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The Autobiography of a Maori

"To His Eternal Shame"

"To His Eternal Shame"

Often, on a fine day, Kate and I would go to one of the beautiful beaches that are to be found at East Cape. Kate had a craving for crayfish but neither of us had learned the art of catching the tasty crustacean. We later learned that the method was to catch it by the back, where the tail joins the body. (For many years I had thought that the tail was the head for I had seen a crayfish swimming backwards.) So intense did poor Kate's craving for a feed of crayfish grow that one day she dived into the water and when she came to the surface she said that she had touched a large one with her foot. Once more she disappeared under the water, and once more she came to the surface without a crayfish. She said the crayfish was a large one but that it gripped the sea-weeds so firmly that she could not move it. It was a man's job, but the only man present looked on—to his eternal shame. We returned home feeling disconsolate and I, ashamed. This college-bred man was useless; he could not even catch a crayfish.