Bottom Is A Dead Flat, And Forms A Valley Of Sand About Two Hundred And
Fifty Yards Wide.
In this bosom of a crater, salt and bitter water is
found at a depth of only six feet from the surface.
To this our tired
camels frantically rushed upon being unloaded.
The valley was a "valley of dry bones." Innumerable skeletons of camels
lay in all directions-the ships of the desert thus stranded on their
voyage. Withered heaps of parched skin and bone lay here and there, in
the distinct forms in which the camels had gasped their last. The dry
desert air had converted the hide into a coffin. There were no flies
here, thus there were no worms to devour the carcasses ; but the usual
sextons were the crows, although sometimes too few to perform their
office. These were perched upon the overhanging cliffs ; but no sooner
had our overworked camels taken their long draught and lain down
exhausted on the sand, than by common consent they descended from their
high places and walked round and round each tired beast.
As many wretched animals simply crawl to this spot to die, the crows,
from long experience and constant practice, can form a pretty correct
diagnosis upon the case of a sick camel. They had evidently paid a
professional visit to my caravan, and were especially attentive in
studying the case of one particular camel that was in a very weakly
condition and had stretched itself full length upon the sand; nor would
they leave it until it was driven forward.
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