Page 292. " Whereas all the Doones were practised marksmen, being compelled when lads (like the Balearic slingers) to strike down their meals before tasting them "
Balearic slinger
Public DomainBalearic slinger - Credit: Johnny Shumate

The inhabitants of the Balearic Islands to the east of Spain were well known for their abilities as slingers. According to the Greek historian Polybius, the islands derived their name from this ability of its inhabitants: the Greek word ballein means to throw.

The Balearic slingers apparently owed their ability to dedicated practice from a very early age. According to the historian Diodorus, mothers in the Balearic islands would place a piece of bread on top of a pole, and the young slinger was not allowed to eat it until he had knocked it off with his sling. Balearic slingers carried three slings wrapped around their heads – a long slim sling for long shots, a short one for close targets and a middling one for medium distances.