Originally published in my school magazine
The Hurst Johnian
Vol CIII, No. 843 - Michaelmas Term, 1960
Did I ever tell you about the time when I met the Yeti or Abominable Snowman? Well, it was 'way back in the late '50's when I was on a fossil-collecting expedition in the Himalayas, as far as I can remember. We were travelling through Tadshikistan along the Rakshi ridge when suddenly a strange figure appeared in the distance. No, it was not the Yeti—it was a Buddhist priest. He spoke in Nepalese to our Sherpa leader, who then told us in broken English that the priest's village was being pestered by an Abominable Snowman.
Apparently he wanted someone to remove this monster for them. I knew at once that the priest was desperate as Buddhists will rarely kill a Yeti, believing them to be humans "gone wrong". Anyway, I volunteered to assist him. As we, that is, the priest, two Sherpas and myself, went down the ridge to the village, I learnt that the Yeti had been making a nuisance of itself by digging up newly-planted vegetables and by stealing knives and weapons from the villagers at night. Moreover, it seemed to have the ability of finding these without disturbing the village.
We arrived at the village in question after the three- hour descent of the ridge and were then ushered into the hut belonging to the head of the village. An elderly, but very kind man, he invited us to spend the night in his hut—an invitation which we were pleased to accept, after first hearing further details of this mysterious monster. About two o'clock the following morning I was awakened by an ear-splitting scream, followed by cries of ''Yeti! Yeti!" Immediately I threw on my clothes and grabbed my trusty rifle. My Sherpas told me that one of the village boys was missing—I was after a man-eater! As I ran from the hut I saw the Yeti's silhouette against the moonlit snow. There was no sign of the boy and so I began to stalk the Yeti.
When I was within one hundred yards of it, it must have picked up my scent for, turning round it suddenly lumbered off before I could raise my rifle. However I finally tracked him down to a large rock cave. I decided to take the risk and went in, rifle at the ready, trying to present as small a target as possible to the razor-sharp claws that I expected to strike me.
Then suddenly I felt a brushing movement as if the Yeti was trying to get past me to the mouth of the cave. I realised to my astonishment that it was none other than the missing boy! But then, in a tiny patch of moonlight, I saw the sight I had most dreaded; the brownish furry skin of the Yeti, crouching low, ready to spring! I fired three shots. Strangely, no sound as the creature died. Cautiously I stepped forward. I prodded it with the muzzle of my rifle. It did not appear to have any substance at all! What was it? Gingerly I picked it up and found it to be ... the empty skin of a baboon with a row of buttons down the back.
My thoughts turned to the boy.M.K.R.