Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/124

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

flourish, so that when the husbandman gathers his cane, he finds its precious juice all gone, and in its place a multitude of loathsome worms. Even such, said the preacher, is the growth of little sins.

The soul that seeks to soar heavenward is likened to the piraki—a small hird, which, like the skylark, seems to lose itself in the light. On the other hand, the snow-white tern, which, beneath its lovely white plumage, has a dull black skin, is a meet symbol of the hypocrite, whose fair feathers shall one day be plucked off, to reveal the false professor.

Some of the questions propounded by the students are equally noteworthy, and few indeed suggest that confused wool-gathering of which every school examiner in Britain can quote such strange examples. The question asked by one young man was, "What is meant by Satan falling from heaven?" And I could not help thinking of the rash Sunday-school teacher who asked her class why, in Jacob's dream, the angels were seen descending by a ladder. To which replied a sharp child, "Please, 'twas because the angels were puking, and they couldna flee!" She had charge of her mother's poultry, which just then were moulting, so the comparison was forcible.

Hitherto the students do not appear to have been troubled with any speculative difficulties regarding the Mosaic account of Creation, which, in Samoa, has reversed the European order, and has superseded the "Darwinian" theory. According to the legend of the isles, "In the beginning" the great god Tangaloa sent his daughter, in the form of a bird, to visit the great waters, which then covered the face of the earth. She found a rock rising above the surface, and there rested a while ere returning to the heavens. From time to time she revisited the rock, and carried thither some earth—and then a creeping plant. After a while she returned, and her plant had covered the earth, which gradually enlarged, as the waters dried up. Then the plant withered and decayed, and as it turned into slimy nastiness, a multitude of worms appeared, and they grew fat and flourished, and in due course of time men and women were evolved. So, you see, the Samoans had traced the