Scottish explorer David Livingstone 'ate elephants'

Scottish explorer David Livingstone 'ate elephants'

Livingstone's 12-page missive to British Premier Lord Palmerston in November 1861 has sold for nearly 28,800 pounds, fetching more than treble its estimated price at an auction in London, the 'BBC' reported.

The letter describes how his party on the famous Zambezi expedition of 1858-1864 killed an elephant for food and then saw the rest of the herd apparently mourning.

In it, Livingstone reveals a series of incidents, including being robbed by "professional" thieves who struck just before dawn. He said the local people appeared to be afraid to kill elephants for the ivory, as the animals were "not disturbed by the presence of man".

"When we killed one for food the rest of the herd stood a mile off for two days. Elsewhere they would not have stood within 30 or 40 miles," he wrote.

Livingstone's letter describes in detail the trip of August to November 1861.
It gives an account of an encounter with a party of Zulus, noting "evidence of their vengeance on the people of the country were abundant... they were as much afraid of me as our men were of them".

Livingstone told how the expedition came under attack from Ajawa people. "We were at once surrounded and showers of poisoned arrows shot at us. We were obliged to act in self defence and drive them off," he wrote.

He also reveals how he sampled an unusual native dish, made of insects "like our smallest gnats". "The people actually collect these minute creatures and boil them into cakes, which have the flavour of locusts and taste like fish," wrote the explorer who died in 1873.