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Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before eBook

George Turner (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before.
lent to each other, if connected with the same tribe or clan.  A man cannot bear to be called stingy or disobliging.  If he has what is asked, he will either give it, or adopt the worse course of telling a lie about it, by saying that he has it not, or that it is promised to some one else.  This communistic system is a sad hindrance to the industrious, and eats like a canker-worm at the roots of individual or national progress.  No matter how hard a young man may be disposed to work, he cannot keep his earnings:  all soon passes out of his hands into the common circulating currency of the clan to which all have a latent right.  The only thing which reconciles one to bear with it until it gives place to the individual independence of more advanced civilisation, is the fact that, with such a state of things, no “poor laws” are needed.  The sick, the aged, the blind, the lame, and even the vagrant, has always a house and home, and food and raiment, as far as he considers he needs it.  A stranger may, at first sight, think a Samoan one of the poorest of the poor, and yet he may live ten years with that Samoan and not be able to make him understand what poverty really is, in the European sense of the word.  “How is it?” he will always say. “No food! Has he no friends? No house to live in! Where did he grow?  Are there no houses belonging to his friends?  Have the people there no love for each other?”

CHAPTER XIV.

CANOES.

Next to a well-built house, Samoan ingenuity was seen in their canoes.  Any one could fell a tree, cut off the branches, and hollow out the log some fifteen feet long, for a common fishing canoe in which one or two men can sit.  But the more carefully-built canoe, with a number of separate planks raised from a keel, was the work of a distinct and not very numerous class of professed carpenters.  The keel was laid in one piece, twenty-five to fifty feet long, as the size of the canoe might be, and to that they added board after board, not by overlapping and nailing, but by sewing each close to its fellow, until they had raised it some two, or, it might be, three feet from the ground.  These boards were not sawn, squared, and uniform, but were a number of pieces, or patches, as they are called, varying in size from eighteen inches to five feet long, as the wood split up from the log with felling axes happens to suit; all, however, were well fastened together, and, with the help of a little gum of the bread-fruit tree for pitch, the whole was perfectly water-tight.  In dressing each board, they left a ledge, or rim, all round the edge, which was to be inside, making it double the thickness at the edge to what it was in the middle of the board.  It is through this ledge or rim they bored the holes, and with a few turns of cinnet sewed tight one board to the other.  The sewing only appeared on the inside.  Outside

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