Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/122

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of the native teachers, and of the excellent illustrations they sometimes make use of. Thus a hollow professor is likened to the cast-off shell of a lobster, so perfect in every claw and feeler, even to the transparent covering of the eyes, that the fisher, peering into the clear pools on the reef, mistakes it for a true and excellent prize, and only learns his error as he grasps the worthless shell.

A strange illustration of "cutting off a right hand or a right foot, or plucking out a right eye, that offend," was given by a teacher at Tutuila, who told how often he had watched the mali'o, or land-crab, which by day burrows deep in the soil, but by night hurries down to the sea to feed and drink. It is a wondrous cleanly creature; and the Samoans declare that if on its seaward way, as it presses through the tall grass, it should chance to come in contact with any filth, which adheres to its legs, it will deliberately wrench them off, and thus, self-mutilated, hobbles back to its hole, there to hide till its legs grow again. It is positively affirmed that this most extraordinary crab has been known deliberately to wrench off its eight legs in succession, and then drag itself home with the greatest difficulty by means of its nippers. I must confess I think this crab would have shown more common-sense had he gone to the sea or the nearest stream and washed his dirty legs. But you must allow that the illustration was an apt one.

Those who on hearing good words hearken, and for a season dwell on them in their hearts, but after a while return to their careless ways, are compared to the sensitive plant, which when touched closes its leaves and droops to the very earth, but anon rises up again as brave as ever. A backslider is compared to a certain fish which comes from the ocean to feed on the reef, and which for a day or two continues silvery white, but after a while becomes dark and unwholesome.

A little sin is as a hole in a fisherman's basket, through which, one by one, fall the fish for which he has toiled so eagerly. First he loses all his little fish, and gradually, as the hole enlarges, the large fish also escape, and at last he reaches his journey's end with an empty basket.

The taint of old sins, clinging to one who would fain put away