Stirring Fight With Python: How Margaret Collyer, an English-woman, Saved Her Favorite Dog.; Fought a Monstrous African Snake with Tree Root and Conquered., Daily Racing Form, 1919-05-11


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STIRRING FIGHT WITH PYTHON How Margaret Collyer an English ¬ woman Saved Her Favorite Dog Fought n Monstrous African Snnlie Snnliewllli wllli Tree Itoot and andCoiiiiucrert Coiiiiucrert We arc indebted to Major A W Bircli late S AV Borderers for tlie following letter from Miss Margaret Collyer Unuwu to many followers of Imiimls in tliu south of England The letter speaks for itself and affords a noteworthy example of luck anil endurance on tlio part of an English sportswoman wlio may may well be congratulated as the result of her adventure adventureI I am living now in an utterly uninhabitated part of the country with about thirty boys My house is a round log lint thatched witii grass and built in a narrow valley between the Olioba River and a smaller stream known UK the Simba from which I get my water Yesterday April 9 1 liad been herding the boys all day breaking up ground for a vegetable garden It was a hot day and at 4 p m I went back to the lint told my boy to get me some tea and in the meantime took off my gaiters and my belt to which is attached my big whistle with which I call my boys and my big hunting knife After tea my three dogs came and begged me to take them foT a walk so I started off for a short stroll just as I was and not troubling to take my rifle nor even a stick My dogs consist of a young Airedale dog Pickles an Airedale bitch a mighty huntress Dona and a large African buckliound Hig Man which I use for pulling down wounded buck I walked down the Si ml i i River and let the dogs try for a jackal Then I thought I would go to n place where I often put up a Imshbuck and let the big hound liave DOG IN SNAKES COIL GIVES ALARM ALARMSo So I turned up through spine dry grass by the bed of a dry stream which runs down the hill to the river Here I struck into a game track and walked slowly along up rather a steep hill meaning to take a short round home The bushbuck was not about and Dona and Big Man came back to heel The young dog was on in front out of sight over the brow of the incline Suddenly I heard him give tongue anil thought lie had hit off the buck so I cheered on the other two when in a second his joyful opening turned to howls and yells of agony Thinking a leopard had probably got him 1 ran about fifty yards and saw him still on the track which crossed the bed of the stream in the coils of a liuge python Three coils as big as my body were around him blood was streaming from his month Ills eyes implored me to help The other dogs were burking around the snake but not going for it The snake was openmouthed trying to get hold of the dogs head If there is one thing in this world I have always been afraid of it is a snake a small grass snake would be quite enough to make me yell and run Here I was a quarter of a mile from help quite alone and my dog being strangled to death in the grip of the biggest snake I had ever seen I felt for my whistle which I had left on my camp bed There was no time to lose and no use to shout for help The dog was being killed and was past howling howlingHOW HOW PICKLES WAS SAVED BY MISTRESS MISTRESSI I looked around for some weapon and seized a heavy root of a partly burnt tree It was only about two feet long so I had to go right in There was three feet or so of the snake feeling around 1jckles head and I made a whack at the back of its neck I hit it fairly hard and it them came for me like a flush and struck and bit me on the shin I jumped back and Dona seeing it g for me grabbed it in the neck and pulled it back and the big dog got hold of its tail Doria was whirled into the air in a second and either let go or was shaken off I went in again and hit twice as hard as I could and it made another lightning plunge at me dragging Pickles with it It got my other leg this time I did not move but banged and banged its neck and head with the root and Dona got hold again I think I must have partially stunned it for to my utmost relief it began to unloose the dog I hit several times more and then it turned and began to crawl slowly away down between the banks of the stream I grabbed hold of Dona and dragged her off shouted at Big Man to leave it and Pickles lay gasping on his side Then I began to shout for help for my blood was up and that snake was going to die After what seemed hours I heard my head boys whistle and knew they were coming All the army arrived with knives and my chief boy had the sense to rush into my hut and bring my rifle They all thought a lion had got me I told them hurriedly what it was grabbed my rifle and dashed down the stream after the snake It had not gone far and was coiled up under a big root rootBULLETS BULLETS OF VARIOUS SIZES FINISH SNAKE SNAKEI I could not see the head so knelt down about ten foot uway and put a bullet from my Mannliclier Mauser into the middle of it This stirred it up and it came at me again I followed on with four more bullets which all hit but was shaking all over by this time I could not hit the head which waved about However I saw that the brute was so badly hit it could not get away so I sent my boy back for my 2 bore and a No G cartridge One shot with this blew its head to pieces and I put one more in for luck We then got the brute tip on the bank and as it lay I measured it fifteen feet but it was still wriggling and I dare say if it had been straight put it would have been longer but I was not going to touch it and none of my boys would They were all terrified and would not go near It Some people have an idea that natives have no affection 1 wish to prove this untrue my head boy Kago when he arrived with the rifle and found I was still alive caught hold of me in his arms as though he would never let me go and when it was all over and the snake was dead lie collapsed with a dreadful headache and kind of ague He kent saying I thought you were being killed I thought I would find 3011 dead deadI I do not think he slept all night and came into my hut several times in the night to see if I was all right This does not look as if there was any want of feeling Alls well that ends well and the dog was not hurt much One hind leg was badly bitten and his head also was bitten strange to say no ribs were broken and he was only stiff and sore My legs were rather sore and swollen but except for a nerveshaking experience no real damage was done The most curious thing is that although I possess this terror of snakes during the fight for my dogs life I felt not a particle of fear but as soon as all was over the old horror came back and I could have run from the dead snake had I not been ashamed of showing the white feather before the boys My head man gave me a lecture and made me promise I would never go out again without Kago and my gun He said This is not Nairobi or Kabete it is forest all around and no one to help you 1 am afraid for you very This is the Mory just as it came about London Field

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