Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/150

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utes four or five more old women were seen along with her, according to the custom of the country in curing the sick. They spent the day in brushing him with the boughs of the trees and used curious incantations. The ceremony was repeated in the evening and he was directed to go and bathe in the river. Although he put little faith in the proceedings, the fever abated and he speedily began to recover.

From a Dutch fort seventy miles away the commandant came to see Woodard and invited him to return with him, offering to buy him out of slavery. The chief mate refused, because he was afraid of being compelled to join the Dutch military service. He was shrewd enough to perceive that this was what the commandant had in mind, and he therefore begged to be sent to Macassar, whence he could make his way to Batavia. At this the commandant lost interest in the castaways and made no more attempt to help them.

Soon after this they were carried back to the village of their first imprisonment, but Woodard had seen blue water again and he was resolved to risk his life for liberty. Eluding his guards, he took a spear for a weapon and followed the forest paths all night until he emerged on a beach, where he discovered a canoe and paddled out to sea. Rough water swamped the ticklish craft, and he had to swim half a mile to get to land again. Back he