Inspired by childhood stories of Prester John and the Queen of Sheba, in 1966 Dervla Murphy bought Jock, an amiable pack-mule, and set off to trek across the highlands of this awesome but troubled land. She wandered south from the Red Sea shore to Sheba's Aksum and up onto the icy roof of Africa, the Semien mountains. From there she descended to the ruined palaces of Gondar and skirted the northern shore of Lake Tana before crossing the drought-afflicted high ranges to Lalibela. Having exchanged the exhausted Jock (named after her publisher) for an uncooperative donkey, Dervla completed her journey to Addis Ababa. The real achievement was not surviving three armed robberies or a mountainous one-thousand-mile trail, but rather Dervla's growing affection for and understanding of another race.
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