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1934 - Somaliland. Diana and a lesson in poison, curios and the weeping camel

As Diana spent more time with the tribespeople, she gained their trust. This extended to their gifts to her of bows, arrows and their hunting poison. The poison was extracted from dried tree roots, stored in cowhorn, and said to be effective for up to 3 years. Diana was given her own bow and specific poison to enable her to kill `dik-dik`, a small antelope. It is not recorded how she fared.

These were just some of the objects and curios Diana traded and bought, alongside the bartering for camel meat in exchange for gathering firewood, considered to be a `dirty` job. Not as smelly as carrying the tribal feast! Local scribes carefully recorded names and weights and currency, the latter sometimes being in the form of salt bars, as we shall see later.

Camel hair was often woven into very large rugs, to provide shelter for a whole family in cold and wet weather. The children slept with the animals for warmth, with goatskins for bedding. Few tribes had many possessions. Indeed no more than could be packed on an ox or camel, and covered by a rug. It would be warm but exposed to camel ticks. According to T.E. Lawrence “camel ticks can be destroyed by treating them with butter and throwing them on the fire, where they explode like popcorn ”.  I hardly think the Major and Diana would be taking part !

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