Nation Making, a story of New Zealand
'Courage and Devotion
'Courage and Devotion.
'After the defeat of the Maories at Orakau, the soldiers pursued the retreating fugitives at all points "as they escaped from the untenable fortress. A little party of Colonial troops led by a dog, came upon a party of three Natives, two old men and one youth. The latter was the only armed man of the party, the old men having thrown away their guns the better to make their escape. The pursuers were rapidly page 126approaching. Before they could reach the forest not far ahead, the young Maori was observed to drop behind, and facing the pursuers, he knelt and presented his gun at the advancing foe. They stopped, fired, and missed him. Without discharging his piece, he sprung to his feet and ran on in advance, until he had overtaken the weary, unarmed old men, when he again faced about and presented his gun as before, but evidently reserving his fire, as he did not discharge his piece.
'By this time, the old men were drawing close to cover, the advancing soldiers rapidly lessening the distance between them. Again they fired at the youth, but missed as before. Once more the gallant fellow turned and bounded on. The worn-out old men were now close to the forest. Again, the now fainting youth faced his pursuers, and kneeling down presented his gun at the soldiers, now close upon him, but still no flash nor bullet came from his weapon.
'He remained kneeling, and, shooting him as he knelt, the soldiers rushed on into the forest, but failed to capture the older fugitives, for in the tangled undergrowth, they made good their escape. Returning from their fruitless search, the soldiers found the gallant youth lying dead on the track, without either caps or ammunition in his pouch, and that his gun was empty, not having been discharged nor even loaded; the brave fellow having, with an empty piece, gallantly covered the retreat of the two old men and secured their escape, by the loss of his own life. When the soldiers saw this, they were glad the old men had page 127escaped, and heartily sorry they had killed their gallant defender.'
'I should think so,' said the Major,' I have seen many gallant deeds done in my time, but I never knew anything to equal that'
'No more gallant deed of heroic devotion and noble self-sacrifice, was ever done in any age or country,' said the President,' it makes one regret, that a race capable of such deeds, should have met so hard a fate.'
We all expressed our admiration for the brave young warrior, and our regret for his untimely end.
After a short interval, the Interpreter said, 'You all seem rather sorrowful, let me tell you a story of another kind.