All regions have hilarious legends or accounts of the interaction, and goings on amongst the local populace, of all races. The Lowveld and surrounding areas are certainly no exception. Humour cuts across all boundaries.
Whatever circumstances may prevail, as to whether the stories are at the expense of, or in spite of the people involved, or are just about events – “Funny stays Funny” !
These accounts can be a marvelous source of enjoyment and entertainment for years to come. Raconteurs invariably embellish with twists to the tale, which can add to the colour, or to the flavour of the account. However, the funnier the stories become, the legends tend to grow wings of make believe, and eventually turn into facts
There’s nothing like sitting and relaxing around a fire as the appetizing aroma from the griddle tantalizes the taste buds, while one contemplates a dainty burnt morsel with a refreshing cooler in your hand. Stories then take on a charm of their own, and imagination is launched into the realm of adventurous odysseys, on irresistible and enticing sorties into“Laughland”.
Legendary Hunter Shenanigans and Illusions.
“One morning in the bush, I came across four male lions soundly asleep in the shade. One was on his back, with legs pointing skywards. All the cats were facing away from me, and were unaware of my presence.
Having quietly climbed out of my Landy, and being unarmed, I decided to leopard-crawl forwards to get a little closer. Very, very slowly I inched nearer, as I moved dead twigs and leaves out of the way. Eventually I was within reach of a lions tail.
With nerves stretched taught, lying as flat as possible behind a bush that was no more than 50mm high, I reached out and gently touched the tail. No reaction. With more confidence I lifted the tail off the ground. The lion just moved his head, and then flopped down again.
Now a more boldly solid pull brought his huge head around with a jerk and with flattened ears, bared teeth, glaring eyes and a vicious blood-curdling snarl; his body language was unmistakable – the game was over, it was time to quit. I withdrew cautiously, crawling backwards. My adrenaline craving had been satisfied till another day.
A bit further along the road I cme accross an elephant…My lucky day ! ….until I noticed that his head looked funny, that his ears were shrunken and gnarled, and that his tusks were like toothpicks. Then to add insult to injury someone was leading him on a leash.
As I proceded further I kept on finding other strange animals wondering around in the bush. I uncoupled my .470 Double Nitro Express and returned it to its case behind the Landy seat.
Eventually in Acornhoek I discovered that the train from up north carrying Boswell’s Circus to Nelspruit had derailed, and that the animals had been let out of their cages….but not the lions of course.
I had not been halucinating after all !
A Snippet from “Mgolomben” by Gordon Robertson.
A Flambé Styled Christmas
Sabie River Bungalows was a favourite visiting place and water hole for both local and foreign visitors alike in the romantically easy early days.
Wealthy celebrity guests like the Engelhards, Oppenheimers, and Ansteys from the Rand became regular visitors. Local patrons were greatly intrigued by such sophisticated guests, and most particularly by one glamorous socialite who arrived with a coterie of admirers all clad in identical red pullovers, knitted apparently by her!
There were the occasional misadventures at this “Country Hotel”. One Christmas was particularly memorable, when the usually capable and efficient chef, named Jeremiah, succumbed to the festive spirit by downing a bottle of the best and most expensive brandy, before commencing with his cooking duties.
Glaring at the lobster soup he had lovingly prepared the previous day, he found himself displeased with the flavour, and having remembered that he had been asked to water the kitchen garden, he dutifully poured the soup over the parsley patch. The guests were then launched into the hors d’oevres, which apparently met with his approval.
Mini-mishap upon mishap had the three owners rushing into the kitchen to try to save the occasion. Jeremiah however, cunningly evaded the rescue attempt, and made a triumphal entry into the dining room, bearing aloft an impressive flaming Christmas pudding liberally doused like himself with brandy, and still in its muslin cover and china basin.
Prompt action saved the thatch that was in imminent danger of catching alight.
The owner in charge of kitchen affairs is said to have been rather peeved at the situation by this time, and that he unceremoniously grabbed the chef and forced him under a cold tap to sober him up.
A Snippet from “White River Remembers” by Mary Metford.
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