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The Autobiography of a Maori

Escaped Drowning

Escaped Drowning

When I was about four years old, I had a more serious fall which nearly terminated my young life. One of the pohutukawa trees I have already mentioned grew aslant over the Orutua. I climbed up this and fell into deep water. My young companion had sense enough to realise I was in mortal danger. He hurried into the house and, seeing my mother, began pulling her skirt; at the same time pointing towards the river. My mother instinctively gathered I was in trouble. She arrived just in time to save me, although there was grave doubt whether I would come round.

People have often asked me the cause of the large scar on my right wrist. I was watching a man putting a rope round the neck of a new-born calf and, as the calf cried, its mother became very excited and kept running about. I ran into a shed and instead of standing on the flat ground, of course, I stood on a round log. As the cow became excited, I grew more excited and lost my balance and, in falling, I put out my right hand to support myself and put it on the broken bottom of a bottle. The broken bottle with its sharp edges stuck into my wrist. When my page 19mother pulled it out it left a nasty cut in my wrist. I remember honey was used as a remedy to heal the wound and it quickly healed.