracted from an able
anonymous pamphlet, unpromisingly headed "Grievances and Present Condition of our Indian
5. In A.D. 1848, the late Mr. Joseph Hume called in the House of Commons for a return of
all Indian surveys carried on during the ten previous years. The result proved that no less than a
score had been suddenly "broken up," by order of Sir Robert Oliver.
6. This plan was successfully adopted by Messrs. Antoine and Arnauld d'Abbadie, when
travelling in dangerous parts of Abyssinia and the adjacent countries.
7. In A.D. 1660, Vermuyden found gold at Gambia always "on naked and barren hills
embedded in a reddish earth." All I got was a big lizard: lost £500.
8. The writer has not unfrequently been blamed by the critics of Indian papers, for venturing
into such dangerous lands with an outfit nearly 1500l. in value. In the Somali, as in other
countries of Eastern Africa, travellers must carry not only the means of purchasing passage, but
also the very necessaries of life. Money being unknown, such bulky articles as cotton-cloth,
tobacco, and beads are necessary to provide meat and milk, and he who would eat bread must
load his camels with grain. The Somal of course exaggerate the cost of travelling; every chief,
however, may demand a small present, and every pauper, as will be seen in the following pages,
expects to be fed.
9. It is described at length in Chap. III.
10. The author hoped to insert Lieut. Berne's journal, kept at Berberah, and the different
places of note in its vicinity; as yet, however, the paper has not been received.
11. Harar has frequently been described by hearsay; the following are the principal authorities:--Rochet (Second Voyage Dans le Pays des Adels, &c. Paris, 1846.), page 263.
12. In A.D. 1825, the Government of Bombay received intelligence that a brig from the
Mauritius had been seized, plundered, and broken up near Berberah, and that part of her crew had
been barbarously murdered by the Somali. The "Elphinstone" sloop of war (Capt. Greer
commanding) was sent to blockade the coast; when her guns opened fire, the people fled with
their wives and children, and the spot where a horseman was killed by a cannon ball is still shown
on the plain near the town. Through the intervention of El Hajj Sharmarkay, the survivors were
recovered; the Somal bound themselves to abstain from future attacks upon English vessels, and
also to refund by annual instalments the full amount of plundered property. For the purpose of
enforcing the latter stipulation it was resolved that a vessel of war should remain upon the coast
until the whole was liquidated. When attempts at evasion occurred, the traffic was stopped by
sending all craft outside the guard-ship, and forbidding intercourse with the shore. The "Coote"
(Capt. Pepper commanding), the "Palinurus" and the "Tigris," in turn with the "Elphinstone,"
maintained the blockade through the trading seasons till 1833. About 6000l were recovered, and
the people were strongly impressed with the fact that we had both the will and the means to keep
their plundering propensities within bounds.
13. The writer advised that these men should be hung upon the spot where the outrage was
committed, that the bodies should be burned and the ashes cast into the sea, lest by any means the
murderers might become martyrs. This precaution should invariably be adopted when Moslems
14. The reason of the objection is not apparent. A savage people is imperfectly punished by a
few deaths: the fine is the only true way to produce a lasting impression upon their heads and
hearts. Moreover, it is the custom of India and the East generally, and is in reality the only
safeguard of a traveller's property.
15. "A tradition exists," says Lieut. Cruttenden, "amongst the people of Harar, that the
prosperity of their city depends upon the exclusion of all travellers not of the Moslem faith, and all
Christians are specially interdicted." These freaks of interdiction are common to African rulers,
who on occasions of war, famine or pestilence, struck with some superstitious fear, close their
gates to strangers.
16. The 6th of Safar in 1864 corresponds with our 28th October. The Hadis is <Arabic>
"when the 6th of Safar went forth, my faith from the cloud came forth."
17. The Abyssinian law of detaining guests,--Pedro Covilhao the first Portuguese envoy (A.D.
1499) lived and died a prisoner there,--appears to have been the Christian modification of the old
Ethiopic rite of sacrificing strangers.
18. It would be wonderful if Orientals omitted to romance about the origin of such an invention as the Dayrah or compass. Shaykh Majid is said to have been a Syrian saint, to whom Allah gave the power of looking upon earth, as though it were a ball in his hand. Most Moslems agree in assigning this origin to the Dayrah, and the Fatihah in honour of the holy man, is still repeated by the pious mariner.
Easterns do not "box the compass" after our fashion: with them each point has its own name, generally derived from some prominent star on the horizon. Of these I subjoin a list as in use amongst the Somal, hoping that it may be useful to Oriental students. The names in hyphens are those given in a paper on the nautical instrument of the Arabs by Jas. Prinseps (Journal of the As. Soc., December 1836). The learned secretary appears not to have heard the legend of Shaykh Majid, for he alludes to the "Majidi Kitab" or Oriental Ephemeris, without any explanation.
|N. by E||Farjad||<Arabic> or <Arabic>|
|N.E. by E.||Nakab||<Arabic>|
|N.E. by E.||Waki||<Arabic>|
|E. by N.||Surayya||<Arabic>|
|E. by S.||Jauza||<Arabic>|
|S.E. by E.||Ilkil||<Arabic>|
|S.E. by S.||Himarayn||<Arabic>|
|S. by E.||Suntubar||<Arabic> (or <Arabic>)|
The south is called Al-Kutb (<Arabic>) and the west Al-Maghib (<Arabic>). The western points
are named like the eastern. North-east, for instance is Ayyuk al Matlai; north-west, Ayyuk al
Maghibi. Finally, the Dayrah Jahi is when the magnetic needle points due north. The Dayrah
Farjadi (more common in these regions), is when the bar is fixed under Farjad, to allow for
variation, which at Berberah is about 4° 50' west.
19. The curious reader will find in the Herodotus of the Arabs, El Masudi's "Meadows of gold
and mines of gems," a strange tale of the blind billows and the singing waves of Berberah and
Jofuni (Cape Guardafui, the classical Aromata).
20. "Foyst" and "buss," are the names applied by old travellers to the half-decked vessels of
21. Holcus Sorghum, the common grain of Africa and Arabia: the Somali call it Hirad; the
people of Yemen, Taam.
22. The Somal being a people of less nervous temperament than the Arabs and Indians, do not
fear the moonlight.
23. The first name is that of the individual, as the Christian name with us, the second is that of
the father; in the Somali country, as in India, they are not connected by the Arab "bin"--son of.
24. Abdy is an abbreviation of Abdullah; Abokr, a corruption of Abubekr. The "End of Time"
alludes to the prophesied corruption of the Moslem priesthood in the last epoch of the world.
25. This peculiarity is not uncommon amongst the Somal; it is considered by them a sign of
26. The Moslem should first recite the Farz prayers, or those ordered in the Koran; secondly,
the Sunnat or practice of the Prophet; and thirdly the Nafilah or Supererogatory. The Ratib or
self-imposed task is the last of all; our Mulla placed it first, because he could chaunt it upon his
mule within hearing of the people.
27. Two modern poets and wits well known in Yemen.
28. That is to say, "we will remove it with the five fingers." These are euphuisms to avoid
speaking broadly and openly of that venerable feature, the beard.
29. Bab el Mandeb is called as above by Humayd from its astronomical position. Jebel
Mayyum is in Africa, Jebel Zubah or Muayyin, celebrated as the last resting-place of a great saint,
Shaykh Said, is in Arabia.
30. Ajam properly means all nations not Arab. In Egypt and Central Asia it is now confined to
Persians. On the west of the Red Sea, it is invariably used to denote the Somali country: thence
Bruce draws the Greek and Latin name of the coast, Azamia, and De Sacy derives the word
"Ajan," which in our maps is applied to the inner regions of the Eastern Horn. So in Africa, El
Sham, which properly means Damascus and Syria, is applied to El Hejaz.
31. Adel, according to M. Krapf, derived its name from the Ad Ali, a tribe of the Afar or
Danakil nation, erroneously used by Arab synecdoche for the whole race. Mr. Johnston (Travels
in Southern Abyssinia, ch. 1.) more correctly derives it from Adule, a city which, as proved by the
monument which bears its name, existed in the days of Ptolemy Euergetes (B.C. 247-222), had its
own dynasty, and boasted of a conqueror who overcame the Troglodytes, Sabaeans, Homerites,
&c., and pushed his conquests as far as the frontier of Egypt. Mr. Johnston, however, incorrectly
translates Barr el Ajam "land of fire," and seems to confound Avalites and Adulis.
32. Bahr el Banatin, the Bay of Tajurrah.
33. A certain German missionary, well known in this part of the world, exasperated by the
seizure of a few dollars and a claim to the droit d'aubaine, advised the authorities of Aden to
threaten the "combustion" of Tajurrah. The measure would have been equally unjust and unwise.
A traveller, even a layman, is bound to put up peaceably with such trifles; and to threaten
"combustion" without being prepared to carry out the threat is the readiest way to secure
34. The Kharif in most parts of the Oriental world corresponds with our autumn. In Eastern
Africa it invariably signifies the hot season preceding the monsoon rains.
35. The circumstances of Masud's murder were truly African. The slave caravans from
Abyssinia to Tajurrah were usually escorted by the Rer Guleni, a clan of the great Ísa tribe, and
they monopolised the profits of the road. Summoned to share their gains with their kinsmen
generally, they refused upon which the other clans rose about August, 1854, and cut off the road.
A large caravan was travelling down in two bodies, each of nearly 300 slaves; the Ísa attacked the
first division, carried off the wives and female slaves, whom they sold for ten dollars a head, and
savagely mutilated upwards of 100 wretched boys. This event caused the Tajurrah line to be
permanently closed. The Rer Guleni in wrath, at once murdered Masud, a peaceful traveller,
because Inna Handun, his Abban or protector, was of the party who had attacked their proteges:
they came upon him suddenly as he was purchasing some article, and stabbed him in the back,
before he could defend himself.
36. In Zayla there is not a single coffee-house. The settled Somal care little for the Arab
beverage, and the Bedouins' reasons for avoiding it are not bad. "If we drink coffee once," say
they, "we shall want it again, and then where are we to get it?" The Abyssinian Christians,
probably to distinguish themselves from Moslems, object to coffee as well as to tobacco. The
Gallas, on the other hand, eat it: the powdered bean is mixed with butter, and on forays a lump
about the size of a billiard-ball is preferred to a substantial meal.
37. The following genealogical table was given to me by Mohammed Sharmarkay:--1. Ishak (ibn Ahmed ibn Abdillah).
38. Not the hereditary chieftainship of the Habr Gerhajis, which belongs to a particular clan.
39. The following is a copy of the document:-- "This Testimonial,
40. Two spears being the usual number: the difficulty of three or four would mainly consist in
their management during action.
41. In July, 1855, the Hajj Sharmarkay was deposed by the Turkish Pasha of Hodaydah, ostensibly for failing to keep some road open, or, according to others, for assisting to plunder a caravan belonging to the Dankali tribe. It was reported that he had been made a prisoner, and the Political Resident at Aden saw the propriety of politely asking the Turkish authorities to "be easy" upon the old man. In consequence of this representation, he was afterwards allowed, on paying a fine of 3000 dollars, to retire to Aden.
I deeply regret that the Hajj should have lost his government. He has ever clung to the English
party, even in sore temptation. A few years ago, the late M. Rochet (soi-disant d'Hericourt),
French agent at Jeddah, paying treble its value, bought from Mohammed Sharmarkay, in the
absence of the Hajj, a large stone house, in order to secure a footing at Zayla. The old man broke
off the bargain on his return, knowing how easily an Agency becomes a Fort, and preferring a
considerable loss to the presence of dangerous friends.
42. During my residence at Zayla few slaves were imported, owing to the main road having
been closed. In former years the market was abundantly stocked; the numbers annually shipped to
Mocha, Hodaydah, Jeddah, and Berberah, varied from 600 to 1000. The Hajj received as duty one
gold "Kirsh," or about three fourths of a dollar, per head.
43. Zayla, called Audal or Auzal by the Somal, is a town about the size of Suez, built for 3000 or 4000 inhabitants, and containing a dozen large whitewashed stone houses, and upwards of 200 Arish or thatched huts, each surrounded by a fence of wattle and matting. The situation is a low and level spit of sand, which high tides make almost an island. There is no Harbour: a vessel of 250 tons cannot approach within a mile of the landing-place; the open roadstead is exposed to the terrible north wind, and when gales blow from the west and south, it is almost unapproachable. Every ebb leaves a sandy flat, extending half a mile seaward from the town; the reefy anchorage is difficult of entrance after sunset, and the coralline bottom renders wading painful.
The shape of this once celebrated town is a tolerably regular parallelogram, of which the long sides run from east to west. The walls, without guns or embrasures, are built, like the houses, of coralline rubble and mud, in places dilapidated. There are five gates. The Bab el Sahil and the Bab el Jadd (a new postern) open upon the sea from the northern wall. At the Ashurbara, in the southern part of the enceinte, the Bedouins encamp, and above it the governor holds his Durbar. The Bab Abd el Kadir derives its name from a saint buried outside and eastward of the city, and the Bab el Saghir is pierced in the western wall.
The public edifices are six mosques, including the Jami, or cathedral, for Friday prayer: these buildings have queer little crenelles on whitewashed walls, and a kind of elevated summer-house to represent the minaret. Near one of them are remains of a circular Turkish Munar, manifestly of modern construction. There is no Mahkamah or Kazi's court; that dignitary transacts business at his own house, and the Festival prayers are recited near the Saint's Tomb outside the eastern gate. The northeast angle of the town is occupied by a large graveyard with the usual deleterious consequences.
The climate of Zayla is cooler than that of Aden, and, the site being open all around, it is not so unhealthy. Much spare room is enclosed by the town walls: evaporation and Nature's scavengers act succedanea for sewerage.
Zayla commands the adjacent harbour of Tajurrah, and is by position the northern port of Aussa (the ancient capital of Adel), of Harar, and of southern Abyssinia: the feuds of the rulers have, however, transferred the main trade to Berberah. It sends caravans northwards to the Dankali, and south-westwards, through the Ísa and Gudabirsi tribes as far as Efat and Gurague. It is visited by Cafilas from Abyssinia, and the different races of Bedouins, extending from the hills to the seaboard. The exports are valuable--slaves, ivory, hides, honey, antelope horns, clarified butter, and gums: the coast abounds in sponge, coral, and small pearls, which Arab divers collect in the fair season. In the harbour I found about twenty native craft, large and small: of these, ten belonged to the governor. They trade with Berberah, Arabia, and Western India, and are navigated by "Rajput" or Hindu pilots.
Provisions at Zayla are cheap; a family of six persons live well for about 30l. per annum. The general food is mutton: a large sheep costs one dollar, a small one half the price; camels' meat, beef, and in winter kid, abound. Fish is rare, and fowls are not commonly eaten. Holcus, when dear, sells at forty pounds per dollar, at seventy pounds when cheap. It is usually levigated with slab and roller, and made into sour cakes. Some, however, prefer the Arab form "balilah," boiled and mixed with ghee. Wheat and rice are imported: the price varies from forty to sixty pounds the Riyal or dollar. Of the former grain the people make a sweet cake called Sabaya, resembling the Fatirah of Egypt: a favourite dish also is "harisah"--flesh, rice flour, and boiled wheat, all finely pounded and mixed together. Milk is not procurable during the hot weather; after rain every house is full of it; the Bedouins bring it in skins and sell it for a nominal sum.
Besides a large floating population, Zayla contains about 1500 souls. They are comparatively a
fine race of people, and suffer from little but fever and an occasional ophthalmia. Their greatest
hardship is the want of the pure element: the Hissi or well, is about four miles distant from the
town, and all the pits within the walls supply brackish or bitter water, fit only for external use.
This is probably the reason why vegetables are unknown, and why a horse, a mule, or even a dog,
is not to be found in the place.
44. "Fid-mer," or the evening flyer, is the Somali name for a bat. These little animals are not
disturbed in houses, because they keep off flies and mosquitoes, the plagues of the Somali
country. Flies abound in the very jungles wherever cows have been, and settle in swarms upon the
traveller. Before the monsoon their bite is painful, especially that of the small green species; and
there is a red variety called "Diksi as," whose venom, according to the people, causes them to
vomit. The latter abounds in Gulays and the hill ranges of the Berberah country: it is innocuous
during the cold season. The mosquito bites bring on, according to the same authority, deadly
fevers: the superstition probably arises from the fact that mosquitoes and fevers become
formidable about the same time.
45. Such a building at Zayla would cost at most 500 dollars. At Aden, 2000 rupees, or nearly
double the sum, would be paid for a matted shed, which excludes neither sun, nor wind, nor rain.
46. This style of profile--highly oval, with the chin and brow receding-- is very conspicuous in
Eastern Africa, where the face, slightly prognathous, projects below the nose.
47. Gall-nuts form the base of the tattooing dye. It is worked in with a needle, when it
becomes permanent: applied with a pen, it requires to be renewed about once a fortnight.
48. Mats are the staple manufacture in Eastern, as in many parts of Western, Africa. The
material is sometimes Daum or other palm: there are, however, many plants in more common use;
they are made of every variety in shape and colour, and are dyed red, black, and yellow,--madder
from Tajurrah and alum being the matter principally used.
49. When woman addresses woman she always uses her voice.
50. The Tobe, or Abyssinian "Quarry," is the general garment of Africa from Zayla to Bornou. In the Somali country it is a cotton sheet eight cubits long, and two breadths sewn together. An article of various uses, like the Highland plaid, it is worn in many ways; sometimes the right arm is bared; in cold weather the whole person is muffled up, and in summer it is allowed to full below the waist. Generally it is passed behind the back, rests upon the left shoulder, is carried forward over the breast, surrounds the body, and ends hanging on the left shoulder, where it displays a gaudy silk fringe of red and yellow. This is the man's Tobe. The woman's dress is of similar material, but differently worn: the edges are knotted generally over the right, sometimes over the left shoulder; it is girdled round the waist, below which hangs a lappet, which in cold weather can be brought like a hood over the head. Though highly becoming, and picturesque as the Roman toga, the Somali Tobe is by no means the most decorous of dresses: women in the towns often prefer the Arab costume,--a short-sleeved robe extending to the knee, and a Futah or loin-cloth underneath.
As regards the word Tobe, it signifies, in Arabic, a garment generally: the Somal call it "Maro,"
and the half Tobe a "Shukkah."
51. Abu Kasim of Gaza, a well known commentator upon Abu Shujaa of Isfahan, who wrote a
text-book of the Shafei school.
52. The Hajj had seven sons, three of whom died in infancy. Ali and Mahmud, the latter a fine
young man, fell victims to small pox: Mohammed is now the eldest, and the youngest is a child
called Ahmed, left for education at Mocha. The Hajj has also two daughters, married to Bedouin
53. It is related that a Hazrami, flying from his fellow-countrymen, reached a town upon the
confines of China. He was about to take refuge in a mosque, but entering, he stumbled over the
threshold. "Ya Amud el Din"-- "O Pillar of the Faith!" exclaimed a voice from the darkness,
calling upon the patron saint of Hazramaut to save a Moslem from falling. "May the Pillar of the
Faith break thy head," exclaimed the unpatriotic traveller, at once rising to resume his vain
54. Mercenaries from Mocha, Hazramaut, and Bir Hamid near Aden: they are armed with
matchlock, sword, and dagger; and each receives from the governor a monthly stipend of two
dollars and a half.
55. The system of caste, which prevails in El Yemen, though not in the northern parts of Arabia, is general throughout the Somali country. The principal families of outcasts are the following.
The Yebir correspond with the Dushan of Southern Arabia: the males are usually jesters to the chiefs, and both sexes take certain parts at festivals, marriages, and circumcisions. The number is said to be small, amounting to about 100 families in the northern Somali country.
The Tomal or Handad, the blacksmiths, originally of Aydur race, have become vile by intermarriage with serviles. They mast now wed maidens of their own class, and live apart from the community: their magical practices are feared by the people,--the connection of wits and witchcraft is obvious,--and all private quarrels are traced to them. It has been observed that the blacksmith has ever been looked upon with awe by barbarians on the same principle that made Vulcan a deity. In Abyssinia all artisans are Budah, sorcerers, especially the blacksmith, and he is a social outcast as among the Somal; even in El Hejaz, a land, unlike Yemen, opposed to distinctions amongst Moslems, the Khalawiyah, who work in metal, are considered vile. Throughout the rest of El Islam the blacksmith is respected as treading in the path of David, the father of the craft.
The word "Tomal," opposed to Somal, is indigenous. "Handad "is palpably a corruption of the Arabic "Haddad," ironworker.
The Midgan, "one-hand," corresponds with the Khadim of Yemen: he is called Kami or "archer" by the Arabs. There are three distinct tribes of this people, who are numerous in the Somali country: the best genealogists cannot trace their origin, though some are silly enough to derive them, like the Akhdam, from Shimr. All, however, agree in expelling the Midgan from the gentle blood of Somali land, and his position has been compared to that of Freedman amongst the Romans. These people take service under the different chiefs, who sometimes entertain great numbers to aid in forays and frays; they do not, however, confine themselves to one craft. Many Midgans employ themselves in hunting and agriculture. Instead of spear and shield, they carry bows and a quiver full of diminutive arrows, barbed and poisoned with the Waba,--a weapon used from Faizoghli to the Cape of Good Hope. Like the Veddah of Ceylon, the Midgan is a poor shot, and scarcely strong enough to draw his stiff bow. He is accused of maliciousness; and the twanging of his string will put to flight a whole village. The poison is greatly feared: it causes, say the people, the hair and nails to drop off, and kills a man in half an hour. The only treatment known is instant excision of the part; and this is done the more frequently, because here, as in other parts of Africa, such stigmates are deemed ornamental.
In appearance the Midgan is dark and somewhat stunted; he is known to the people by
peculiarities of countenance and accent.
56. The reason why Europeans fail to explain their thoughts to Orientals generally is that they
transfer the Laconism of Western to Eastern tongues. We for instance say, "Fetch the book I gave
you last night." This in Hindostani, to choose a well-known tongue, must be smothered with
words thus: "What book was by me given to you yesterday by night, that book bringing to me,
57. I have alluded to these subjects in a previous work upon the subject of Meccah and El
58. This is one of the stock complaints against the Moslem scheme. Yet is it not practically the
case with ourselves? In European society, the best are generally those who prefer the
companionship of their own sex; the "ladies' man" and the woman who avoids women are rarely
59. The Shantarah board is thus made,
with twenty-five points technically called houses.
The players have twelve counters a piece, and each places two at a time upon any of the unoccupied angles, till all except the centre are filled up. The player who did not begin the game must now move a man; his object is to inclose one of his adversary's between two of his own, in which case he removes it, and is entitled to continue moving till he can no longer take. It is a game of some skill, and perpetual practice enables the Somal to play it as the Persians do backgammon, with great art and little reflection. The game is called Kurkabod when, as in our draughts, the piece passing over one of the adversary's takes it.
Shahh is another favourite game. The board is made thus,
and the pieces as at Shantarah are twelve in number. The object is to place three men in line,--as the German Muhle and the Afghan "Kitar,"-- when any one of the adversary's pieces may be removed.
Children usually prefer the game called indifferently Togantog and Saddikiya. A double line of
five or six holes is made in the ground, four counters are placed in each, and when in the course of
play four men meet in the same hole, one of the adversary's is removed. It resembles the Bornou
game, played with beans and holes in the sand. Citizens and the more civilised are fond of
"Bakkis," which, as its name denotes, is a corruption of the well-known Indian Pachisi. None but
the travelled know chess, and the Damal (draughts) and Tavola (backgammon) of the Turks.
60. The same objection against "villanous saltpetre" was made by ourselves in times of old:
the French knights called gunpowder the Grave of Honour. This is natural enough, the bravest
weapon being generally the shortest--that which places a man hand to hand with his opponent.
Some of the Kafir tribes have discontinued throwing the Assegai, and enter battle wielding it as a
pike. Usually, also, the shorter the weapon is, the more fatal are the conflicts in which it is
employed. The old French "Briquet," the Afghan "Charay," and the Goorka "Kukkri," exemplify
this fact in the history of arms.
61. In the latter point it differs from the Assegai, which is worked by the Kafirs to the finest
62. It is called by the Arabs Kubabah, by the Somal Goasa. Johnston (Travels in Southern
Abyssinia, chap. 8.) has described the game; he errs, however, in supposing it peculiar to the
63. This is in fact the pilgrim dress of El Islam; its wide diffusion to the eastward, as well as
west of the Red Sea, proves its antiquity as a popular dress.
64. I often regretted having neglected the precaution of a bottle of walnut juice,--a white
colour is decidedly too conspicuous in this part of the East.
65. The strict rule of the Moslem faith is this: if a man neglect to pray, he is solemnly warned
to repent. Should he simply refuse, without, however, disbelieving in prayer, he is to be put to
death, and receive Moslem burial; in the other contingency, he is not bathed, prayed for, or
interred in holy ground. This severe order, however, lies in general abeyance.
66. "Tuarick grandiloquence," says Richardson (vol. i. p. 207.), "savours of blasphemy, e.g. the lands, rocks, and mountains of Ghat do not belong to God but to the Azghar." Equally irreverent are the Kafirs of the Cape. They have proved themselves good men in wit as well as war; yet, like the old Greenlanders and some of the Burmese tribes, they are apparently unable to believe in the existence of the Supreme. A favourite question to the missionaries was this, "Is your God white or black?" If the European, startled by the question, hesitated for a moment, they would leave him with open signs of disgust at having been made the victims of a hoax.
The assertion generally passes current that the idea of an Omnipotent Being is familiar to all
people, even the most barbarous. My limited experience argues the contrary. Savages begin with
fetisism and demon- worship, they proceed to physiolatry (the religion of the Vedas) and
Sabaeism: the deity is the last and highest pinnacle of the spiritual temple, not placed there except
by a comparatively civilised race of high development, which leads them to study and speculate
upon cosmical and psychical themes. This progression is admirably wrought out in Professor Max
Muller's "Rig Veda Sanhita."
67. The Moslem corpse is partly sentient in the tomb, reminding the reader of Tennyson:"I thought the dead had peace, but it is not so;
68. The prayers for the dead have no Rukaat or bow as in other orisons.
69. The general Moslem name for the African coast from the Somali seaboard southwards to
the Mozambique, inhabited by negrotic races.
70. The Moslem rosary consists of ninety-nine beads divided into sets of thirty-three each by some peculiar sign, as a bit of red coral. The consulter, beginning at a chance place, counts up to the mark:
71. In this country, as in Western and Southern Africa, the leopard, not the wolf, is the
72. Popular superstition in Abyssinia attributes the same power to the Felashas or Jews.
73. Our Elixir, a corruption of the Arabic El Iksir.
74. In the Somali tongue its name is Barki: they make a stool of similar shape, and call it
75. Specimens of these discourses have been given by Mr. Lane, Mod. Egypt, chap. 3. It is
useless to offer others, as all bear the closest resemblance.
76. So in the last century the Hightland piper played before the Laird every Sunday on his way
to the Kirk, which he circled three times; performing the family march, which implied defiance to
all enemies of the clan. In Ireland, in the early part of the present century, gentlemen went to
church with a brace of bull-dogs or a brass blunderbuss, the article to clear a staircase.
77. Brace describes Zayla as "a small island, on the very coast of Adel." To reconcile
discrepancy, he adopts the usual clumsy expedient of supposing two cities of the same name, one
situated seven degrees south of the other. Salt corrects the error, but does not seem to have heard
of old Zayla's insular position.
78. The inhabitants were termed Avalitae, and the Bay "Sinus Avaliticus." Some modern
travellers have confounded it with Adule or Adulis, the port of Axum, founded by fugitive
Egyptian slaves. The latter, however, lies further north: D'Anville places it at Arkiko, Salt at Zula
(or Azule), near the head of Annesley Bay.
79. The Arabs were probably the earliest colonists of this coast. Even the Sawahil people
retain a tradition that their forefathers originated in the south of Arabia.
80. To the present day the district of Gozi is peopled by Mohammedans called Arablet,
"whose progenitors," according to Harris, "are said by tradition to have been left there prior to
the reign of Nagasi, first King of Shoa. Hossain, Wahabit, and Abdool Kurreem, generals
probably detached from the victorious army of Graan (Mohammed Gragne), are represented to
have come from Mecca, and to have taken possession of the country,--the legend assigning to the
first of these warriors as his capital, the populous village of Medina, which is conspicuous on a
cone among the mountains, shortly after entering the valley of Robi."
81. Historia Regum Islamiticorum in Abyssinia, Lugd. Bat. 1790.
82. The affinity between the Somal and the Berbers of Northern Africa, and their descent from
Canaan, son of Ham, has been learnedly advanced and refuted by several Moslem authors. The
theory appears to have arisen from a mistake; Berberah, the great emporium of the Somali
country, being confounded with the Berbers of Nubia.
83. Probably Zaidi from Yemen. At present the people of Zayla are all orthodox Sunnites.
84. Fish, as will be seen in these pages, is no longer a favourite article of diet.
85. Bruce, book 8.
86. Hence the origin of the trade between Africa and Cutch, which continues uninterrupted to
the present time. Adel, Arabia, and India, as Bruce remarks, were three partners in one trade, who
mutually exported their produce to Europe, Asia, and Africa, at that time the whole known world.
87. The Turks, under a show of protecting commerce, established these posts in their different
ports. But they soon made it appear that the end proposed was only to ascertain who were the
subjects from whom they could levy the most enormous extortions. Jeddah, Zebid, and Mocha,
the places of consequence nearest to Abyssinia on the Arabian coast, Suakin, a seaport town on
the very barriers of Abyssinia, in the immediate way of their caravan to Cairo on the African side,
were each under the command of a Turkish Pasha and garrisoned by Turkish troops sent thither
from Constantinople by the emperors Selim and Sulayman.
88. Bartema's account of its productions is as follows: "The soil beareth wheat and hath
abundance of flesh and divers other commodious things. It hath also oil, not of olives, but of some
other thing, I know not what. There is also plenty of honey and wax; there are likewise certain
sheep having their tails of the weight of sixteen pounds, and exceeding fat; the head and neck are
black, and all the rest white. There are also sheep altogether white, and having tails of a cubit
long, and hanging down like a great cluster of grapes, and have also great laps of skin hanging
down from their throats, as have bulls and oxen, hanging down almost to the ground. There are
also certain kind with horns like unto harts' horns; these are wild, and when they be taken are
given to the Sultan of that city as a kingly present. I saw there also certain kind having only one
horn in the midst of the forehead, as hath the unicorn, and about a span of length, but the horn
bendeth backward: they are of bright shining red colour. But they that have harts' horns are
inclining to black colour. Living is there good and cheap."
89. The people have a tradition that a well of sweet water exists unseen in some part of the
island. When Saad el Din was besieged in Zayla by the Hatze David, the host of El Islam suffered
severely for the want of the fresh element.
90. The singular is Dankali, the plural Danakil: both words are Arabic, the vernacular name
being "Afar" or "Afer," the Somali "Afarnimun." The word is pronounced like the Latin "Afer,"
91. Occasionally at Zayla--where all animals are expensive--Dankali camels may be bought: though small, they resist hardship and fatigue better than the other kinds. A fair price would be about ten dollars. The Somal divide their animals into two kinds, Gel Ad and Ayyun. The former is of white colour, loose and weak, but valuable, I was told by Lieut. Speke, in districts where little water is found: the Ayyun is darker and stronger; its price averages about a quarter more than the Gel Ad.
To the Arabian traveller nothing can be more annoying than these Somali camels. They must be fed four hours during the day, otherwise they cannot march. They die from change of food or sudden removal to another country. Their backs are ever being galled, and, with all precautions, a month's march lays them up for three times that period. They are never used for riding, except in cases of sickness or accidents.
The Somali ass is generally speaking a miserable animal. Lieut. Speke, however, reports that on
the windward coast it is not to be despised. At Harar I found a tolerable breed, superior in
appearance but inferior in size to the thoroughbred little animals at Aden. They are never ridden;
their principal duty is that of carrying water-skins to and from the walls.
92. He is generally called Abu Zerbin, more rarely Abu Zarbayn, and Abu Zarbay. I have
preferred the latter orthography upon the authority of the Shaykh Jami, most learned of the
93. In the same year (A.D. 1429-30) the Shaykh el Shazili, buried under a dome at Mocha,
introduced coffee into Arabia.
94. The following is an extract from the Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. xii. No. v. Nov. 1. 1852. Notes upon the drugs observed at Aden Arabia, by James Vaughan, Esq., M.R.C.S.E., Assist. Surg., B.A., Civil and Port. Surg., Aden, Arabia.
"Kât <Arabic>, the name of a drug which is brought into Aden from the interior, and largely used, especially by the Arabs, as a pleasurable excitant. It is generally imported in small camel-loads, consisting of a number of parcels, each containing about forty slender twigs with the leaves attached, and carefully wrapped so as to prevent as much as possible exposure to the atmosphere. The leaves form the edible part, and these, when chewed, are said to produce great hilarity of spirits, and an agreeable state of wakefulness. Some estimate may be formed of the strong predilection which the Arabs have for this drug from the quantity used in Aden alone, which averages about 280 camel-loads annually. The market price is one and a quarter rupees per parcel, and the exclusive privilege of selling it is farmed by the government for 1500 rupees per year. Forskäl found the plant growing on the mountains of Yemen, and has enumerated it as a new genus in the class Pentandria, under the name of Catha. He notices two species, and distinguishes them as Catha edulis and Catha spinosa. According to his account it is cultivated on the same ground as coffee, and is planted from cuttings. Besides the effects above stated, the Arabs, he tells us, believe the land where it grows to be secure from the inroads of plague; and that a twig of the Kât carried in the bosom is a certain safeguard against infection. The learned botanist observes, with respect to these supposed virtues, 'Gustus foliorum tamen virtutem tantam indicare non videtur.' Like coffee, Kât, from its acknowledged stimulating effects, has been a fertile theme for the exercise of Mahomedan casuistry, and names of renown are ranged on both sides of the question, whether the use of Kât does or does not contravene the injunction of the Koran, Thou shalt not drink wine or anything intoxicating. The succeeding notes, borrowed chiefly from De Sacy's researches, may be deemed worthy of insertion here.
"Sheikh Abdool Kader Ansari Jezeri, a learned Mahomedan author, in his treatise on the use of coffee, quotes the following from the writings of Fakr ood Deen Mekki:--'It is said that the first who introduced coffee was the illustrious saint Aboo Abdallah Mahomed Dhabhani ibn Said; but we have learned by the testimony of many persons that the use of coffee in Yemen, its origin, and first introduction into that country are due to the learned All Shadeli ibn Omar, one of the disciples of the learned doctor Nasr ood Deen, who is regarded as one of the chiefs among the order Shadeli, and whose worth attests the high degree of spirituality to which they had attained. Previous to that time they made coffee of the vegetable substance called Cafta, which is the same as the leaf known under the name of Kât, and not of Boon (the coffee berry) nor any preparation of Boon. The use of this beverage extended in course of time as far as Aden, but in the days of Mahomed Dhabhani the vegetable substance from which it was prepared disappeared from Aden. Then it was that the Sheik advised those who had become his disciples to try the drink made from the Boon, which was found to produce the same effect as the Kât, inducing sleeplessness, and that it was attended with less expense and trouble. The use of coffee has been kept up from that time to the present.'
"D'Herbelot states that the beverage called Calmat al Catiat or Caftah, was prohibited in Yemen in consequence of its effects upon the brain. On the other hand a synod of learned Mussulmans is said to have decreed that as beverages of Kât and Cafta do not impair the health or impede the observance of religious duties, but only increase hilarity and good- humour, it was lawful to use them, as also the drink made from the boon or coffee-berry. I am not aware that Kât is used in Aden in any other way than for mastication. From what I have heard, however, I believe that a decoction resembling tea is made from the leaf by the Arabs in the interior; and one who is well acquainted with our familiar beverage assures me that the effects are not unlike those produced by strong green tea, with this advantage in favour of Kât, that the excitement is always of a pleasing and agreeable kind.
"Mr. Vaughan has transmitted two specimens called Tubbare Kat and Muktaree Kat, from the
districts in which they are produced: the latter fetches the lower price. Catha edulis Forsk., Nat.
Ord. Celastraceae, is figured in Dr. Lindley's Vegetable Kingdom, p. 588. (London, 1846). But
there is a still more complete representation of the plant under the name of Catha Forskalii
Richard, in a work published under the auspices of the French government, entitled, 'Voyage en
Abyssinie éxecuté pendant les annees 1839-43, par une commission scientifique composée de
MM. Théophile Lefebvre, Lieut. du Vaisseau, A. Petit et Martin-Dillon, docteurs médecins,
naturalistes du Museum, Vignaud dessinateur.' The botanical portion of this work, by M. Achille
Richard, is regarded either as a distinct publication under the title of Tentamen Florae
Abyssinicae, or as a part of the Voyage en Abyssinie. M. Richard enters into some of the
particulars relative to the synonyms of the plant, from which it appears that Vahl referred
Forskäl's genus Catha to the Linnæan genus Celastrus, changing the name of Catha edulis to
Celastrus edulis. Hochstetter applied the name of Celastrus edulis to an Abyssinian species
(Celastrus obscurus Richard), which he imagined identical with Forskal's Catha edulis, while of
the real Catha edulis Forsk., he formed a new genus and species, under the name of Trigonotheca
serrata Hochs. Nat. Ord. Hippocrateaceae. I quote the following references from the Tentamen
Florae Abyssinicae, vol. i. p. 134.: 'Catha Forskalii Nob. Catha No. 4. Forsk. loc. cit, (Flor.
AEgypt. Arab. p. 63.) Trigonotheca serrata Hochs. in pl. Schimp. Abyss. sect. ii, No. 649.
Celastrus edulis Vahl, Ecl. 1. 21.' Although In the Flora Ægyptiaco-Arabica of Forskal no
specific name is applied to the Catha at p. 63, it is enumerated as Catha edulis at p. 107. The
reference to Celastrus edulis is not contained in the Eclogæ Americanæ of Vahl, but in the
author's Symbolæ Botanicæ (Hanulae, 1790, fol.) pars i. p. 21. (Daniel Hanbury signed.)
95. This is probably the "River of Zayla," alluded to by Ibn Said and others. Like all similar
features in the low country, it is a mere surface drain.
96. In the upper country I found a large variety growing wild in the Fiumaras. The Bedouins
named it Buamado, but ignored its virtues.
97. This ornament is called Musbgur.
98. A large brown bird with black legs, not unlike the domestic fowl. The Arabs call it Dijajat
el Barr, (the wild hen): the Somal "digarin," a word also applied to the Guinea fowl, which it
resembles in its short strong fight and habit of running. Owing to the Bedouin prejudice against
eating birds, it is found in large coveys all over the country.
99. It has been described by Salt and others. The Somal call it Sagaro, the Arabs Ghezalah: it
is found throughout the land generally in pairs, and is fond of ravines under the hills, beds of
torrents, and patches of desert vegetation. It is easily killed by a single pellet of shot striking the
neck. The Somal catch it by a loop of strong twine hung round a gap in a circuit of thorn hedge,
or they run it down on foot, an operation requiring half a day on account of its fleetness, which
enables it to escape the jackal and wild dog. When caught it utters piercing cries. Some Bedouins
do not eat the flesh: generally, however, it is considered a delicacy, and the skulls and bones of
these little animals lie strewed around the kraals.
100. The Somal hold the destruction of the "Tuka" next in religious merit to that of the snake. They have a tradition that the crow, originally white, became black for his sins. When the Prophet and Abubekr were concealed in the cave, the pigeon hid there from their pursuers: the crow, on the contrary, sat screaming "ghar! ghar!" (the cave! the cave!) upon which Mohammed ordered him into eternal mourning, and ever to repeat the traitorous words.
There are several species of crows in this part of Africa. Besides the large-beaked bird of the
Harar Hills, I found the common European variety, with, however, the breast feathers white
tipped in small semicircles as far as the abdomen. The little "king-crow" of India is common: its
bright red eye and purplish plume render it a conspicuous object as it perches upon the tall
camel's back or clings to waving plants.
101. The Waraba or Durwa is, according to Mr. Blyth, the distinguished naturalist, now
Curator of the Asiatic Society's Museum at Calcutta, the Canis pictus seu venaticus (Lycaon
pictus or Wilde Honde of the Cape Boers). It seems to be the Chien Sauvage or Cynhyene
(Cynhyaena venatica) of the French traveller M. Delegorgue, who in his "Voyage dans l'Afrique
Australe," minutely and diffusely describes it. Mr. Gordon Cumming supposes it to form the
connecting link between the wolf and the hyaena. This animal swarms throughout the Somali
country, prowls about the camps all night, dogs travellers, and devours every thing he can find, at
times pulling down children and camels, and when violently pressed by hunger, men. The Somal
declare the Waraba to be a hermaphrodite; so the ancients supposed the hyaena to be of both
sexes, an error arising from the peculiar appearance of an orifice situated near two glands which
secrete an unctuous fluid.
102. Men wear for ornament round the neck a bright red leather thong, upon which are strung
in front two square bits of true or imitation amber or honey stone: this "Mekkawi," however, is
seldom seen amongst the Bedouins. The Audulli or woman's necklace is a more elaborate affair of
amber, glass beads, generally coloured, and coral: every matron who can afford it, possesses at
least one of these ornaments. Both sexes carry round the necks or hang above the right elbow, a
talisman against danger and disease, either in a silver box or more generally sewn up in a small
case of red morocco. The Bedouins are fond of attaching a tooth-stick to the neck thong.
103. Beads are useful in the Somali country as presents, and to pay for trifling purchases: like
tobacco they serve for small change. The kind preferred by women and children is the "binnur,"
large and small white porcelain: the others are the red, white, green, and spotted twisted beads,
round and oblong. Before entering a district the traveller should ascertain what may be the
especial variety. Some kind are greedily sought for in one place, and in another rejected with
104. The Somali word "Fal" properly means "to do;" "to bewitch," is its secondary sense.
105. The price of blood in the Somali country is the highest sanctioned by El Islam. It must be remembered that amongst the pagan Arabs, the Korayah "diyat," was twenty she-camels. Abd el Muttaleb, grandfather of Mohammed, sacrificed 100 animals to ransom the life of his son, forfeited by a rash vow, and from that time the greater became the legal number. The Somal usually demand 100 she-camels, or 300 sheep and a few cows; here, as in Arabia, the sum is made up by all the near relations of the slayer; 30 of the animals may be aged, and 30 under age, but the rest must be sound and good. Many tribes take less,--from strangers 100 sheep, a cow, and a camel;--but after the equivalent is paid, the murderer or one of his clan, contrary to the spirit of El Islam, is generally killed by the kindred or tribe of the slain. When blood is shed in the same tribe, the full reparation, if accepted by the relatives, is always exacted; this serves the purpose of preventing fratricidal strife, for in such a nation of murderers, only the Diyat prevents the taking of life.
Blood money, however, is seldom accepted unless the murdered man has been slain with a lawful
weapon. Those who kill with the Dankaleh, a poisonous juice rubbed upon meat, are always put
to death by the members of their own tribe.
106. The Abban or protector of the Somali country is the Mogasa of the Gallas, the Akh of El Hejaz, the Ghafir of the Sinaitic Peninsula, and the Rabia of Eastern Arabia. It must be observed, however, that the word denotes the protege as well as the protector; In the latter sense it is the polite address to a Somali, as Ya Abbaneh, O Protectress, would be to his wife.
The Abban acts at once as broker, escort, agent, and interpreter, and the institution may be considered the earliest form of transit dues. In all sales he receives a certain percentage, his food and lodging are provided at the expense of his employer, and he not unfrequently exacts small presents from his kindred. In return he is bound to arrange all differences, and even to fight the battles of his client against his fellow-countrymen. Should the Abban be slain, his tribe is bound to take up the cause and to make good the losses of their protege. El Taabanah, the office, being one of "name," the eastern synonym for our honour, as well as of lucre, causes frequent quarrels, which become exceedingly rancorous.
According to the laws of the country, the Abban is master of the life and property of his client. The traveller's success will depend mainly upon his selection: if inferior in rank, the protector can neither forward nor defend him; if timid, he will impede advance; and if avaricious, he will, by means of his relatives, effectually stop the journey by absorbing the means of prosecuting it. The best precaution against disappointment would be the registering Abbans at Aden; every donkey-boy will offer himself as a protector, but only the chiefs of tribes should be provided with certificates. During my last visit to Africa, I proposed that English officers visiting the country should be provided with servants not protectors, the former, however, to be paid like the latter; all the people recognised the propriety of the step.
In the following pages occur manifold details concerning the complicated subject, El Taabanah.
107. Future travellers would do well either to send before them a trusty servant with orders to
buy cattle; or, what would be better, though a little more expensive, to take with them from Aden
all the animals required.
108. The Somal use as camel saddles the mats which compose their huts; these lying loose
upon the animal's back, cause, by slipping backwards and forwards, the loss of many a precious
hour, and in wet weather become half a load. The more civilised make up of canvass or "gunny
bags" stuffed with hay and provided with cross bars, a rude packsaddle, which is admirably
calculated to gall the animal's back. Future travellers would do well to purchase camel-saddles at
Aden, where they are cheap and well made.
109. He received four cloths of Cutch canvass, and six others of coarse American sheeting. At
Zayla these articles are double the Aden value, which would be about thirteen rupees or twenty-six shillings; in the bush the price is quadrupled. Before leaving us the Abban received at least
double the original hire. Besides small presents of cloth, dates, tobacco and rice to his friends, he
had six cubits of Sauda Wilayati or English indigo-dyed calico for women's fillets, and two of
Sauda Kashshi, a Cutch imitation, a Shukkah or half Tobe for his daughter, and a sheep for
himself, together with a large bundle of tobacco.
110. When the pastures are exhausted and the monsoon sets in, the Bedouins return to their
cool mountains; like the Iliyat of Persia, they have their regular Kishlakh and Yaylakh.
111. "Kaum" is the Arabic, "All" the Somali, term for these raids.
112. Amongst the old Egyptians the ostrich feather was the symbol of truth. The Somal call it
"Bal," the Arabs "Rish;" it is universally used here as the sign and symbol of victory. Generally the
white feather only is stuck in the hair; the Ísa are not particular in using black when they can
procure no other. All the clans wear it in the back hair, but each has its own rules; some make it a
standard decoration, others discard it after the first few days. The learned have an aversion to the
custom, stigmatising it as pagan and idolatrous; the vulgar look upon it as the highest mark of
113. This is an ancient practice in Asia as well as in Africa. The Egyptian temples show heaps
of trophies placed before the monarchs as eyes or heads were presented in Persia. Thus in 1 Sam.
xviii. 25., David brings the spoils of 200 Philistines, and shows them in full tale to the king, that he
might be the king's son-in-law. Any work upon the subject of Abyssinia (Bruce, book 7. chap, 8.),
or the late Afghan war, will prove that the custom of mutilation, opposed as it is both to
Christianity and El Islam, is still practised in the case of hated enemies and infidels; and De Bey
remarks of the Cape Kafirs, "victores cæsis excidunt <Greek> , quæ exsiccata regi
114. When attacking cattle, the plundering party endeavour with shoots and noise to disperse
the herds, whilst the assailants huddle them together, and attempt to face the danger in parties.
115. For the cheapest I paid twenty-three, for the dearest twenty-six dollars, besides a Riyal
upon each, under the names of custom dues and carriage. The Hajj had doubtless exaggerated the
price, but all were good animals, and the traveller has no right to complain, except when he pays
dear for a bad article.
116. Eusebius declares that the Abyssinians migrated from Asia to Africa whilst the Hebrews
were in Egypt (circ. A. M. 2345); and Syncellus places the event about the age of the Judges.
117. Moslems, ever fond of philological fable, thus derive the word Galla. When Ullabu, the
chief, was summoned by Mohammed to Islamise, the messenger returned to report that "he said
no,"--Kal la pronounced Gal la,--which impious refusal, said the Prophet, should from that time
become the name of the race.
118. Others have derived them from Metcha, Karaiyo, and Tulema, three sons of an AEthiopian
Emperor by a female slave. They have, according to some travellers, a prophecy that one day they
will march to the east and north, and conquer the inheritance of their Jewish ancestors. Mr.
Johnston asserts that the word Galla is "merely another form of Calla, which in the ancient
Persian, Sanscrit, Celtic, and their modern derivative languages, under modified, but not changed
terms, is expressive of blackness." The Gallas, however, are not a black people.
119. The Aden stone has been supposed to name the "Berbers," who must have been Gallas from the vicinity of Berberah. A certain amount of doubt still hangs on the interpretation: the Rev. Mr. Forster and Dr. Bird being the principal contrasts.
|Rev. Mr. Forster.||Dr. Bird|
|"We assailed with cries of hatred and rage the Abyssinians and Berbers. "We rode forth wrathfully against this refuse of mankind."||"He, the Syrian philosopher in Abadan, Bishop of Cape Aden, who inscribed this in the desert, blesses the institution of the faith."|
120. This word is generally translated Abyssinia; oriental geographers, however, use it in a
more extended sense. The Turks have held possessions in "Habash," in Abyssinia never.
121. The same words are repeated in the Infak el Maysur fl Tarikh bilad el Takrur (Appendix to
Denham and Clapperton's Travels, No. xii.), again confounding the Berbers and the Somal.
Afrikus, according to that author, was a king of Yemen who expelled the Berbers from Syria!
122. The learned Somal invariably spell their national name with an initial Sin, and disregard the
derivation from Saumal (<Arabic>), which would allude to the hardihood of the wild people. An
intelligent modern traveller derives "Somali" from the Abyssinian "Soumahe" or heathens, and
asserts that it corresponds with the Arabic word Kafir or unbeliever, the name by which Edrisi,
the Arabian geographer, knew and described the inhabitants of the Affah (Afar) coast, to the east
of the Straits of Bab el Mandeb. Such derivation is, however, unadvisable.
123. According to others he was the son of Abdullah. The written genealogies of the Somal
were, it is said, stolen by the Sherifs of Yemen, who feared to leave with the wild people
documents that prove the nobility of their descent.
124. The salient doubt suggested by this genealogy is the barbarous nature of the names. A
noble Arab would not call his children Gerhajis, Awal, and Rambad.
125. Lieut. Cruttenden applies the term Edoor (Aydur) to the descendants of Ishak, the
children of Gerhajis, Awal, and Jailah. His informants and mine differ, therefore, toto coelo.
According to some, Dirr was the father of Aydur; others make Dirr (it has been written Tir and
Durr) to have been the name of the Galla family into which Shaykh Ishak married.
126. Some travellers make Jabarti or Ghiberti to signify "slaves" from the Abyssinian Guebra;
others "Strong in the Faith" (El Islam). Bruce applies it to the Moslems of Abyssinia: it is still
used, though rarely, by the Somal, who in these times generally designate by it the Sawahili or
127. The same scandalous story is told of the venerable patron saint of Aden, the Sherif
128. Darud bin Ismail's tomb is near the Yubbay Tug in the windward mountains; an account
of it will be found in Lieut. Speke's diary.
129. The two rivers Shebayli and Juba.
130. Curious to any this mixture does not destroy the hair; it would soon render a European
bald. Some of the Somal have applied it to their beards; the result has been the breaking and
falling off of the filaments.
131. Few Somal except the citizens smoke, on account of the expense, all, however, use the
Takhzinah or quid.
132. The best description of the dress is that of Fénélon: "Leurs habits sont aisés à faire, car en
ce doux climat on ne porte qu'une pièce d'étoffe fine et légère, qui n'est point taillee, et que
chacun met a longs plis autour de son corps pour la modestie; lui donnant la forme qu'il veut."
133. Equivalent to reading out the Church Catechism at an English wedding.
134. Certain months of the lunar year. In 1854, the third Rajalo, corresponding with Rabia the
Second, began on the 21st of December.
135. The word literally means, "lighting of fire." It corresponds with the Nayruz of Yemen, a
palpable derivation, as the word itself proves, from the old Guebre conquerors. In Arabia New
Year's Day is called Ras el Sanah, and is not celebrated by any peculiar solemnities. The ancient
religion of the Afar coast was Sabaeism, probably derived from the Berbers or shepherds,--according to Bruce the first faith of the East, and the only religion of Eastern Africa. The Somal
still retain a tradition that the "Furs," or ancient Guebres, once ruled the land.
136. Their names also are generally derived from their Pagan ancestors: a list of the most
common may be interesting to ethnologists. Men are called Rírash, Igah, Beuh, Fáhí, Samattar,
Fárih, Madar, Rághe, Dubayr, Irik, Diddar, Awálah, and Alyán. Women's names are Ayblá, Ayyo,
Aurálá, Ambar, Zahabo, Ashkaro, Alká, Asobá, Gelo, Gobe, Mayrán and Samawedá.
137. It is proved by the facility with which they pick up languages, Western us well as Eastern,
by mere ear and memory.
138. So the old Muscovites, we are told, always began married life with a sound flogging.
139. I would not advise polygamy amongst highly civilised races, where the sexes are nearly
equal, and where reproduction becomes a minor duty. Monogamy is the growth of civilisation: a
plurality of wives is the natural condition of man in thinly populated countries, where he who has
the largest family is the greatest benefactor of his kind.
140. The old French term "la petite oie" explains it better. Some trace of the custom may be
found in the Kafir's Slambuka or Schlabonka, for a description of which I must refer to the
141. The Somal ignore the Kafir custom during lactation.
142. The citizens have learned the Asiatic art of bargaining under a cloth. Both parties sit
opposite each other, holding hands: if the little finger for instance be clasped, it means 6, 60, or
600 dollars, according to the value of the article for sale; if the ring finger, 7, 70, or 700, and so
143. So, according to M. Krapf, the Suaheli of Eastern Africa wastes his morning hours in
running from house to house, to his friends or superiors, ku amkia (as he calls it), to make his
morning salutations. A worse than Asiatic idleness is the curse of this part of the world.
144. Diwan el Jabr, for instance, is a civil court, opposed to the Mahkamah or the Kazi's
145. By this route the Mukattib or courier travels on foot from Zayla to Harar in five days at
the most. The Somal reckon their journeys by the Gedi or march, the Arab "Hamleh," which
varies from four to five hours. They begin before dawn and halt at about 11 A.M., the time of the
morning meal. When a second march is made they load at 3 P.M. and advance till dark; thus
fifteen miles would be the average of fast travelling. In places of danger they will cover twenty-six
or twenty-seven miles of ground without halting to eat or rest: nothing less, however, than regard
for "dear life" can engender such activity. Generally two or three hours' work per diem is
considered sufficient; and, where provisions abound, halts are long and frequent.
146. The Mikahil is a clan of the Habr Awal tribe living near Berberah, and celebrated for their
bloodthirsty and butchering propensities. Many of the Midgan or serviles (a term explained in
Chap. II.) are domesticated amongst them.
147. So the Abyssinian chief informed M. Krapf that he loved the French, but could not endure
us--simply the effect of manner.
148. The first is the name of the individual; the second is that of her father.
149. This delicate operation is called by the Arabs Daasah (whence the "Dosch ceremony" at
Cairo). It is used over most parts of the Eastern world as a remedy for sickness and fatigue, and is
generally preferred to Takbis or Dugmo, the common style of shampooing, which, say many
Easterns, loosens the skin.
150. The Somal, from habit, enjoy no other variety; they even showed disgust at my Latakia.
Tobacco is grown in some places by the Gudabirsi and other tribes; bat it is rare and bad. Without
this article it would be impossible to progress in East Africa; every man asks for a handful, and
many will not return milk for what they expect to receive as a gift. Their importunity reminds the
traveller of the Galloway beggars some generations ago:--"They are for the most part great
chewers of tobacco, and are so addicted to it, that they will ask for a piece thereof from a stranger
as he is riding on his way; and therefore let not a traveller want an ounce or two of roll tobacco in
his pocket, and for an inch or two thereof he need not fear the want of a guide by day or night."
151. Flesh boiled in large slices, sun-dried, broken to pieces and fried in ghee.
152. The Bahr Assal or Salt Lake, near Tajurrah, annually sends into the interior thousands of
little matted parcels containing this necessary. Inland, the Bedouins will rub a piece upon the
tongue before eating, or pass about a lump, as the Dutch did with sugar in the last war; at Harar a
donkey-load is the price of a slave; and the Abyssinians say of a millionaire "he eateth salt."
153. The element found upon the maritime plain is salt or brackish. There is nothing concerning
which the African traveller should be so particular as water; bitter with nitre, and full of organic
matter, it causes all those dysenteric diseases which have made research in this part of the world a
Upas tree to the discoverer. Pocket filters are invaluable. The water of wells should be boiled and
passed through charcoal; and even then it might be mixed to a good purpose with a few drops of
proof spirit. The Somal generally carry their store in large wickerwork pails. I preferred skins, as
more portable and less likely to taint the water.
154. Here, as in Arabia, boxes should be avoided, the Bedouins always believe them to contain
treasures. Day after day I have been obliged to display the contents to crowds of savages, who
amused themselves by lifting up the case with loud cries of "hoo! hoo!! hoo!!!" (the popular
exclamation of astonishment), and by speculating upon the probable amount of dollars contained
155. The following list of my expenses may perhaps be useful to future travellers. It must be observed that, had the whole outfit been purchased at Aden, a considerable saving would have resulted:--
|Passage money from Aden to Zayla||33|
|Presents at Zayla||100|
|Price of four mules with saddles and bridles||225|
|Price of four camels||88|
|Provisions (tobacco, rice, dates &c.) for three months||428|
|Price of 150 Tobes||357|
|Nine pieces of indigo-dyed cotton||16|
|Minor expenses (cowhides for camels, mats for tents, presents to Arabs, a box of beads, three handsome Abyssinian Tobes bought for chiefs)||166|
|Expenses at Berberah, and passage back to Aden||77|
Total Cos. Rs.
156. I shall frequently use Somali terms, not to display my scanty knowledge of the dialect, but
because they perchance may prove serviceable to my successors.
157. The Somal always "side-line" their horses and mules with stout stiff leathern thongs
provided with loops and wooden buttons; we found them upon the whole safer than lariats or
158. Arabs hate "El Sifr" or whistling, which they hold to be the chit- chat of the Jinns. Some
say that the musician's mouth is not to be purified for forty days; others that Satan, touching a
man's person, causes him to produce the offensive sound. The Hejazis objected to Burckhardt
that he could not help talking to devils, and walking about the room like an unquiet spirit. The
Somali has no such prejudice. Like the Kafir of the Cape, he passes his day whistling to his flocks
and herds; moreover, he makes signals by changing the note, and is skilful in imitating the song of
159. In this country camels foal either in the Gugi (monsoon), or during the cold season
immediately after the autumnal rains.
160. The shepherd's staff is a straight stick about six feet long, with a crook at one end, and at
the other a fork to act as a rake.
161. These utensils will be described in a future chapter.
162. The settled Somal have a holy horror of dogs, and, Wahhabi-like, treat man's faithful slave
most cruelly. The wild people are more humane; they pay two ewes for a good colley, and
demand a two-year-old sheep as "diyat" or blood-money for the animal, if killed.
163. Vultures and percnopters lie upon the wing waiting for the garbage of the kraals;
consequently they are rare near the cow-villages, where animals are not often killed.
164. They apply this term to all but themselves; an Indian trader who had travelled to Harar,
complained to me that he had always been called a Frank by the Bedouins in consequence of his
wearing Shalwar or drawers.
165. Generally it is not dangerous to write before these Bedouins, as they only suspect account-keeping, and none but the educated recognise a sketch. The traveller, however, must be on his
guard: in the remotest villages he will meet Somal who have returned to savage life after visiting
the Sea-board, Arabia, and possibly India or Egypt.
166. I have often observed this ceremony performed upon a new turban or other article of
attire; possibly it may be intended as a mark of contempt, assumed to blind the evil eye.
167. Such is the general form of the Somali grave. Sometimes two stumps of wood take the
place of the upright stones at the head and foot, and around one grave I counted twenty trophies.
168. Some braves wear above the right elbow an ivory armlet called Fol or Aj: in the south this
denotes the elephant-slayer. Other Ísa clans assert their warriorhood by small disks of white stone,
fashioned like rings, and fitted upon the little finger of the left hand. Others bind a bit of red cloth
round the brow.
169. It is sufficient for a Bedouin to look at the general appearance of an animal; he at once
recognises the breed. Each clan, however, in this part of Eastern Africa has its own mark.
170. They found no better word than "fire" to denote my gun.
171. "Oddai", an old man, corresponds with the Arab Shaykh in etymology. The Somal,
however, give the name to men of all ages after marriage.
172. The "Dihh" is the Arab "Wady",--a fiumara or freshet. "Webbe" (Obbay, Abbai, &c.) is a
large river; "Durdur", a running stream.
173. I saw these Dihhs only in the dry season; at times the torrent must be violent, cutting ten
or twelve feet deep into the plain.
174. The name is derived from Kuranyo, an ant: it means the "place of ants," and is so called
from the abundance of a tree which attracts them.
175. The Arabs call these pillars "Devils," the Somal "Sigo."
176. The Cape Kafirs have the same prejudice against fish, comparing its flesh, to that of
serpents. In some points their squeamishness resembles that of the Somal: he, for instance, who
tastes the Rhinoceros Simus is at once dubbed "Om Fogazan" or outcast.
177. This superstition may have arisen from the peculiarity that the camel's milk, however
fresh, if placed upon the fire, breaks like some cows' milk.
178. "Bori" in Southern Arabia popularly means a water-pipe: here it is used for tobacco
179. "Goban" is the low maritime plain lying below the "Bor" or Ghauts, and opposed to Ogu,
the table-land above. "Ban" is an elevated grassy prairie, where few trees grow; "Dir," a small
jungle, called Haija by the Arabs; and Khain is a forest or thick bush. "Bor," is a mountain, rock,
or hill: a stony precipice is called "Jar," and the high clay banks of a ravine "Gebi."
180. Snakes are rare in the cities, but abound in the wilds of Eastern Africa, and are dangerous
to night travellers, though seldom seen by day. To kill a serpent is considered by the Bedouins
almost as meritorious as to slay an Infidel. The Somal have many names for the reptile tribe. The
Subhanyo, a kind of whipsnake, and a large yellow rock snake called Got, are little feared. The
Abesi (in Arabic el Hayyeh,--the Cobra) is so venomous that it kills the camel; the Mas or Hanash,
and a long black snake called Jilbis, are considered equally dangerous. Serpents are in Somali-land
the subject of many superstitions. One horn of the Cerastes, for instance, contains a deadly
poison: the other, pounded and drawn across the eye, makes man a seer and reveals to him the
treasures of the earth. There is a flying snake which hoards precious stones, and is attended by a
hundred guards: a Somali horseman once, it is said, carried away a jewel; he was pursued by a
reptile army, and although he escaped to his tribe, the importunity of the former proprietors was
so great that the plunder was eventually restored to them. Centipedes are little feared; their venom
leads to inconveniences more ridiculous than dangerous. Scorpions, especially the large yellow
variety, are formidable in hot weather: I can speak of the sting from experience. The first
symptom is a sensation of nausea, and the pain shoots up after a few minutes to the groin, causing
a swelling accompanied by burning and throbbing, which last about twelve hours. The Somal
bandage above the wound and wait patiently till the effect subsides.
181. These are tightened in case of accident, and act as superior ligatures. I should, however,
advise every traveller in these regions to provide himself with a pneumatic pump, and not to place
his trust in Zaal, garlic, or opium.
182. The grey rat is called by the Somal "Baradublay:" in Eastern Africa it is a minor plague,
after India and Arabia, where, neglecting to sleep in boots, I have sometimes been lamed for a
week by their venomous bites.
183. In this country the jackal attends not upon the lion, but the Waraba. His morning cry is
taken as an omen of good or evil according to the note.
184. Of this bird, a red and long-legged plover, the Somal tell the following legend. Originally
her diet was meat, and her society birds of prey: one night, however, her companions having
devoured all the provisions whilst she slept, she swore never to fly with friends, never to eat flesh,
and never to rest during the hours of darkness. When she sees anything in the dark she repeat her
oaths, and, according to the Somal, keeps careful watch all night. There is a larger variety of this
bird, which, purblind daring daytime, rises from under the traveller's feet with loud cries. The
Somal have superstitions similar to that above noticed about several kinds of birds. When the cry
of the "Galu" (so called from his note Gal! Gal! come in! come in!) is heard over a kraal, the
people say, "Let us leave this place, the Galu hath spoken!" At night they listen for the Fin, also
an ill-omened bird: when a man declares "the Fin did not sleep last night," it is considered
advisable to shift ground.
185. Throughout this country ostriches are exceedingly wild: the Rev. Mr. Erhardt, of the
Mombas Mission, informs me that they are equally so farther south. The Somal stalk them during
the day with camels, and kill them with poisoned arrows. It is said that about 3 P.M. the birds
leave their feeding places, and traverse long distances to roost: the people assert that they are
blind at night, and rise up under the pursuer's feet.
186. Several Acacias afford gums, which the Bedouins eat greedily to strengthen themselves.
The town's people declare that the food produces nothing but flatulence.
187. "Subhan' Allah!" an exclamation of pettishness or displeasure.
188. The hills not abounding in camels, like the maritime regions, asses become the principal
means of transport.
189. This barbarous practice is generally carried out in cases of small-pox where contagion is
190. Fear--danger; it is a word which haunts the traveller in Somali-land.
191. The Somali Tol or Tul corresponds with the Arabic Kabilah, a tribe: under it is the Kola or
Jilib (Ar. Fakhizah), a clan. "Gob," is synonymous with the Arabic Kabail, "men of family,"
opposed to "Gum," the caste-less. In the following pages I shall speak of the Somali nation, the
Ísa tribe, the Rer Musa clan, and the Rer Galan sept, though by no means sure that such verbal
gradation is generally recognised.
192. The Ísa, for instance, are divided into--1. Rer Wardik (the royal clan).
These are again subdivided: the Rer Musa (numbering half the Ísa), split up, for instance, into--1. Rer Galan.
193. Traces of this turbulent equality may be found amongst the slavish Kafirs in general
meetings of the tribe, on the occasion of harvest home, when the chief who at other times
destroys hundreds by a gesture, is abused and treated with contempt by the youngest warrior.
195. For instance, Anfarr, the "Spotted;" Tarren, "Wheat-flour;" &c. &c.
196. It is used by the northern people, the Abyssinians, Gallas, Adail, Ísa and Gudabirsi; the
southern Somal ignore it.
197. The most dangerous disease is small-pox, which history traces to Eastern Abyssinia, where it still becomes at times a violent epidemic, sweeping off its thousands. The patient, if a man of note, is placed upon the sand, and fed with rice or millet bread till he recovers or dies. The chicken-pox kills many infants; they are treated by bathing in the fresh blood of a sheep, covered with the skin, and exposed to the sun. Smoke and glare, dirt and flies, cold winds and naked extremities, cause ophthalmia, especially in the hills; this disease rarely blinds any save the citizens, and no remedy is known. Dysentery is cured by rice and sour milk, patients also drink clarified cows' butter; and in bad cases the stomach is cauterized, fire and disease, according to the Somal, never coexisting. Haemorroids, when dry, are reduced by a stick used as a bougie and allowed to remain in loco all night. Sometimes the part affected is cupped with a horn and knife, or a leech performs excision. The diet is camels' or goats' flesh and milk; clarified butter and Bussorab dates--rice and mutton are carefully avoided. For a certain local disease, they use senna or colocynth, anoint the body with sulphur boiled in ghee, and expose it to the sun, or they leave the patient all night in the dew;--abstinence and perspiration generally effect a cure. For the minor form, the afflicted drink the melted fat of a sheep's tail. Consumption is a family complaint, and therefore considered incurable; to use the Somali expression, they address the patient with "Allah, have mercy upon thee!" not with "Allah cure thee!"
There are leeches who have secret simples for curing wounds. Generally the blood is squeezed out, the place is washed with water, the lips are sewn up and a dressing of astringent leaves is applied. They have splints for fractures, and they can reduce dislocations. A medical friend at Aden partially dislocated his knee, which half-a-dozen of the faculty insisted upon treating as a sprain. Of all his tortures none was more severe than that inflicted by my Somali visitors. They would look at him, distinguish the complaint, ask him how long he had been invalided, and hearing the reply--four months--would break into exclamations of wonder. "In our country," they cried, "when a man falls, two pull his body and two his legs, then they tie sticks round it, give him plenty of camel's milk, and he is well in a month;" a speech which made friend S. groan in spirit.
Firing and clarified butter are the farrier's panaceas. Camels are cured by sheep's head broth,
asses by chopping one ear, mules by cutting off the tail, and horses by ghee or a drench of melted
198. Every hill and peak, ravine and valley, will be known by some striking epithet: as Borad,
the White Hill; Libahlay, the Lions' Mountain; and so forth.
199. The Arabs call it Kakatua, and consider it a species of parrot. The name Cacatoes, is given
by the Cape Boers, according to Delegorgue, to the Coliphymus Concolor. The Gobiyan
resembles in shape and flight our magpie, it has a crest and a brown coat with patches of white,
and a noisy note like a frog. It is very cunning and seldom affords a second shot.
200. The berries of the Armo are eaten by children, and its leaves, which never dry up, by the
people in times of famine; they must be boiled or the acrid juice would excoriate the mouth.
201. Siyaro is the Somali corruption of the Arabic Ziyarat, which, synonymous with Mazar,
means a place of pious visitation.
202. The Somal call the insect Abor, and its hill Dundumo.
203. The corrupted Portuguese word used by African travellers; in the Western regions it is
called Kelder, and the Arabs term it "Kalam."
204. Three species of the Dar or Aloe grow everywhere in the higher regions of the Somali
country. The first is called Dar Main, the inside of its peeled leaf is chewed when water cannot be
procured. The Dar Murodi or Elephant's aloe is larger and useless: the Dar Digwen or
Long-eared resembles that of Socotra.
205. The Hig is called "Salab" by the Arabs, who use its long tough fibre for ropes. Patches of
this plant situated on moist ground at the foot of hills, are favourite places with sand antelope,
spur-fowl and other game.
206. The Darnel or pod has a sweetish taste, not unlike that of a withered pea; pounded and
mixed with milk or ghee, it is relished by the Bedouins when vegetable food is scarce.
207. Dobo in the Somali tongue signifies mud or clay.
208. The Loajira (from "Loh," a cow) is a neatherd; the "Geljira" is the man who drives camels.
209. For these we paid twenty-four oubits of canvass, and two of blue cotton; equivalent to
about three shillings.
210. The natives call them Jana; they are about three-fourths of an inch long, and armed with
stings that prick like thorns and burn violently for a few minutes.
211. Near Berberah, where the descents are more rapid, such panoramas are common.
212. This is the celebrated Waba, which produces the Somali Wabayo, a poison applied to darts and arrows. It is a round stiff evergreen, not unlike a bay, seldom taller than twenty feet, affecting hill sides and torrent banks, growing in clumps that look black by the side of the Acacias; thornless, with a laurel-coloured leaf, which cattle will not touch, unless forced by famine, pretty bunches of pinkish white flowers, and edible berries black and ripening to red. The bark is thin, the wood yellow, compact, exceedingly tough and hard, the root somewhat like liquorice; the latter is prepared by trituration and other processes, and the produce is a poison in substance and colour resembling pitch.
Travellers have erroneously supposed the arrow poison of Eastern Africa to be the sap of a Euphorbium. The following "observations accompanying a substance procured near Aden, and used by the Somalis to poison their arrows," by F. S. Arnott, Esq., M.D., will be read with interest.
"In February 1853, Dr. Arnott had forwarded to him a watery extract prepared from the root of a tree, described as 'Wabie,' a toxicodendron from the Somali country on the Habr Gerhajis range of the Goolies mountains. The tree grows to the height of twenty feet. The poison is obtained by boiling the root in water, until it attains the consistency of an inspissated juice. When cool the barb of the arrow is anointed with the juice, which, is regarded as a virulent poison, and it renders a wound tainted therewith incurable. Dr. Arnott was informed that death usually took place within an hour; that the hairs and nails dropped off after death, and it was believed that the application of heat assisted its poisonous qualities. He could not, however ascertain the quantity made use of by the Somalis, and doubted if the point of an arrow would convey a sufficient quantity to produce such immediate effects. He had tested its powers in some other experiments, besides the ones detailed, and although it failed in several instances, yet he was led to the conclusion that it was a very powerful narcotic irritant poison. He had not, however, observed the local effect said to be produced upon the point of insertion."
"The following trials were described:--"1. A little was inserted into the inside of the ear of a sickly sheep, and death occurred in two hours.
Further experiments of the Somali arrow poison by B. Haines, M. B., assistant surgeon (from Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society of Bombay. No. 2. new series 1853-1854.)
"Having while at Ahmednuggur received from the secretary a small quantity of Somali arrow poison, alluded to by Mr. Vaughan in his notes on articles of the Materia Medica, and published in the last volume of the Society's Transactions, and called 'Wabie,' the following experiments were made with it:--
"September 17th. 1. A small healthy rabbit was taken, and the skin over the hip being divided, a piece of the poisonous extract about the size of a corn of wheat was inserted into the cellular tissue beneath: thirty minutes afterwards, seems disinclined to move, breathing quicker, passed * *: one hour, again passed * * * followed by * * *; has eaten a little: one hour and a half, appears quite to have recovered from his uneasiness, and has become as lively as before. (This rabbit was made use of three days afterwards for the third experiment.)
"2. A full-grown rabbit. Some of the poison being dissolved in water a portion of the solution corresponding to about fifteen grains was injected into an opening in the peritoneum, so large a quantity being used, in consequence of the apparent absence of effect in the former case: five minutes, he appears to be in pain, squeaking occasionally; slight convulsive retractions of the head and neck begin to take place, passed a small quantity of * *: ten minutes, the spasms are becoming more frequent, but are neither violent nor prolonged, respiration scarcely perceptible; he now fell on his side: twelve minutes, several severe general convulsions came on, and at the end of another minute he was quite dead, the pulsation being for the last minute quite imperceptible. The chest was instantly opened, but there was no movement of the heart whatever.
"September 20th. 3. The rabbit used for the first experiment was taken and an attempt was made to inject a little filtered solution into the jugular rein, which failed from the large size of the nozzle of the syringe; a good deal of blood was lost. A portion of the solution corresponding to about two grains and a half of the poison was then injected into a small opening made in the pleura. Nine minutes afterwards: symptoms precisely resembling those in number two began to appear. Fourteen minutes: convulsions more violent; fell on his side. Sixteen minutes, died.
"4. A portion of the poison, as much as could be applied, was smeared over the square iron head of an arrow, and allowed to dry. The arrow was then shot into the buttock of a goat with sufficient force to carry the head out of sight; twenty minutes afterwards, no effect whatever having followed, the arrow was extracted. The poison had become softened and was wiped completely off two of the sides, and partly off the two other sides. The animal appeared to suffer very little pain from the wound; he was kept for a fortnight, and then died, but not apparently from any cause connected with the wound. In fact he was previously diseased. Unfortunately the seat of the wound was not then examined, but a few days previously it appeared to have healed of itself. In the rabbit of the former experiment, three days after the insertion of the poison in the wound, the latter was closed with a dry coagulum and presented no marks of inflammation around it.
"5. Two good-sized village dogs being secured, to each after several hours' fasting, were given about five grains enveloped in meat. The smaller one chewed it a long time, and frothed much at the mouth. He appeared to swallow very little of it, but the larger one ate the whole up without difficulty. After more than two hours no effect whatever being perceptible in either animal, they were shot to get rid of them. These experiments, though not altogether complete, certainly establish the fact that it is a poison of no very great activity. The quantity made use of in the second experiment was too great to allow a fair deduction to be made as to its properties. When a fourth to a sixth of the quantity was employed in the third experiment the same effects followed, but with rather less rapidity; death resulting in the one case in ten, in the other in sixteen minutes, although the death in the latter case was perhaps hastened by the loss of blood. The symptoms more resemble those produced by nux vomica than by any other agent. No apparent drowsiness, spasms, slight at first, beginning in the neck, increasing in intensity, extending over the whole body, and finally stopping respiration and with it the action of the heart. Experiments first and fourth show that a moderate quantity, such as may be introduced on the point of an arrow, produced no sensible effect either on a goat or a rabbit, and it could scarcely be supposed that it would have more on a man than on the latter animal; and the fifth experiment proves that a full dose taken into the stomach produces no result within a reasonable time.
"The extract appeared to have been very carelessly prepared. It contained much earthy matter,
and even small stones, and a large proportion of what seemed to be oxidized extractive matter
also was left undisturbed when it was treated with water: probably it was not a good specimen. It
seems, however, to keep well, and shows no disposition to become mouldy."
213. The Somal divide their year into four seasons:--
1. Gugí (monsoon, from "Gug," rain) begins in April, is violent for forty- four days and subsides in August. Many roads may be traversed at this season, which are death in times of drought; the country becomes "Barwáko "(in Arabic Rakha, a place of plenty,) forage and water abound, the air is temperate, and the light showers enliven the traveller.
2. Hagá is the hot season after the monsoon, and corresponding with our autumn: the country suffers from the Fora, a violent dusty Simum, which is allayed by a fall of rain called Karan.
3. Dáir, the beginning of the cold season, opens the sea to shipping. The rain which then falls is called Dairti or Hais: it comes with a west- south-west wind from the hills of Harar.
4. Jílál is the dry season from December to April. The country then becomes Abar (in Arabic
Jahr,) a place of famine: the Nomads migrate to the low plains, where pasture is procurable. Some
reckon as a fifth season Kalil, or the heats between Jílál and the monsoon.
214. According to Bruce this tree flourishes everywhere on the low hot plains between, the Red
Sea and the Abyssinian hills. The Gallas revere it and plant it over sacerdotal graves. It suggests
the Fetiss trees of Western Africa, and the Hiero-Sykaminon of Egypt.
215. There are two species of this bird, both called by the Somal, "Daudaulay" from their
216. The limbs are perfumed with the "Hedi," and "Karanli," products of the Ugadayn or
217. This great oath suggests the litholatry of the Arabs, derived from the Abyssinian and Galla
Sabaeans; it is regarded by the Ísa and Gudabirsi Bedouins as even more binding than the popular
religious adjurations. When a suspected person denies his guilt, the judge places a stone before
him, saying "Tabo!" (feel!); the liar will seldom dare to touch it. Sometimes a Somali will take up
a stone and say "Dagaha," (it is a stone,) he may then generally be believed.
218. Kariyah is the Arabic word.
219. In the northern country the water-proofing matter is, according to travellers, the juice of
the Quolquol, a species of Euphorbium.
220. The flies are always most troublesome where cows have been; kraals of goats and camels
are comparatively free from the nuisance.
221. Some years ago a French lady landed at Berberah: her white face, according to the End of
Time, made every man hate his wife and every wife hate herself. I know not who the fair dame
was: her charms and black silk dress, however, have made a lasting impression upon the Somali
heart; from the coast to Harar she is still remembered with rapture.
222. The Abyssinian Brindo of omophagean fame is not eaten by the Somal, who always boil,
broil, or sun-dry their flesh. They have, however, no idea of keeping it, whereas the more civilised
citizens of Harar hang their meat till tender.
223. Whilst other animals have indigenous names, the horse throughout the Somali country
retains the Arab appellation "Faras." This proves that the Somal, like their progenitors the Gallas,
originally had no cavalry. The Gudabirsi tribe has but lately mounted itself by making purchases of
the Habr Gerhajis and the Habr Awal herds.
224. The milch cow is here worth two Tobes, or about six shillings.
225. Particularly amongst the windward tribes visited by Lieut. Cruttenden, from whom I
borrow this description.
226. This beautiful bird, with a black and crimson plume, and wings lined with silver, soars high
and seldom descends except at night: its shyness prevented my shooting a specimen. The Abodi
devours small deer and birds: the female lays a single egg in a large loose nest on the summit of a
tall tree, and she abandons her home when the hand of man has violated it. The Somal have many
superstitions connected with this hawk: if it touch a child the latter dies, unless protected by the
talismanic virtues of the "Hajar Abodi," a stone found in the bird's body. As it frequently swoops
upon children carrying meat, the belief has doubtlessly frequently fulfilled itself.
227. The Bushman creeps close to the beast and wounds it in the leg or stomach with a
diminutive dart covered with a couch of black poison: if a drop of blood appear, death results
from the almost unfelt wound.
228. So the Veddahs of Ceylon are said to have destroyed the elephant by shooting a tiny
arrow into the sole of the foot. The Kafirs attack it in bodies armed with sharp and broad-head
"Omkondo" or assegais: at last, one finds the opportunity of cutting deep into the hind back
sinew, and so disables the animal.
229. The traveller Delegorgue asserts that the Boers induce the young elephant to accompany
them, by rubbing upon its trunk the hand wetted with the perspiration of the huntsman's brow,
and that the calf, deceived by the similarity of smell, believes that it is with its dam. The fact is,
that the orphan elephant, like the bison, follows man because it fears to be left alone.
230. An antelope, about five hands high with small horns, which inhabits the high ranges of the
mountains, generally in couples, resembles the musk deer, and is by no means shy, seldom flying
till close pressed; when running it hops awkwardly upon the toes and never goes far.
231. These are solemn words used in the equestrian games of the Somal.
232. Sometimes milk is poured over the head, as gold and silver in the Nuzzeranah of India.
These ceremonies are usually performed by low-caste men; the free-born object to act in them.
233. The Somal call it Hiddik or Anukub; the quills are used as head scratchers, and are
exported to Aden for sale.
234. I It appears to be the Ashkoko of the Amharas, identified by Bruce with the Saphan of the
Hebrews. This coney lives in chinks and holes of rocks: it was never seen by me on the plains. The
Arabs eat it, the Somal generally do not.
235. The prefix appears to be a kind of title appropriated by saints and divines.
236. These charms are washed off and drunk by the people: an economical proceeding where
paper is scarce.
237. "Birsan" in Somali, meaning to increase.
238. The Ayyal Yunis, the principal clan, contains four septs viz.:--1. Jibril Yunis.
The other chief clans are--1. Mikahil Dera.
239. The best prayer-skins are made at Ogadayn; there they cost about half-a-dollar each.
240. It is worn for a year, during which modest women will not marry. Some tribes confine the
symbol to widowhood, others extend it to all male relations; a strip of white cotton, or even a
white fillet, instead of the usual blue cloth, is used by the more civilized.
241. Cain is said to repose under Jebel Shamsan at Aden--an appropriate sepulchre.
242. This beast, called by the Somal Jambel, closely resembles the Sindh species. It is generally
found in the plains and prairies.
243. In the Somali country, as in Kafirland, the Duwao or jackal is peculiarly bold and fierce.
Disdaining garbage, he carries off lambs and kids, and fastens upon a favourite friandise, the
sheep's tail; the victim runs away in terror, and unless the jackal be driven off by dogs, leaves a
delicate piece of fat behind it.
244. The Somal call the owl "Shimbir libah"--the lion bird.
245. The plume was dark, chequered with white, but the bird was so wild that no specimen
could be procured.
246. The Arabs apply this term to tea.
247. The Dayyib of the Somal, and the Sinaubar of the Arabs; its line of growth is hereabouts
an altitude of 5000 feet.
248. Travellers in Central Africa describe exactly similar buildings, bell- shaped huts, the
materials of which are stakes, clay and reed, conical at the top, and looking like well-thatched
249. Amongst the Fellatahs of Western Africa, only the royal huts are surmounted by the
250. These platforms are found even amongst the races inhabiting the regions watered by the
251. Charred sticks about six feet long and curved at the handle.
252. Equally simple are the other implements. The plough, which in Eastern Africa has passed
the limits of Egypt, is still the crooked tree of all primitive people, drawn by oxen; and the hoe is a
wooden blade inserted into a knobbed handle.
253. It is afterwards stored in deep dry holes, which are carefully covered to keep out rats and
insects; thus the grain is preserved undamaged for three or four years.
254. This word is applied to the cultivated districts, the granaries of Somali land.
255. "The huge raven with gibbous or inflated beak and white nape," writes Mr. Blyth, "is the
corvus crassirostris of Ruppell, and, together with a nearly similar Cape species, is referred to the
genus Corvultur of Leason."
256. In these hills it is said sometimes to freeze; I never saw ice.
257. It is a string of little silver bells and other ornaments made by the Arabs at Berberah.
258. Harari, Somali and Galla, besides Arabic, and other more civilized dialects.
259. The Negroes of Senegal and the Hottentots use wooden mortars. At Natal and amongst
the Amazulu Kafirs, the work is done with slabs and rollers like those described above.
260. In the Eastern World this well-known fermentation is generally called "Buzab," whence
the old German word "busen" and our "booze." The addition of a dose of garlic converts it into
261. The Somal will not kill these plundering brutes, like the Western Africans believing them
to be enchanted men.
262. Some years ago Adan plundered one of Sharmarkay's caravans; repenting the action, he
offered in marriage a daughter, who, however, died before nuptials.
263. Gisti is a "princess" in Harari, equivalent to the Somali Geradah.
264. They are, however, divided into clans, of which the following are the principal:--1. Bahawiyah, the race which supplies the Gerads.
265. I do not describe these people, the task having already been performed by many abler pens
266. They are divided into the Bah Ambaro (the chief's family) and the Shaykhashed.
267. The only specimen of stunted humanity seen by me in the Somali country. He was about
eighteen years old, and looked ten.
268. At first I thought of writing it in Arabic; but having no seal, a sine qua non in an Eastern
letter, and reflecting upon the consequences of detection or even suspicion, it appeared more
politic to come boldly forward as a European.
269. It belongs, I was informed, to two clans of Gallas, who year by year in turn monopolise
270. Of this tree are made the substantial doors, the basins and the porringers of Harar.
271. The Webbe Shebayli or Haines River.
272. This scarecrow is probably a talisman. In the Saharah, according to Richardson, the skull
of an ass averts the evil eye from gardens.
273. The following is a table of our stations, directions, and distances:--
|1.||From Zayla to Gudingaras||S.E. 165°||19|
|5.||To El Arno||190°||11|
|7.||To Halimalah (the Holy Tree about half way)||192°||7|
274. The Ashantees at customs' time run across the royal threshold to escape being seized and
sacrificed; possibly the trace of the pagan rite is still preserved by Moslem Harar, where it is now
held a mark of respect and always exacted from the citizens.
275. I afterwards learned that when a man neglects a summons his door is removed to the royal
court-yard on the first day; on the second, it is confiscated. The door is a valuable and venerable
article in this part of Africa. According to Bruce, Ptolemy Euergetes engraved it upon the Axum
Obelisk for the benefit of his newly conquered AEthiopian subjects, to whom it had been
276. In Abyssinia, according to the Lord of Geesh, this is a mark of royal familiarity and
277. About seven years ago the Hajj Sharmarkay of Zayla chose as his agent at Harar, one of the Amir's officers, a certain Hajj Jamitay. When this man died Sharmarkay demanded an account from his sons; at Berberah they promised to give it, but returning to Harar they were persuaded, it is believed, by the Gerad Mohammed, to forget their word. Upon this Sharmarkay's friends and relations, incited by one Husayn, a Somali who had lived many years at Harar in the Amir's favour, wrote an insulting letter to the Gerad, beginning with, "No peace be upon thee, and no blessings of Allah, thou butcher! son of a butcher &c. &c.!" and concluding with a threat to pinion him in the market-place as a warning to men. Husayn carried the letter, which at first excited general terror; when, however, the attack did not take place, the Amir Abubakr imprisoned the imprudent Somali till he died. Sharmarkay by way of reprisals persuaded Alu, son of Sahlah Salaseh, king of Shoa, to seize about three hundred Harari citizens living in his dominions and to keep them two years in durance.
The Amir Abubakr is said on his deathbed to have warned his son against the Gerad. When
Ahmad reported his father's decease to Zayla, the Hajj Sharmarkay ordered a grand Maulid or
Mass in honour of the departed. Since that time, however, there has been little intercourse and no
cordiality between them.
278. Thus M. Isenberg (Preface to Ambaric Grammar, p. iv.) calls the city Harrar or Ararge.
279. "Harar," is not an uncommon name in this part of Eastern Africa: according to some, the
city is so called from a kind of tree, according to others, from the valley below it.
280. I say about: we were compelled to boil our thermometers at Wilensi, not venturing upon
such operation within the city.
281. The other six were Efat, Arabini, Duaro, Sharka, Bali and Darah.
282. A circumstantial account of the Jihad or Moslem crusades is, I am told, given in the Fath
el Habashah, unfortunately a rare work. The Amir of Harar had but one volume, and the other is
to be found at Mocha or Hudaydah.
283. This prince built "Debra Berhan," the "Hill of glory," a church dedicated to the Virgin
Mary at Gondar.
284. A prince of many titles: he is generally called Wanag Suggad, "feared amongst the lions,"
because he spent the latter years of his life in the wild.
285. Yemen submitted to Sulayman Pasha in A.D. 1538.
286. "Gragne," or in the Somali dialect "Guray," means a left-handed man; Father Lobo errs in
translating it "the Lame."
287. This exploit has been erroneously attributed to Nur, the successor of Mohammed.
288. This reverend Jesuit was commissioned in A.D. 1622, by the Count de Vidigueira, Viceroy of the Indies, to discover where his relative Don Christopher was buried, and to procure some of the relics. Assisted by the son in law of the Abyssinian Emperor, Lobo marched with an army through the Gallas, found the martyr's teeth and lower jaw, his arms and a picture of the Holy Virgin which he always carried about him. The precious remains were forwarded to Goa.
I love the style of this old father, so unjustly depreciated by our writers, and called ignorant
peasant and liar by Bruce, because he claimed for his fellow countrymen the honor of having
discovered the Coy Fountains. The Nemesis who never sleeps punished Bruce by the justest of
retributions. His pompous and inflated style, his uncommon arrogance, and over-weening vanity,
his affectation of pedantry, his many errors and misrepresentations, aroused against him a spirit
which embittered the last years of his life. It is now the fashion to laud Bruce, and to pity his
misfortunes. I cannot but think that he deserved them.
289. Bruce, followed by most of our modern authors, relates a circumstantial and romantic story of the betrayal of Don Christopher by his mistress, a Turkish lady of uncommon beauty, who had been made prisoner.
The more truth-like pages of Father Lobo record no such silly scandal against the memory of the
"brave and holy Portuguese." Those who are well read in the works of the earlier eastern
travellers will remember their horror of "handling heathens after that fashion." And amongst those
who fought for the faith an affaire de coeur with a pretty pagan was held to be a sin as deadly as
heresy or magic.
290. Romantic writers relate that Mohammed decapitated the Christian with his left hand.
291. Others assert, in direct contradiction to Father Lobo, that the body was sent to different
parts of Arabia, and the head to Constantinople.
292. Bruce, followed by later authorities, writes this name Del Wumbarea.
293. Talwambara, according to the Christians, after her husband's death, and her army's defeat, threw herself into the wilds of Atbara, and recovered her son Ali Gerad by releasing Prince Menas, the brother of the Abyssinian emperor, who in David's reign had been carried prisoner to Adel.
The historian will admire these two widely different accounts of the left-handed hero's death.
Upon the whole he will prefer the Moslem's tradition from the air of truth pervading it, and the
various improbabilities which appear in the more detailed story of the Christians.
294. Formerly the Waraba, creeping through the holes in the wall, rendered the streets
dangerous at night. They are now destroyed by opening the gates in the evening, enticing in the
animals by slaughtering cattle, and closing the doors upon them, when they are safely speared.
295. The following are the names of the gates in Harari and Somali:Eastward. Argob Bari (Bar in Amharic is a gate, e.g. Ankobar, the gate of Anko, a Galla Queen, and Argob is the name of a Galla clan living in this quarter), by the Somal called Erar.
At all times these gates are carefully guarded; in the evening the keys are taken to the Amir, after
which no one can leave the city till dawn.
296. Kabir in Arabic means great, and is usually applied to the Almighty; here it is a title given
to the principal professors of religious science.
297. This is equivalent to saying that the language of the Basque provinces is French with an
affinity to English.
298. When ladies are bastinadoed in more modest Persia, their hands are passed through a hole
in a tent wall, and fastened for the infliction to a Falakah or pole outside.
299. The hate dates from old times. Abd el Karim, uncle to the late Amir Abubakr, sent for sixty or seventy Arab mercenaries under Haydar Assal the Auliki, to save him against the Gallas. The matchlockmen failing in ammunition, lost twenty of their number in battle and retired to the town, where the Gallas, after capturing Abd el Karim, and his brother Abd el Rahman, seized the throne, and, aided by the citizens, attempted to massacre the strangers. These, however, defended themselves gallantly, and would have crowned the son of Abd el Rahman, had he not in fear declined the dignity; they then drew their pay, and marched with all the honors of war to Zayla.
Shortly before our arrival, the dozen of petty Arab pedlars at Harar, treacherous intriguers, like all
their dangerous race, had been plotting against the Amir. One morning when they least expected
it, their chief was thrown into a prison which proved his grave, and the rest were informed that
any stranger found in the city should lose his head. After wandering some months among the
neighbouring villages, they were allowed to return and live under surveillance. No one at Harar
dared to speak of this event, and we were cautioned not to indulge our curiosity.
300. This agrees with the Hon. R. Curzon's belief in Central African "diggings." The traveller
once saw an individual descending the Nile with a store of nuggets, bracelets, and gold rings
similar to those used as money by the ancient Egyptians.
301. M. Krapf relates a tale current in Abyssinia; namely, that there is a remnant of the slave
trade between Guineh (the Guinea coast) and Shoa. Connexion between the east and west
formerly existed: in the time of John the Second, the Portuguese on the river Zaire in Congo
learned the existence of the Abyssinian church. Travellers in Western Africa assert that Fakihs or
priests, when performing the pilgrimage pass from the Fellatah country through Abyssinia to the
coast of the Red Sea. And it has lately been proved that a caravan line is open from the Zanzibar
coast to Benguela.
302. All male collaterals of the royal family, however, are not imprisoned by law, as was
formerly the case at Shoa.
303. This is a mere superstition; none but the most credulous can believe that a man ever lives
after an Eastern dose.
304. The name and coin are Abyssinian. According to Bruce,20 Mahallaks are worth 1 Grush.
At Harar twenty-two plantains (the only small change) = one Mahallak, twenty-two Mahallaks = one Ashrafi (now a nominal coin,) and three Ashrafi = one dollar.
Lieut. Cruttenden remarks, "The Ashrafi stamped at the Harar mint is a coin peculiar to the place.
It is of silver and the twenty-second part of a dollar. The only specimen I have been able to
procure bore the date of 910 of the Hagira, with the name of the Amir on one side, and, on its
reverse, 'La Ilaha ill 'Allah.'" This traveller adds in a note, "the value of the Ashrafi changes with
each successive ruler. In the reign of Emir Abd el Shukoor, some 200 years ago, it was of gold."
At present the Ashrafi, as I have said above, is a fictitious medium used in accounts.
305. An old story is told of the Amir Abubakr, that during one of his nocturnal excursions, he
heard three of his subjects talking treason, and coveting his food, his wife, and his throne. He sent
for them next morning, filled the first with good things, and bastinadoed him for not eating more,
flogged the second severely for being unable to describe the difference between his own wife and
the princess, and put the third to death.
306. El Makrizi informs us that in his day Hadiyah supplied the East with black Eunuchs,
although the infamous trade was expressly forbidden by the Emperor of Abyssinia.
307. The Arusi Gallas are generally driven direct from Ugadayn to Berberah.
308. "If you want a brother (in arms)," says the Eastern proverb, "buy a Nubian, if you would
be rich, an Abyssinian, and if you require an ass, a Sawahili (negro)." Formerly a small load of salt
bought a boy in Southern Abyssinia, many of them, however, died on their way to the coast.
309. The Firman lately issued by the Sultan and forwarded to the Pasha of Jeddah for the Kaimakan and the Kazi of Mecca, has lately caused a kind of revolution in Western Arabia. The Ulema and the inhabitants denounced the rescript as opposed to the Koran, and forced the magistrate to take sanctuary. The Kaimakan came to his assistance with Turkish troops, the latter, however, were soon pressed back into their fort. At this time, the Sherif Abd el Muttalib arrived at Meccah, from Taif, and almost simultaneously Reshid Pasha came from Constantinople with orders to seize him, send him to the capital, and appoint the Sherif Nazir to act until the nomination of a successor, the state prisoner Mohammed bin Aun.
The tumult redoubled. The people attributing the rescript to the English and French Consuls of
Jeddah, insisted upon pulling down their flags. The Pasha took them under his protection, and on
the 14th January, 1856, the "Queen" steamer was despatched from Bombay, with orders to assist
the government and to suppress the contest.
310. This weight, as usual in the East, varies at every port. At Aden the Farasilah is 27 lbs., at
Zayla 20 lbs., and at Berberah 35 lbs.
311. See Chap. iii. El Makrizi, describing the kingdom of Zayla, uses the Harari not the Arabic
term; he remarks that it is unknown to Egypt and Syria, and compares its leaf to that of the
312. In conversational Arabic "we" is used without affectation for "I."
313. The Shaykh himself gave me this information. As a rule it is most imprudent for
Europeans holding high official positions in these barbarous regions, to live as they do, unarmed
and unattended. The appearance of utter security may impose, where strong motives for
assassination are wanting. At the same time the practice has occasioned many losses which singly,
to use an Indian statesman's phrase, would have "dimmed a victory."
314. In the best coffee countries, Harar and Yemen, the berry is reserved for exportation. The
Southern Arabs use for economy and health--the bean being considered heating--the Kishr or
follicle. This in Harar is a woman's drink. The men considering the berry too dry and heating for
their arid atmosphere, toast the leaf on a girdle, pound it and prepare an infusion which they
declare to be most wholesome, but which certainly suggests weak senna. The boiled coffee-leaf
has been tried and approved of in England; we omit, however, to toast it.
315. In Harar a horse or a mule is never lost, whereas an ass straying from home is rarely seen
316. This is the Abyssinian "Tej," a word so strange to European organs, that some authors
write it "Zatsh." At Harar it is made of honey dissolved in about fifteen parts of hot water,
strained and fermented for seven days with the bark of a tree called Kudidah; when the operation
is to be hurried, the vessel is placed near the fire. Ignorant Africa can ferment, not distil, yet it
must be owned she is skilful in her rude art. Every traveller has praised the honey-wine of the
Highlands, and some have not scrupled to prefer it to champagne. It exhilarates, excites and acts
as an aphrodisiac; the consequence is, that at Harar all men, pagans and sages, priests and rulers,
317. The Caliph Umar is said to have smiled once and wept once. The smile was caused by the
recollection of his having eaten his paste-gods in the days of ignorance. The tear was shed in
remembrance of having buried alive, as was customary amongst the Pagan Arabs, his infant
daughter, who, whilst he placed her in the grave, with her little hands beat the dust off his beard
318. The Eastern parent of Free-Masonry.
319. Two celebrated Arabic dictionaries.
320. It is an Arab as well as a Somali ceremony to throw a little Kaliyah or Salul (toasted
grain) over the honoured traveller when he enters hut or tent.
321. Bread made of holcus grain dried and broken into bits; it is thrown into broth or hot
water, and thus readily supplies the traveller with a wholesome panade.
322. The Somal invariably call Berberah the "Sahil," (meaning in Arabic the sea-shore,) as
Zayla with them is "Audal," and Harar "Adari."
323. "Al Nar wa la al Ar," an Arabic maxim, somewhat more forcible than our "death rather
324. This is the second great division of the Somal people, the father of the tribe being Awal, the cadet of Ishak el Hazrami.
The Habr Awal occupy the coast from Zayla and Siyaro to the lands bordering upon the Berteri tribe. They own the rule of a Gerad, who exercises merely a nominal authority. The late chief's name was "Bon," he died about four years ago, but his children have not yet received the turban. The royal race is the Ayyal Abdillah, a powerful clan extending from the Dabasanis Hills to near Jigjiga, skirting the Marar Prairie.
The Habr Awal are divided into a multitude of clans: of these I shall specify only the principal, the
subject of the maritime Somal being already familiar to our countrymen. The Esa Musa inhabit
part of the mountains south of Berberah. The Mikahil tenant the lowlands on the coast from
Berberah to Siyaro. Two large clans, the Ayyal Yunis and the Ayyal Ahmed, have established
themselves in Berberah and at Bulhar. Besides these are the Ayyal Abdillah Saad, the Ayyal
Geraato, who live amongst the Ayyal Yunis,--the Bahgobo and the Ayyal Hamed.
325. My property arrived safe at Aden after about two months. The mule left under the
Kalendar's charge never appeared, and the camels are, I believe, still grazing among the Ísa. The
fair Shehrazade, having amassed a little fortune, lost no time in changing her condition, an
example followed in due time by Deenarzade. And the Kalendar, after a visit to Aden, returned to
electrify his Zayla friends with long and terrible tales of travel.
326. "Moga's eye-tooth."
327. As a rule, twelve hours without water in the desert during hot weather, kill a man. I never
suffered severely from thirst but on this occasion; probably it was in consequence of being at the
time but in weak health.
328. I have never shot this feathered friend of man, although frequent opportunities presented themselves. He appears to be the Cuculus Indicator (le Coucou Indicateur) and the Om-Shlanvo of the Kafirs; the Somal call him Maris. Described by Father Lobo and Bruce, he is treated as a myth by Le Vaillant; M. Wiedman makes him cry "Shirt! Shirt! Shirt!" Dr. Sparrman "Tcherr! Tcherr!" Mr. Delegorgue "Chir! Chir! Chir!" His note suggested to me the shrill chirrup of a sparrow, and his appearance that of a greenfinch.
Buffon has repeated what a traveller had related, namely, that the honey- bird is a little traitor who conducts men into ambuscades prepared by wild beasts. The Lion-Slayer in S. Africa asserts it to be the belief of Hottentots and the interior tribes, that the bird often lures the unwary pursuer to danger, sometimes guiding him to the midday retreat of a grizzly lion, or bringing him suddenly upon the den of the crouching panther. M. Delegorgue observes that the feeble bird probably seeks aid in removing carrion for the purpose of picking up flies and worms; he acquits him of malice prepense, believing that where the prey is, there carnivorous beasts may be met.
The Somal, however, carry their superstition still farther. The honey-bird is never trusted by them;
he leads, they say, either to the lions' den or the snakes' hiding-place, and often guides his victim
into the jaws of the Kaum or plundering party.
329. The Somal have several kinds of honey. The Donyale or wasp-honey, is scanty and bad; it
is found in trees and obtained by smoking and cutting the branch. The Malab Shinni or bee-honey,
is either white, red or brown; the first is considered the most delicate in flavour.
330. The Somal call it Arrah As.
331. The sand-grouse of Egypt and Arabia, the rock-pigeon of Sindh and the surrounding
332. The Habr Gerhajis, or eldest branch of the sons of Ishak (generally including the children of "Arab"), inhabit the Ghauts behind Berberah, whence they extend for several days' march towards Ogadayn, the southern region. This tribe is divided into a multitude of clans. The Ismail Arrah supply the Sultan, a nominal chief like the Ísa Ugaz; they extend from Makhar to the south of Gulays, number about 15,000 shields and are subdivided into three septs. The Musa Arrah hold the land between Gulays and the seats of the Mijjarthayn and Warsangeli tribes on the windward coast. The Ishak Arrah count 5000 or 6000 shields, and inhabit the Gulays Range. The other sons of Arrah (the fourth in descent from Ishak), namely, Mikahil, Gambah, Daudan, and others, also became founders of small clans. The Ayyal Daud, facetiously called "Idagallah" or earth-burrowers, and sprung from the second son of Gerhajis, claim the country south of the Habr Awal, reckon about 4000 shields, and are divided into 11 or 12 septs.
As has been noticed, the Habr Gerhajis have a perpetual blood feud with the Habr Awal, and,
even at Aden, they have fought out their quarrels with clubs and stones. Yet as cousins they
willingly unite against a common enemy, the Ísa for instance, and become the best of friends.
333. So called from the Mary Anne brig, here plundered in 1825.
334. I cannot guess why Bartema decided "Barbara" to be an island, except that he used
"insula" in the sense of "peninsula." The town is at very high tides flooded round, but the old
traveller manifestly speaks of the country.
335. These are the four martello towers erected, upon the spot where the town of huts
generally stands, by the Hajj Sharmarkay, who garrisoned them with thirty Arab and Negro
matchlockmen. They are now in ruins, having been dismantled by orders from Aden.
336. The former is an Arab craft, the latter belongs to the Northern Coasts of Western India.
337. The former is an Arab craft, the latter belongs to the Northern Coasts of Western India.
338. A turban.
339. The wild animals have now almost entirely disappeared. As will afterwards be shown, the
fair since 1848 has diminished to one third its former dimensions.
340. This subject has been fully discussed in Chap. IV.
341. The old Persians.
342. Especially the sea-board Habr Gerbajis clans,--the Musa Arrah, the Ali Said, and the Saad
Yunis--are interested in asserting their claims.
343. Yunis and Ahmed were brothers, children of Nuh, the ninth in descent from Ishak el
Hazrami. The former had four sons, Hosh Yunis, Gedid Yunis, Mahmud Yunis, and Shirdon
Yunis; their descendants are all known as the Ayyal or progeny of Yunis. The Ayyal Ahmed Nuh
hold the land immediately behind the town, and towards the Ghauts, blend with the Ísa Musa. The
Mikahil claim the Eastern country from Siyaro to Illanti, a wooded valley affording good water
and bad anchorage to wind-bound vessels.
344. In the centre of the gap is a detached rock called Daga Malablay.
345. It was measured by Lt. Herne, who remarks of this range that "cold in winter, as the
presence of the pine-tree proves, and cooled in summer by the Monsoon, abounding in game from
a spur fowl to an elephant; this hill would make an admirable Sanitarium." Unfortunately Gulays is
tenanted by the Habr Gerhajis, and Wagar by the Ísa Musa, treacherous races.
346. This part of Somali land is a sandy plain, thinly covered with thorns and bounded by two
ranges, the Ghauts and Sub-Ghauts. The latter or maritime mountains begin at Tajurrah, and
extend to Karam (long. 46° E.), where they break into detached groups; the distance from the
coast varies from 6 to 15 miles, the height from 2000 to 3000 feet, and the surface is barren, the
rock being denuded of soil by rain. The Ghauts lie from 8 to 40 miles from the sea, they average
from 4000 to 6000 feet, are thickly covered with gum-arabic and frankincense trees, the wild fig
and the Somali pine, and form the seaward wall of the great table-land of the interior. The
Northern or maritime face is precipitous, the summit is tabular and slopes gently southwards. The
general direction is E. by N. and W. by S., there are, however, some spurs at the three hills termed
"Ourat," which project towards the north. Each portion of the plain between these ranges has
some local name, such as the "Shimberali Valley" extending westwards from the detached hill
Dimoli, to Gauli, Dinanjir and Gularkar. Intersected with Fiumaras which roll torrents during the
monsoon, they are covered with a scrub of thorns, wild fig, aloe, and different kinds of Cactus.
347. The climate of Berberah is cool during the winter, and though the sun is at all times
burning, the atmosphere, as in Somali land generally, is healthy. In the dry season the plain is
subject to great heats, but lying open to the north, the sea-breeze is strong and regular. In the
monsoon the air is cloudy, light showers frequently fall, and occasionally heavy storms come up
from the southern hills.
348. I quote Lieut. Cruttenden. The Berberah water has acquired a bad name because the
people confine themselves to digging holes three or four feet deep in the sand, about half-a-mile
from high-water mark. They are reconciled to it by its beneficial effects, especially after and
before a journey. Good water, however, can be procured in any of the Fiumaras intersecting the
plain; when the Hajj Sharmarkay's towers commanded the town wells, the people sank pits in low
ground a few hundred yards distant, and procured a purer beverage. The Banyans, who are
particular about their potations, drink the sweet produce of Siyaro, a roadstead about nineteen
miles eastward of Berberah.
349. The experiment was tried by an officer who brought from Bombay a batch of sparrows
and crows. The former died, scorbutic I presume; the latter lingered through an unhappy life, and
to judge from the absence of young, refused to entail their miseries upon posterity.
350. The climate of Aden, it may be observed, has a reputation for salubrity which it does not deserve. The returns of deaths prove it to be healthy for the European soldier as London, and there are many who have built their belief upon the sandy soil of statistics. But it is the practice of every sensible medical man to hurry his patients out of Aden; they die elsewhere,--some I believe recover,--and thus the deaths caused by the crater are attributed statistically to Bombay or the Red Sea.
Aden is for Asiatics a hot-bed of scurry and ulcer. Of the former disease my own corps, I am
informed, had in hospital at one time 200 cases above the usual amount of sickness; this arises
from the brackish water, the want of vegetables, and lastly the cachexy induced by an utter
absence of change, diversion, and excitement. The ulcer is a disease endemic in Southern Arabia;
it is frequently fatal, especially to the poorer classes of operatives, when worn out by privation,
hardship, and fatigue.
351. The Abban is now the pest of Berberah. Before vessels have cast anchor, or indeed have rounded the Spit, a crowd of Somal, eager as hotel- touters, may be seen running along the strand. They swim off, and the first who arrives on board inquires the name of the Abban; if there be none he touches the captain or one of the crew and constitutes himself protector. For merchandise sent forward, the man who conveys it becomes answerable.
The system of dues has become complicated. Formerly, the standard of value at Berberah was two cubits of the blue cotton-stuff called Sauda; this is now converted into four pice of specie. Dollars form the principal currency; rupees are taken at a discount. Traders pay according to degree, the lowest being one per cent., taken from Muscat and Suri merchants. The shopkeeper provides food for his Abban, and presents him at the close of the season with a Tobe, a pair of sandals, and half-a-dozen dollars. Wealthy Banyans and Mehmans give food and raiment, and before departure from 50 to 200 dollars. This class, however, derives large profits; they will lend a few dollars to the Bedouin at the end of the Fair, on condition of receiving cent. per cent., at the opening of the next season. Travellers not transacting business must feed the protector, but cannot properly be forced to pay him. Of course the Somal take every advantage of Europeans. Mr. Angelo, a merchant from Zanzibar, resided two months at Bulhar; his broker of the Ayyal Gedid tribe, and an Arab who accompanied him, extracted, it is said, 3000 dollars. As a rule the Abban claims one per cent. on sales and purchases, and two dollars per head of slaves. For each bale of cloth, half-a-dollar in coin is taken; on gums and coffee the duty is one pound in twenty-seven. Cowhides pay half-a-dollar each, sheep and goat's skins four pice, and ghee about one per cent.
Lieut. Herne calculates that the total money dues during the Fair-season amount to 2000 dollars,
and that, in the present reduced state of Berberah, not more than 10,000l. worth of merchandize
is sold. This estimate the natives of the place declare to be considerably under the mark.
352. The similarity between the Persian "Gach" and this cement, which is found in many ruins
about Berberah, has been remarked by other travellers.
353. The following note by Dr. Carter of Bombay will be interesting to Indian geologists.
"Of the collection of geological specimens and fossils from Berberah above mentioned, Lieut. Burton states that the latter are found on the plain of Berberah, and the former in the following order between the sea and the summits of mountains (600 feet high), above it--that is, the ridge immediate behind Berberah.
"1. Country along the coast consists of a coralline limestone, (tertiary formation,) with drifts of sand, &c. 2. Sub-Ghauts and lower ranges (say 2000 feet high), of sandstone capped with limestone, the former preponderating. 3. Above the Ghauts a plateau of primitive rocks mixed with sandstone, granite, syenite, mica schiste, quartz rock, micaceous grit, &c.
"The fawn-coloured fossils from his coralline limestone are evidently the same as those of the
tertiary formation along the south-east coast of Arabia, and therefore the same as those of Cutch;
and it is exceedingly interesting to find that among the blue-coloured fossils which are
accompanied by specimens of the blue shale, composing the beds from which they have been
weathered out, are species of Terebratula Belemnites, identical with those figured in Grant's
Geology of Cutch; thus enabling us to extend those beds of the Jurassic formation which exist in
Cutch, and along the south-eastern coast of Arabia, across to Africa."
354. These animals are tolerably tame in the morning, as day advances their apprehension of
355. Lieut. Cruttenden in considering what nation could have constructed, and at what period the commerce of Berberah warranted, so costly an undertaking, is disposed to attribute it to the Persian conquerors of Aden in the days of Anushirwan. He remarks that the trade carried on in the Red Sea was then great, the ancient emporia of Hisn Ghorab and Aden prosperous and wealthy, and Berberah doubtless exported, as it does now, ivory, gums, and ostrich feathers. But though all the maritime Somali country abounds in traditions of the Furs or ancient Persians, none of the buildings near Berberah justify our assigning to them, in a country of monsoon rain and high winds, an antiquity of 1300 years.
The Somal assert that ten generations ago their ancestors drove out the Gallas from Berberah, and
attribute these works to the ancient Pagans. That nation of savages, however, was never capable
of constructing a scientific aqueduct. I therefore prefer attributing these remains at Berberah to
the Ottomans, who, after the conquest of Aden by Sulayman Pacha in A.D. 1538, held Yemen for
about 100 years, and as auxiliaries of the King of Adel, penetrated as far as Abyssinia. Traces of
their architecture are found at Zayla and Harar, and according to tradition, they possessed at
Berberah a settlement called, after its founder, Bunder Abbas.
356. Here, as elsewhere in Somali land, the leech is of the horse-variety. It might be worth
while to attempt breeding a more useful species after the manner recommended by Capt. R.
Johnston, the Sub-Assistant Commissary General in Sindh (10th April, 1845). In these streams
leeches must always be suspected; inadvertently swallowed, they fix upon the inner coat of the
stomach, and in Northern Africa have caused, it is said, some deaths among the French soldiers.
357. Yet we observed frogs and a small species of fish.
358. Either this or the sulphate of magnesia, formed by the decomposition of limestone, may
account for the bitterness of the water.
359. They had been in some danger: a treacherous murder perpetrated a few days before our
arrival had caused all the Habr Gerbajis to fly from the town and assemble 5000 men at Bulhar for
battle and murder. This proceeding irritated the Habr Awal, and certainly, but for our presence,
the strangers would have been scurvily treated by their "cousins."
360. Of all the slave-dealers on this coast, the Arabs are the most unscrupulous. In 1855, one
Mohammed of Muscat, a shipowner, who, moreover, constantly visits Aden, bought within sight
of our flag a free-born Arab girl of the Yafai tribe, from the Akarib of Bir Hamid, and sold her at
Berberah to a compatriot. Such a crime merits severe punishment; even the Abyssinians visit with
hanging the Christian convicted of selling a fellow religionist. The Arab slaver generally marries
his properly as a ruse, and arrived at Muscat or Bushire, divorces and sells them. Free Somali
women have not unfrequently met with this fate.
361. The Habr Tul Jailah (mother of the tribe of Jailah) descendants of Ishak el Hazrami by a
slave girl, inhabit the land eastward of Berberah. Their principal settlements after Aynterad are the
three small ports of Karam, Unkor, and Hays. The former, according to Lieut. Cruttenden, is "the
most important from its possessing a tolerable harbour, and from its being the nearest point from
Aden, the course to which place is N. N. W., --consequently the wind is fair, and the boats laden
with sheep for the Aden market pass but one night at sea, whilst those from Berberah are
generally three. What greatly enhances the value of Kurrum (Karam), however, is its proximity to
the country of the Dulbahanteh, who approach within four days of Kurrum, and who therefore
naturally have their chief trade through that port. The Ahl Tusuf, a branch of the Habertel Jahleh,
at present hold possession of Kurrum, and between them and the tribes to windward there exists a
most bitter and irreconcileable feud, the consequence of sundry murders perpetrated about five
years since at Kurrum, and which hitherto have not been avenged. The small ports of Enterad,
Unkor, Heis, and Rukudah are not worthy of mention, with the exception of the first-named
place, which has a trade with Aden in sheep."
362. The Fair-season of 1864-56 began on the 16th November, and may be said to have broken up on the 15th April.
The principal caravans which visit Berberah are from Harar the Western, and Ogadayn, the Southern region: they collect the produce of the numerous intermediate tribes of the Somal. The former has been described in the preceding pages. The following remarks upon the subject of the Ogadayn caravan are the result of Lieuts. Stroyan and Herne's observations at Berberah.
"Large caravans from Ogadayn descend to the coast at the beginning and the end of the Fair-season. They bring slaves from the Arusa country, cattle in great quantities, gums of sorts, clarified butter, ivory, ostrich feathers, and rhinoceros horns to be made into handles for weapons. These are bartered for coarse cotton cloth of three kinds, for English and American sheeting in pieces of seventy-five, sixty-six, sixty-two, and forty-eight yards, black and indigo-dyed calicos in lengths of sixteen yards, nets or fillets worn by the married women, iron and steel in small bars, lead and zinc, beads of various kinds, especially white porcelain and speckled glass, dates and rice."
The Ayyal Ahmed and Ayyal Yunis classes of the Habr Awal Somal have constituted themselves
Abbans or brokers to the Ogadayn Caravans, and the rapacity of the patron has produced a due
development of roguery in the client. The principal trader of this coast is the Banyan from Aden
find Cutch, facetiously termed by the Somal their "Milch-cows." The African cheats by
mismeasuring the bad cotton cloth, and the Indian by falsely weighing the coffee, ivory, ostrich
feathers and other valuable articles which he receives in return. Dollars and even rupees are now
preferred to the double breadth of eight cubits which constitutes the well known "Tobe."
363. A Sepoy's tent, pent-house shaped, supported by a single transverse and two upright poles
and open at one of the long ends.
364. Since returning I have been informed, however, by the celebrated Abyssinian traveller M.
Antoine d'Abbadie, that in no part of the wild countries which he visited was his life so much
perilled as at Berberah.
365. Lieut. Speke had landed at Karam harbour on the 24th of March, in company with the Ras, in order to purchase camels. For the Ayyun or best description he paid seven dollars and a half; the Gel Ad (white camels) cost on an average four. In five days he had collected twenty-six, the number required, and he then marched overland from Karam to Berberah.
I had taken the precaution of detaching Lieut. Speke to Karam in lively remembrance of my
detention for want of carriage at Zayla, and in consequence of a report raised by the Somal of
Aden that a sufficient number of camels was not procurable at Berberah. This proved false.
Lieuts. Stroyan and Herne found no difficulty whatever in purchasing animals at the moderate
price of five dollars and three quarters a head: for the same sum they could have bought any
reasonable number. Future travellers, however, would do well not to rely solely upon Berberah
for a supply of this necessary, especially at seasons when the place is not crowded with caravans.
366. The Elders of the Habr Awal, I have since been informed, falsely asserted that they
repeatedly urged us, with warnings of danger, to leave Berberah at the end of the fair, but that we
positively refused compliance, for other reasons. The facts of the case are those stated in the text.
367. They prefer travelling during the monsoon, on account of the abundance of water.
368. The framework is allowed to remain for use next Fair-season.
369. The attacking party, it appears, was 350 strong; 12 of the Mikahil, 15 of the Habr
Gerhajis, and the rest Ísa Musa. One Ao Ali wore, it is said, the ostrich feather for the murder of
370. Mohammed, his Indian servant, stated that rising at my summons he had rushed to his
tent, armed himself with a revolver, and fired six times upon his assassins. Unhappily, however,
Mohammed did not see his master fall, and as he was foremost amongst the fugitives, scant
importance attaches to his evidence.
371. At this season native craft quitting Berberah make for the Spit late in the evening, cast
anchor there, and set sail with the land breeze before dawn. Our lives hung upon a thread. Had the
vessel departed, as she intended, the night before the attack, nothing could have saved us from
372. The Somal place dates in the hands of the fallen to ascertain the extent of injury: he who
cannot eat that delicacy is justly decided to be in articulo.
373. In less than a month after receiving such injuries, Lieut. Speke was on his way to England:
he has never felt the least inconvenience from the wounds, which closed up like cuts in
374. They had despised the heavy sacks of grain, the books, broken boxes, injured instruments,
and a variety of articles which they did not understand. We spent that day at Berberah, bringing
off our property, and firing guns to recall six servants who were missing. They did not appear,
having lost no time in starting for Karam and Aynterad, whence they made their way in safety to
Aden. On the evening of the 19th of April, unable to remove the heavier effects, and anxious to
return with the least possible delay, I ordered them to be set on fire.
375. Afterwards at Berberah I met the Harar caravan; and here my difficulty of procuring an
instructor was truly characteristic. The timid merchants feared to lose their heads, and I should
have failed but for the presence of a Sayyid, Aydrus bin Mohammed al-Barr al-Madani, who, with
the real Sharif spirit, aided me, in the hope that one day I might revenge his wrongs upon the
Amir of Harar.
376. "In the Abyssinian language, especially in the Ethiopic (or Ghiz), and in the Tigre and
Gurague, its dialects, we find the Semitic element is still predominant; the Amharic manifests
already a strong inclination of breaking through this barrier. The Somali and Galla languages have
still more thrown off the Semitic fetter, whilst the Kisuaheli and its cognate idioms have entirely
kept the Semitic aloof."-Kraph. Preface.
377. Lieutenant (now Captain) Rigby, 16th Regiment Bom. N.I., in an excellent paper published by the Bombay Asiatic Society, under the modest title of an "Outline of the Somauli Language, with Vocabulary," asserts that the dialect of which he is writing "has not the slightest similarity to Arabic in construction." A comparison of the singular persons of the pronouns will, I believe, lead to a different conclusion.
|1.||Ana, I||Ana or Anega.|
The affixed article again suggests an Arabic derivation, which at first sight might escape the eye.
Mindi, is a knife; Mindi-dá, the knife. The vulgar corruption of Ha' za' (<A>), this, affixed to the
noun, as in Egypt and in many parts of Arabia (e.g. Al-Rajul dá, <A>, this man), may have given
rise to this and to the other forms of the Somali article ká, kí, gá, and gí. The interrogative
pronoun Ayw (who?) is clearly a corruption of the Arabic Ay (<A>), and Mahá (what?) of Má
(<A>). Similarly the reciprocal Naf (I myself) is a contraction of the noun Nafs (<A>) used in this
sense throughout Arabia. In many Somali words there is a direct derivation from the Arabic,
which cannot be detected without a knowledge of the people's inability to articulate certain
sounds. Khubz (<A>) in Arabic is bread. The Somali, avoiding the harsh khá (<A>), and
generally converting zá (<A>) into sin (<A>) have changed the vocable into kibis. They have
preserved intact the Arabic form of the Ism al-nisbah (<A>), adjective: for instance, Adáríyah
means belonging to Adári (Harar); Aushíyah, belonging to the Aushi (Abyssinians). Of the
Somali numerals, two only present any resemblance to the Arabic: Sadah, three to Salásah (<A>);
and Afar, four, to Arba (<A>). Both are derived through the Galla "Shadi" and "Afur."
378. Whether the Galla tongue possesses a distinct syllabarium is still a disputed point.
379. The pronunciation of the Somali tongue is partly Semitic, partly Indo-Germanic.
Of the Semitic we find two characteristic sounds:--1. Gh. The Arabic Ghayn (<A>) occurs but rarely; as in the word Aghal, a house.
The Sanscrit sounds are:--1. D. cerebral (D <Sanskrit>); as in the words Deg (<Sanskrit>), drowned; Gad (<Sanskrit>), a beard.
And, finally, the Somal, finding a difficulty in articulating the sounds Ch, P, and Z, change them into J, B, and S: e.g.,Ajjá, for Achha (in Hindustani, good).
380. The Semitic Ayn (<A>) in Harari as in Hindustani, is converted into a simple a.
381. The other long and short vowels are omitted from this list, their pronunciation being
according to the Italianized system now in vogue.
382. This o is generally added, as in the Somali tongue, to titles and proper names: e.g. Amir-o!
Arab-o! Ahmad-o! Sometimes the purely Arabic yá (<A>) is used, and when the address is
unceremonious, Akhákh yá, O thou!
383. Itta, she (near). Yata, she (far).
384. These words are also pronounced zú, sú and khú. Of the former pronouns there are also
singular and plural separate forms,
Azyásh or Ayách, their.
383. Itta, she (near). Yata, she (far).
384. These words are also pronounced zú, sú and khú. Of the former pronouns there are also singular and plural separate forms,e.g. Azo or Azu, his.
385. The Ashrafi is a nominal coin used in accounts: three of these compose a dollar.
386. The Arabic kirsh (girsh, karsh, or garsh), probably derived from "groschen," is used as
well as riyal in the Somali country, and at Harar.
387. Thus in the original. It may be a mistake, for Captain Barker is, I am informed, a proficient
in conversational Arabic.
388. This chief was the Emir Abubakr, father of Ahmed: the latter was ruling when I entered
Harar in 1855.
389. As the youth gave perfect satisfaction, he received, besides the ten dollars, a Tobe and a
European saddle, "to which he had taken a great fancy."
390. In these wild countries every bit of paper written over is considered to be a talisman or charm.
391. A sergeant, a corporal, and a Portuguese cook belonging to Captain Harris's mission were
treacherously slain near Tajoorah at night. The murderers were Hamid Saborayto, and
Mohammed Saborayto, two Dankalis of the Ad All clan. In 1842 they seem to have tried a ruse
de guerre upon M. Rochet, and received from him only too mild a chastisement. The ruffians still
live at Juddah (Jubbah ?) near Ambabo.