viii IN COURT AND KAMPONG
c Thou art marvellous clever at repartee ! ' quoth the Prince, and, so saying, he lifted a billet of wood, which chanced to be lying near at hand, and smote the boy on the head so that he died.
4 That will teach my people to have a care how they use my fighting-cocks ! ' said the Rja ; and that was his servant's epitaph.
4 It is a mere boyish prank,' said the father of the young Rjay when the matter was reported to him, 4 and moreover it is well that he should slay one or two with his own hand, else how should men learn to fear him ? ' And there the matter ended ; but it should be borne in mind that the fighting cock of a Malay Prince is not to be lightly trifled with.
I have said that all birds fight more or less, but birds are not alone in this. The little wide-mouthed, goggled-eyed fishes, which Malay ladies keep in bottles and old kerosine tins, fight like demons. Goats sit up and strike with their cloven hoofs, and butt and stab with their horns. The silly sheep canter gaily to the battle, deliver thundering blows on one another's foreheads, and then retire and charge once more. The impact of their horny foreheads is sufficient to reduce a man's hand to a shapeless pulp, should it find its way between the combatants' skulls. Tigers box like pugilists, and bite like French school-boys ; and buffaloes fight clumsily, violently, and vindictively, after the manner of their kind.
The natives of India have an ingenious theory, whereby they account for the existence of that ungainly fowl, the water-buffalo,aa fact in natural history, which certainly seems to call for some explanation. TheThe natives of India have an ingenious theory, whereby they account for the existence of that ungainly fowl, the water-buffalo,a a fact in natural history, which certainly seems to call for some explanation. The