Hunteen, Shooteen & Fisheen

Hunteen, Shooteen & Fisheen

Dad with his Smith & Wesson Revolver

When the Lions Roar at Night

Personal note:  My word count has been creeping up over the weeks!  I don’t want to presume on too much of your time so this week I’m just giving you Part 1 entitled Hunteen, Shooteen and Fisheen of When the Lions Roar at Night .   Please stay in touch.  Diana

No story about Africa is complete without a yarn or two about its dangerous wildlife, especially the king of the bushveld.  In QQ in 1916, the last of a pride of lions was finally dispatched in a mine shaft on the Globe and Phoenix Mine.

For our family the roar of lions at night conjured up a story from the center of Johannesburg from my mother’s memories of the fear of death.

Hunteen,  Shooteen an’ Fisheen

We’ve got a new teacher,” I announced at the breakfast table, “Straight out of England.  He wants to teach us the King’s English and wipe out this Rhodesian accent of ours.”

“How’s he going about it?” my father asked.

“Well he’s starting a speech class. Each of us has to prepare a short speech and bring in a trophy or photo to share.   He’ll comment on our diction afterwards.”

“What’s the topic?” asked my mother.

“That’s the trouble,” I wailed. “He said he’d make it easy first go around.  We’ve got to talk about hunting, or fishing!  Of course every family goes except us.   What am I going to do!”

“Oh you always make such a performance about everything,” said my older brother, Brian.  “You could talk about the picnic we went on to Sebakwe Poort last year.”

“That was nothing!  What am I going to show for that?  Wendy’s bringing in a trophy from their record tiger fish catch.  Real stuff, you know, leopard skins, or an elephant foot footstool, or at the very least a wart hog tusk. He said he didn’t want to see any guns brought to school, though.”

“Quite right!” said my father.  “They are just an accident waiting to happen.  I’ve seen so many tragic cases…”

“Dad, spare us.  It’s just as well, because all we have is that WWII Smith & Wesson revolver you have locked in the safe.  Everyone else has gun racks full of all sorts of shot guns and rifles—elephant guns on down: the latest thing.  Diana would just get a laugh.”

“It was army issue in a war.  Nothing to laugh about.”

“It wouldn’t even scratch an elephant’s hide.”

“We weren’t shooting elephants,” countered my father.

“No, that’s not really us, I have to agree,” cut in my mother.  “Your new teacher, Mr. Clelland, is rather green but he’ll learn.  Most town folk don’t have guns, just the farmers.  Lets stay calm and put our thinking caps on.”

“You should give a talk about wildlife conservation,” went on Dad.  Soon we are going to be just like America.  Shot out all their buffalo.  Hardly one left.”

“ Conservation!  That’s a good idea,” chipped in David.  “Let them have it!”

“This is not going to put her on the top of the popularity pole,” said Brian.   You’ve always got to pick a fight, David.”

“You’ve got to stick up for yourself, for what’s right, instead of going for popularity.  That’s easy,” countered Dad.

“Trouble is I don’t know anything about conservation.  David’s done all the reading.”

“Well you can read too.  Do you good to read something worthwhile.”

“It’s next week!  I’ve got to talk about the big five…lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, elephant.  Don’t you get it?”  I was desperate.

“I tell you what,” said my mother.  “It’s no good trying to be what you aren’t.  I’ve got two ideas.  You could tell the story of the pride of lions in Que Que in 1916!”

“1916!  Mom, were you even born then?  Its got to be newer than that!

“It’s history.  A jolly good story. Okay,” she said, “I’ve a very special momento in my jewelry box. I’ve kept it a long time but I’ll lend it to you.  You can tell this story…