Sketches of Early Colonisation in New Zealand and its Phases of Contact with the Maori Race
Lost in the Forest. — Terrible Sufferings and Timely Rescue
Lost in the Forest.
Terrible Sufferings and Timely Rescue.
I had been instructed to proceed to a neighbouring settler's farm, situated in a district about five miles back in the bush, to make inquiries about the purchase of some agricultural produce that was advertised for sale there?
The owner of this farm, as well as several other settlers, had to give up possession of their holdings, on account of a mistake having been made in the survey of the original block purchased from the native owners.
The Provincial System of Local Government was in full operation in the Colony at that time, and it may perhaps not be out of place, but interesting to many, to here explain the manner of acquiring native lands, and how they afterwards came into possession of the white settler through the Provincial Government.
The General Government of the Colony reserved to itself the sole right of purchasing all lands offered for sale by the natives, and permitted no interference, either by the Provincial Authorities or private individuals, whatever.
A special department, called "The Native Land's Purchase Department," had the management of all these transactions, and when the purchase of a block was completed, and all parties to the sale thereof had attached their signatures to the deed of purchase (the Maori's holding their lands in common, each member of the tribe haying an interest, according to his rank or station), it was then handed over to the Superintendent of the Province in which it was situated, and by him ordered to be page 30surveyed and divided into suitable farms, of, say, from fifty to one thousand acres each, with public roads traversing the whole block, and giving access to each lot, as the case might be.
The Provincial Survey Department then advertised it as open for selection and sale, at so much an acre, but, should there be more than one application for the same farm, it was then put up to public competition by the Chief Snrveyor, and the highest bidder got it.
Neither the General nor Provincial Governments sought to make any money out of the transactions, the purchase money of the settlers going to disburse for first cost from natives, survey, and a few other expenses attendant on the transaction, the great desideratum being the settlement of the country by a healthy and industrious population of whites.
Owing to the mistake in the boundary of this block' aforementioned, more land had been surveyed and afterwards sold to white settlers than was purchased from the original owners, or that there was a clear title to.
Unfortunately, this very portion, which was considered the cream of the block, had many applicants for the farm lots advertised, so that a considerable portion of the said block had been sold to bona fide settlers, who had paid cash for their farms.
These men lost no time in occupying their selections Burning off scrub, ploughing, felling timber, fencing, sowing, and building substantial dwelling and office houses, as only active and industrious backwoodsmen know how to do, quickly took place here, so that the face of this once wild country, the home of the wild pig and pigeon, quickly began to assume the appearance of civilization, with fine homesteads surrounded by orchards, splendidly grassed and well fenced paddocks full of cattle and sheep, denoting both the excellence of the soil, and the industry of the oceupiers.
This, then, was the state of affairs, and how matters stood, when that fatal mistake was discovered. But as it arose, entirely on the part of and by the Provincial Government Authorities, they, of course had to pay the piper.page 31
When the settlers found, out that they would have to give up possession of their farms and leave, they sold. What they could to their neighbours in other districts, but the rest the Provincial Government paid for.
The whole matter, of course, was left to arbitration, one arbitrator being appointed by the settlers themselves, the other by the Provincial Government.
Everything remaining was taken at valuation—land, houses, crops, and improvements, &c., for which the Provincial Government paid half in cash, the rest in land scrip, which the settlers could sell, if so disposed, but very few of them embraced that alternative afterwards, preferring to make use of their land orders and secure new farms, and commence anew in some other district.
Such, then, was the state of affairs at this settlement when I was deputed to proceed there to make arrangements for the purchase of some produce which one of the settlers had for sale.
After receiving final instructions, I slung my powder horn and shot pouch over my sholders, and taking my trusty fowling-piece in my hand, I sprang into the saddle, and rode smartly away.
The greater portion of my way lay amidst dense forest, through which an excellent bullock road had been cut, with here and there a clearing more or less extensive, in which was situated one or more settlers' comfortable homes, all of which bore silent but faithful testimony of the perseverance and industry of their owners.
During this ride I had anticipated having some good pigeon shooting, the bush upon either side of the road being full of Miro trees, and they were then in full berry, upon which the wild pigeon feeds with avidity.
But not a bird did I see, nor yet hear, for the wild pigeon, whilst on the wing, makes a soft whistling noise, which can be heard, quite distinctly, for a considerable distance, in the silent bush.
My solitary ride, enlivened only by the call of the Kakas, or large brown parrots, which were disturbed in their quest of food amongst the decaying timbers of the forest by the clatter of my horses' hoofs upon the hard roadway; or else by the amusing mimicry of the Tui, or "parson bird"(so called by the settlers, from his peculiar page 32plumage, having two tufts of white feathers just under the throat, the rest of the body being a shiny jet black, like a clergyman's white bands and black gown, the mocking bird of the New Zealand forests), perched far up amongst the limbs of a gigantic Rata tree, where lie was to be seen apparently struggling frantically to clear his throat before trying to imitate the sweet songs of some of the feathered denizens of the forest; or yet the beautiful little Koromoko and the sweetly plantive Bell-bird, each and all enlivening the loneliness of the ride by their sweet melodies; or, anon, the pretty and lively little Piwakawaka (fantail fly-catcher), as he fitted around or behind me, in quest of the flies that had been disturbed' by the passage of my horse.
Nature there revelled in all her glory, the dense and ever varying undergrowth defying the eye of man to penetrate beyond a few yards, with the towering giants of the forest in all their mighty grandeur, whose foliage formed an interlacing canopy, which, in many places, shut out the rays of the glorions orb of day.
All this primitive beauty and solitude not having, as yet, been desecrated by the ruthless axe and fire-brand of the rapidly advancing settlers and the spread of civilization.
This uneventful and solitary ride now rapidly drew to a close, and it was not long before I arrived at my destination.
Upon arrival I received a kindly welcome, and was most hospitably entertained, as, indeed, is the general rule with all the settlers in the back blocks, hospitality being an unwritten but recognised law amongst them all.
Oft have I, when passing amongst the back settlements, whose people were utter strangers, been compelled to stop and enter their houses to partake of the refreshments so kindly tendered to me a stranger to them, and well do I recollect that on one occasion whereon I happened to make a remark somewhat to that effect, I was met by the reply, in a strong North of Ireland accent—
"Shure, now Sor, what's the bite and sup to us when the poor crather might need it badly. Would'nt your honour do the same, yerself, don't ye think."page 33
This friendliness, of course, has the tendency of disarming you of all restraint, therefore I had no more to say in the matter, but felt as mnch [sic] at home as if I had known them for many years.
Of such material, then, are most of our back settlers composed, with hearts as large as pumpkins, being soft and susceptible to every kindly and noble feeling of sympathetic humanity.
Having rested and refreshed myself with a good and substantial meal, I was shown over the farm by the proprietor, and witnessed the remarkably progressive developments thereon since first occupation, having also pointed out to me the improvements that had been made, with others that were to have followed.
I expressed sincere regret that such was now to be at an end, and that the district must revert once more to a state of nature.
My entertainer seemed to take the matter very easily, the only regret he expressed was at the loss of time.
He stated that it would take him from five to six years before he could place another farm in the same state of improvement: and that, seeing he was advanced in years, and childless, was a most serious matter to him.
I now entered upon the object of my mission, arid arranged matters more expeditiously and satisfactorily than I could possibly have anticipated.
During the course of conversation I casually remarked how scarce the wild pigeons appeared to be, and how disappointed I was at not having seen any during the ride over.
I was informed that there were plenty to be found in the bush, about a mile and a half from the house; also, that a well-defined bullock track lead to the locality.
I was asked to stay, and wait until next morning, when they would be able to make up a shooting party to go to the locality, which promised good sport.
Having told them that I had promised to be home that afternoon, and that if I did not fulfil my promise my relatives would be very anxious about my safety, page 34fearing that I might have lost myself in the strange bush, which would be a very serious thing indeed; therefore, thanking them for their kindness, I told them I should be compelled to return that evening.
However, I remarked that having plenty of time on hand, I would take a stroll over there by myself, and have an hour's shooting, and that would be sufficient.
Receiving my directions, I was earnestly warned not to proceed far into the bush on any account whatever, for it was very deceptive, and, to any one not being acquainted with the configuration of the country, it would be dangerous to penetrate too far—one person already having narrowly escaped losing his life there.
I made solemn promise to attend to all they said, and well would it have been for me if I had kept my promise.
But scarcely had I got away from the house when I thoughtlessly permitted myself to follow the bent of my inclinations, and have some sport, if there was any to be found.
A sharp walk brought me to the bush pointed out, and preparing my gun for use, at the same time scanning the trees from the outskirts, to see if there were indications of birds being about, having my eyes and ears gladdened by seeing a few, and hearing others—the soft whistling noise produced by their wings, when flying from tree to tree, proclaiming their presence.
Without further hesitation, I entered the bush, and was soon in full swing, peppering away; but after having bagged some five or six brace, the birds became a little shy, compelling me to move after them much quicker, but to do this with greater ease I tied them in a bundle, and hung them upon a low limb, so as to be able to pick them up upon my return.
I followed, shooting an odd bid here and there, but, by this time, they had become very wary and wild, requiring great circumspection in approaching them to get a shot at all.
Having spent about two hours in this way, and the day being advanced, I considered it imperative to be returning homeward, so, picking up my birds, and slinging them across the barrel of my gun, I made for the spot, as page 35I thought, where I had left the first lot; but, what with my wanderings here and there, and in and out of the timbers, I soon came to the unpleasant knowledge that I had lost all reckoning of my whereabouts.
Alone in a strange forest, and in a part of the country utterly unknown to me, was a position to blanch the cheek of one older and stronger than I, considering that I was only a youth then, and not so well versed in bush craft as I became afterwards from practice, so I sat down upon a decayed log to think over my position, and how best to extricate myself from so unpleasant a dilemma; but, think as I could, act as I would, I could only arrive at one conclusion—lost!
Ah! What terrors were implied and meant in that little word I but too well realised then!
Alone in the wild forest, with only its denizens to keep me company, with the certainty, also, of a slow but tortuous death before me, with no fond and affectionate hand to smooth my pallet or soothing voice to comfort me in my great sufferings.
All that I had heard or read of about the agony endured and of the terrible death by those in a similar position only added fresh torture to my already maddened brain.
Rapidly did my whole life pass before my mind's eye, during those few moments of mental anguish, and most fervently did I vow to mend my ways should I be fortunate enough to be extricated from so perilous a position.
Every cross and angry word or look that I had given my parents (though, looking back to that time, I do not think that I had much to reflect upon, for I was not naturally vicious), came up fresh in my memory, as if to haunt me to the death.
Had I been struck by a sharp blow it could not possibly have had a more extraordinary effect upon me than the consciousness of being lost.
I sprang to my feet, and rushed like one demented; on, I knew not, nor cared where, but determined to regain my liberty from a living tomb.
But this madness, or excitement, only entangled me more deeply.page 36
I coo-ey-ed, or called, at the full power of my lungs, all to no purpose, also, firing off signal shots at short intervals, but only my own echo could I hear in response, as if in mockery at my futile attempts to escape.
I clambered up the trees, in my excitement, thinking, by that means, I should be able to distinguish some object that might serve as a guide, but one unbroken vista of tree tops only met my view.
During the wild delirium of tree-climbing I lost my powder flask, which had been torn off my shoulder, and this, under the circumstances, was a very serious thing.
The birds shot had gone long before, so that I had only the charges left in the barrel of my gun, to depend upon, in case of danger.
Darkness was setting in rapidly by this time, compelling me to select a well forked tree, to pass the night in, so as to be out of the way of wild pigs or the Maori's semi-wild dogs, seeing that I had no fire or the means to produce such, for matches, I had none, but the nights at that season of the year being nice and warm, therefore, I did not anticipate any unpleasantness on that account— but the lively and mischievous little mosquito was another matter altogether.
Mounting to my lonely perch, and stretching my limbs across the branches, I gave myself up to thoughts, for, tired as I was, after my great exertions that day, sleep was the last thing likely to visit my eyes, my mind and brain being full of conflicting thoughts of hope or fear for the future.
Occasionally would I be brought back to the consciousness of my predicament by the noises of the lonely forest, for now and then I could distinctly hear the short angry bark-like grunt of the wild boars in savage combat with each other, or the discontented and hungry yelp of the wild dog, as he prowled about in quest of his prey; or yet again, it might be the thundering crash of some lordly giant of the forest, rotted away through, time and decay—the stillness of the night lending an almost telephonic distinctness to every sound for miles around.
But nature had the mastery at last; for, worn out with fatigue, both in body and mind, I fell into a short but fitful doze, and upon awakening, daylight, or as page 37much as a thick and almost impenetrable mass of foliage overhead would allow, began to penetrate the gloom; but, what was of equal, if not greater pleasure, the feathered denizens of the forest began to sweetly sing their morning carol, as if to cheer me in my loneliness, but in reality, welcoming the great orb of light.
All this joy and happiness apparent in nature, surrounding me, had an effect for good, for it infused fresh hope into my soul, and spurred me on to renew the battle for life with another day.
Then did a verse from an old poem, which had been taught me by my revered mother, whilst I was but a stripling, come up fresh in my memory, which had a most soothing influence upon my excited imagination, with the hope of succour out of my difficulty:—
"Courage and faith and patience,
There's space in the old world yet;
The better the chance you stand lad,
The further along you get;
Keep your eye on the goal, lad,
Never despair or drop,
Be sure your path leads upwards;
There's always room at the top."
It was with no little pleasure that I lowered myself to the ground once more, and able to stretch my limbs somewhat, after my awkward and cramped position amongst the branches of the tree, and, having cooled my heated brain by a bath, and refreshed myself by a hearty draught of water at a pool close by, I set out upon my second day's lonely wanderings.
Hunger, I felt not, at that time, nor had I any inclination to eat should I have had any food with me just then, but, for water there was no scarcity, as small pools of excellent quality were met with everywhere.
At this early hour of the morning the woods were perfectly alive with the feathered tribe, the wild birds everywhere seeming to vie with each other in sweet warblings, rejoicing in the unrestrained liberty of their lives.page 38
Kakas (large brown parrots) and pigeons sought their breakfast amongst the foliage and berries of the forest, or perhaps, looked down upon me with curiosity or surprise, and showing no symptoms of fear, but allowing me to approach them quite close, before taking to the wing, apparently quite conscious of my impotency to harm them.
My gun, though loaded in both barrels, I kept in reserve, which I hugged and kissed as if it were a thing of life, it being my only companion, and one upon which I could rely in case of danger, for there was no knowing what terrors the forest had in store.
On I wandered mechanically, as fast as the impediments in my way would permit, whilst now and then turning aside from some almost impassable net-work of supple-jack or mingo-mingo vine, or else, to avoid the lordly wild boar himself, who stood his ground, eyeing me, with no little curiosity, and, no doubt, wondering, in his savage mind, what could have possessed me to trespass upon his domain; nor was he in any way inclined to move from his usual path to give place to me, being confident in his power as king of the forest.
Only too pleased was I to leave him as such, well knowing that, if not disturbed nor molested, or coming directly in his way, I had nothing to fear from him.
Such, then, were some of the occurrences of this lonely and tiresome day's travel, unenlivened by any striking event that was likely to curtail my wanderings or open out a road to civilization and friends.
Evening was again fast approaching, and darkness would soon set in, with all its impenetrable gloom, accompanied by the weird noises of the forest.
On looking around amongst the timber for some favourable place to camp for the night, I was struck with the similarity of the neighbourhood with that where 1 had rested the night before, whilst, upon closer inspection, I found the very tree amongst whose friendly branches I had found a resting place on the previous night, thereby proving that with all my wanderings that day I had returned upon my footsteps, and arrived at the very spot where I had started from in the morning, but unconscious of that fact.page 39
It was only now that the cravings of hunger began to admonish me that it was high time I set about supplying myself with some food whilst it was yet sufficiently light; and, on searching around I was enabled to secure some yonng butt fronds of the black Giant Tree-fern, or as it is commonly called the "bushman's rhuburb," which it very much resembles when properly dressed; I also stripped off the leaves of the Nikau, or native palm, and having cut out the heart, this I also added to my store of edibles, after which, 1 ascended to my lofty perch-like couch, and there, having eaten to satisfaction (hunger being an excellent appetiser), after which, I once more stretced myself out for my lonely vigil.
Weariness and fatigue, soon had the mastery, whereupon I fell into an uneasy slumber, waking every now and then with a start, as some sound, louder than nsual, came upon the night air, to disturb my slumbers.
Such, then, did this second night of my imprisonment pass away, whilst the inky blackness of the night began gradually to give place to the first streaks of light, as that great life-giving luminary, the Sun, gradually ascended on high.
The feathered life, also, within the leafy canopy, began to proclaim with joyful song the approach of another day, all so happy in their unrestrained liberty and life.
The bright and glorious morning came at last, and with it, again, the struggle for freedom.
It was towards the afternoon of this, the third day, that I came upon a large and very deep creek in the heart of the forest, and being anxious to cross where a large dead tree spanned it, but I had to use the greatest of care in so doing, not being able to swim
Several times had I struck it, that afernoon, during my wanderings, and everywhere did it present the same appearance—broad, deep, and sluggish.
It was whilst resting that night on my perch-like couch that I began to think seriously over this stream, and where its outlet might be situated, for of all the rivers in the country, for miles around, not one of them, either in appearance, size, or known outlet, so far as I was aware of, would correspond with it in any way.page 40
Next morning I was moving early with renewed hopes and determination for the future, and, taking myself to the creek, sat down upon the bank to watch its sluggish waters, and endeavour to find out which way it flowed, being determined to follow it to its outlet, if possible, knowing full well that the Maoris always build their kangas (villages) on the banks of such, so that there was an almost certainty of finding one by this means.
I watched for a considerable time, but so sluggish, still, and deep, were its waters, that I was just as wise as when I sat down.
There is an old saw, which says—"that necessity is the mother of invention," for so it appeared, in this particular case.
I gathered a few dead leaves, and threw them into water, watching intently the progress they made, and in which direction they were carried, but little, if anything, could I notice, for they appeared to me not to have moved.
Determined not to be baulked I repeated the experiment, but this time I used three leaves only, and, exactly opposite each leaf in the water, I planted a stick in the ground, upon the bank, then measured the distance between each stick, carefnlly retaining the distances for comparison with the leaves afterwards.
I waited in extreme suspense for some time, before measuring up, but, when I did so, it was with no little satisfaction I was able, somewhat, to determine the course of the stream.
So soon as I was assured of the direction the current was taking, I started to follow, and never lost sight of the stream whilst within the forest.
All that day, and the greater part of the fifth, I wandered on, buoyed up with the hope of being found at last.
I had same hours before emerged from the bush, and was now travelling through heavy scrub and fern land, in which the difficulty of progression was increased.
Often had I been compelled to lay myself down to rest through weariness and fatigue, my progress, of course, being very slow and difficult.page 41
My bush food supply had now run out, so I was compelled to dig up with a pointed stick, the fern roots, and to chew and suck them to quell the gnawings of hunger.
Every hour I felt myself growing weaker and weaker, but still I seemed as far from help and succour as ever.
It was now, as weakness grew greater, that I felt as if my time was rapidly drawing to a close; my brain seemed to be on fire; a wild delirium took possession of me, and, in fancy, I saw spread before me a table laden with all the delacies of the season, where seated around were many faces intimately known to me, whilst ever and anon one of these would hand towards me some tempting morsel, but the moment I put forth my hand to receive it, they would instantly snatch it away, whilst laughing and grinning the while at my ineffectual attempts to secure it.
Maddened to desperation by such a spectacle, I sprang to my feet again, and staggering forward determined to make one more attempt for life; but, should failure attend me this time, to blow my brains out before I should be wracked and tortured by the imaginations of an over-heated brain and the gnawings of hunger; such a quick ending of myself would be preferable, any time, to the slow torture of starvation.
On I staggered for some little distance, but only too soon fatigue and exhaustion again had the mastery, whereupon I fell prostrate to the earth, mercifully unconscious, for the time, of my sufferings.
Presently, dreams and visions of the awful future and of eternity took possession of my brain, whilst a mad delirium seemed hounding me on to some deperate deed of violence, to eud my terrible sufferings.
The following touching verses by H. J. B., entitled "A Vision of Death," are particularly applicabe [sic] to that terrible experience:—
"At midnight in my lonely roompage 42
A stealthy step came thro' the gloom—
Behind my chair it stopped;
Scarcely had I mark'd the ghostly tread,
When, lo! a hand, heavy as lead,
Upon my shoulder dropp'd!
"I looked not round—I did not dare—
I felt an awful presence there—
I saw its awful hand!
Bloodless it was, and lean and brown;
Yet it was strong, and bore me down;
No power could it withstand!
"Down, down, I sank, with failing will—
My pulse grew faint—my blood ran chill,
I drew a painful breath;
And in the last dull agonies
Into my fading, hollow eyes
Peer'd the weird face ofDeath!"
In mad delirium I sprang to my feet, whilst a strange unaccountable hope of rescue and life seemed urging me on to make one more desperate effort to escape from this living tomb.
As I painfully proceeded, I fancied that I could hear the faint barking of dogs in the distance (my hearing that instant being preternaturally acute), and, stooping, I placed my ear to the ground, and listened attentively.
Yes, it was so, I had heard aright, and it was a most joyful sound to me, whilst it infused new life into my soul.
There were two things to hope for from this fact. It might possibly be some Maoris out hunting wild pigs, and, if so, help was near; or, on the other hand, should it be some semi-wild dogs doing the same thing for food, I was determined to divide the spoil with them, my famished state and desperation giving me unnatural courage to do or dare anything, so that I could get some food to quell the cravings of nature.
I made my way as fast as my weakened state would permit, in the direction of the sound, and soon had the satisfaction of hearing it again, but much nearer this time than I had anticipated.
I looked carefully to my gun, to see that it was all right nd prepared for any emergency, but just as I was about to rush into the midst of the yelping pack I was overjoyed to hear a Maori voice calling out to another, a short distance away.page 43
I immediately answered in the same language, requesting them to come to me, as I had lost myself in the bush, and was famishing from want of food.
Quickly two young natives came to my assistance, whom I received with demonstrations of delight, so overjoyed was I at once more recognising and being able to commune with a fellow creature.
These men, Maori like, overwhelmed me with questions of where I came from, how long I had been lost, and what was my name.
But it was some few minutes before I was able to reply to the numerous questions of my young friends, for the revulsion of feeling from despair to joy upon meeting some of my fellow creatures, and of again returning to the bosom of my family, being too much for my reduced strength that I fell to the ground in a swoon.
My young companions had not been idle in the meantime, for they had busied themselves in preparing something nourishing for me, it being quite perceptible to what desperate straits I was reduced through hunger.
These kind and compassionate fellows, though savages they might be called by many, had the milk of human kindness as deeply implanted in their breasts as many more cultured and pretentious persons of the boasted white race, whilst their kindly speech and attention to me then will ever live in vivid memory so long as I may breathe the breath of life.
The choicest and easiest digested pieces of grilled pork and roasted potatoes were given me, but care was taken by these considerate fellows not to give too much at one time, for my weakened system could not have digested all that hunger sought after.
Having rested for some time and being refreshed thereby, they carefully and tenderly led me to their village, some two miles from where I had been found, at which place, after arrival, I soon became the centre of attraction.
The whole village came to gaze upon me, the ngaro manene (lost stranger), and soon my history was known, and the sufferings I had endured, which called forth many expressions of sympathy to be uttered all round.page 44
The Maori, when his passions are not aroused by war, is invariably a warm-hearted, kindly, and hospitable man.
I received all the attention that my circumstances demanded from these good people, given nice nourishing food, and placed in a warm and cosy bed, a luxury that I had not known for some days, and left to happy dreams of home and kindred, to whom I was soon to be restored.
Next morning I expressed a wish to return home, and the Rangatira (Chief) of the village, ordered a horse to be got ready to convey me there.
Whilst the preparations for my departure were being made, I moved over towards the Chief and requested of him permission to be accompanied by the two young men who had found me, as I intended that my relations should reward them for their personal kindness to me, and he quite readily acceded to my request
Before leaving these hospitable people's village, I emptied the contents of my purse upon the ground, which amounted in all to ten shillings, telling them to pick it up, well knowing that only those who were best entitled to it would do so, for as all were strangers to me, I should possibly have paid the wrong person if had done otherwise.
This Maori settlement, or village, was over twelve miles from where my relatives resided, and the number of miles I had travelled during my wanderings before reaching there, it would be hard to tell.
When I arrived at home my people were overjoyed to see me again, having almost given up all hope of finding me alive. The whole country was out after me, for miles around. Traces of me had been found, but for myself, I was nowhere to be seen. The catches of pigeons that I had made, with the powder flask and shot pouch were found, but after that, the trail disappeared.
All the search parties were recalled, there being afterwards great rejoicing amongst our numerous neighbours at my timely rescue.
The two young Maoris were handsomely rewarded, and sent home laden with presents for themselves and the villagers.page 45
After such a lesson as I had received I became very careful how I entered a strange bush afterwards, by taking my bearings well first, before entering such.
I sought diligently and acquired all the necessary information to make a good bushman.
Such knowledge as is to be found in a study of natures true compass (that is in the lean of the high forest timber as well as the moss to be found growing upon their stems), will denote, without fail, the direction you want to travel; also, the marking of the undergrowth, by breaking small twigs, as you proceed, with a necessary knowledge of the edible plants and berries of the forest, became part of my training
I can say with confidence, that experience bought, so long as it is not acquired too dearly, is the best of all, for I profited by mine.