Long Odds

Long Odds

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5
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Long Odds by H. Rider Haggard

Published:

1886

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Long Odds

By

5
(1 Review)
Based on the text of the story as reprinted in the collection, Allan's Wife and other tales, featuring the legendary hunter Allan Quatermain.

Book Excerpt

ever mist. Out from among the scrub, too, came little spirals of vapour, as though there were hundreds of tiny fires alight in it--reek rising from thousands of tons of rotting vegetation. It was a beautiful place, but the beauty was the beauty of death; and all those lines and blots of vapour wrote one great word across the surface of the country, and that word was 'fever.'

"It was a dreadful year of illness that. I came, I remember, to one little kraal of Knobnoses, and went up to it to see if I could get some 'maas', or curdled butter-milk, and a few mealies. As I drew near I was struck with the silence of the place. No children began to chatter, and no dogs barked. Nor could I see any native sheep or cattle. The place, though it had evidently been inhabited of late, was as still as the bush round it, and some guinea-fowl got up out of the prickly pear bushes right at the kraal gate. I remember that I hesitated a little before going in, there was such an air of desolation about the spot. Nature

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An elderly Allan Quatermain is reminiscing to friends about one of the stupider things he did as an impulsive young man. A family of lions killed his favorite ox, and he decided to hunt them down and kill them on foot.

A tense little tale (you forget the old man is telling it, so he had to survive), with vivid descriptions. A little callous towards the animals, but that was the culture of the time.