Thursday, July 10, 2003

Chap 14, part 5

Eventually he made me understand that white warriors had given them to him; that he had buried them, and had intended digging them at Christmas time. This was the first I knew of the nearby garrison.

Just before we left, Toma presented me with a gift that really touched me. It was the scale model of the outrigger in which he resued me. Let me try to make you understand the significance of this.

When a native builds a boat he also builds a scale model, as much like the larger craft as he can make it. He believes that so long as the model is safe the boat is safe. The model, therefore, is guarded closely. Usually it is hidden in some secure place. It is seldom indeed that a native will let such a model out of his own hands; to say nothing of allowing it to go out of his possession and protection.

It was the supreme compliment. Toma told me with great earnestness that I should keep it safe. If anything should happen to it, he assured me, the same disaster would befall the big outrigger. On the bow of the model he put my name: "Jim America" and "from Toma." He added the name of the island.

No comments: