We discover vanishing hunting customs in a village on the borders of Mali and Niger. The natives raise their herds in the brush where, oddly enough, cattle and lions get along. Sometimes, the lions “break the pact” and attack the herds. That is when the lion hunt is conducted — with bow and arrow and every four years. The hunters make their own bows and poison-tipped arrows. Rites, dances and incantations accompany preparation of the poison, called Boto. They exorcize the evil spells and lay the snares. The beast, caught in a snare, is shot at close range; the hunters sing the praises of the beast, whose throat will be cut so that its “soul” will not be baleful and its flesh will be edible. Returning to the village, the hunters relate their exploits to the children — exploits that will soon be legends.
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