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   Chapter 5 THE NEW TOWN SITE. THE WATER WHEEL AND THE SAWMILL

The Wonder Island Boys: Conquest of the Savages By Roger Thompson Finlay Characters: 14785

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


The Professor and his party immediately left for the Brabos' village, and before noon of the next day, Uraso, with the wagons and package train, came in sight. The warriors, together with the chiefs, and the two boys, Jim and Will, rushed to meet them, leaving the Professor and Chief Suros almost deserted. They smiled at the eagerness of all. They were just like boys.

When the procession from the village came up they surrounded the wagon and Uraso's warriors, and took the packages from the carriers, bearing them in triumph to the village, and passed before the Professor and Suros. The boys began the dancing, and the warriors took up the suggestion, and improved on it. The hilarity knew no bounds.

Uraso was the first to tell the warriors who were with him of the surrender of the Kurabus. This acted like a stimulant to the assembly.

Later in the day, when peace and order had been restored, the Professor addressed them as follows: "Suros and I have enjoyed the dance and the joys you have had as much as you who have taken part in it. We are both so happy to know that you have become brothers. When we leave this village the Brabos will know that theyp. 63 are safe from all harm, and that their enemy is our enemy, and that if anyone in either of the tribes is injured it is the duty of all the tribes to come to his aid.

"You must also know that everyone has a right to his own property. If I should take anything from one of you I ought to be punished. Everyone should be made to know this. If a Saboro takes anything from an Osaga without his consent, the Saboros should be the first to punish him, and if they do not then the other tribes should punish him.

"We are bringing all the tools from our village, so that we can teach you how to make many wonderful things. We must find a suitable place to put up the machinery. Each tribe will send some of their people there to learn, and then the same things will be put up in your own lands. To-morrow we will go south to establish this place."

There was one thing which was a source of grief to the boys, and that was the herd of yaks, which had been left behind. John spoke to Uraso about it, and Sutoto, who always considered the boys first, suggested that he and Muro would take two dozen of the warriors and bring the herd back.

The boys would have enjoyed this outing with him, but the necessity of utilizing their services in the erection of the workshop and installing the machinery, was too urgent to permit it. The boys made it a condition, however, that Sutoto should be with them in the active work, as soon, as he returned.

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The Brabos regretted the leave-taking, but were delighted to learn from the Professor that he expected them to contribute a number of their men to accompany the expedition.

They passed through the Kurabus' village the next day, and the Professor called the Chief to him. "We want some of your men to accompany us, because we want to teach them the same as the other tribes."

This announcement was a most gratifying one, and he answered: "The White Chief has made us give him our hearts. My brother and my son will go with you."

Could anything have been more expressive of the intention of the Kurabus Chief? The lad was about the same age as the boys, and they led him out to the wagon, and showed him the wonderful things, and then began the efforts to find words to express their meaning, and enable them to understand each other.

It was an amusing thing to see the struggles of Blakely, who was whipping the warriors into a fighting force. Whenever Blakely was around the warriors would give him the military salute, as though they had been trained up to it all their lives.

"I have often wondered where the military salute of raising the hand up to the eyebrows comes from," said Ralph.

"Its origin dates from the commencement of the English army. During the tournaments of the Middle Ages, after the 'Queen of Beauty' was enthroned, the knights, who were to take partp. 65 in the sports of the day, marched past the dais upon which she sat, and, as they passed, shielded their eyes from the rays of her beauty. Thus the habit continued, only in a modified form, to this day."

Fig. 5. The Banyan Tree.

Uraso had charge of the advance, and when they halted that day it was under the spreading shade of a tree that was a marvel to the boys, although Blakely said there were plenty of them in the southern part of the island.

This was a tree, with a large central trunk, the branches of which spread out in all directions, to distances which were fully fifty feet on each side, and at irregular intervals were straight stems which shot down straight to the earth, the lowerp. 66 ends of which took root and thus served as supports for the long branches.

The boys went around, examining it from all sides. "What is it?" asked the boys.

"It is the banyan tree," answered John. "This is not the only kind which exhibits this peculiarity. What is called the screw pine also sends down shoots in the same way."

"Well, does each of these vertical stems become a tree of itself?"

"In the case of the mangrove these aerials, as they are called, carry up the sap, and form leaves at their upper ends, long after the main trunk dies."

"Do you mean that these drooping branches carry up the sap in the opposite direction, after they take root?"

"Yes; but that is not so remarkable, when it is understood that the buds of all trees are, in a measure, roots, and perform the same functions as roots. The plum tree, and many others, will form roots out of the buds, if the latter are buried in the earth."

"I have heard about the orchids, as I believe they are called. Do they act in the same way?"

"Not altogether; there are certain plants which live on other plants and get sustenance from them, just as some insects attach themselves to animals and live on them."

"There is one thing I could never understand," remarked Tom, "and that is, why the sap of the trees goes upwardly."

"I shall try and answer that question by askp. 67ing another. If you put the end of a piece of blotting paper in water, what causes the water to travel along to the other end?"

"That is just as much a mystery," he replied.

"But as you know that to be so, because you can see the process, it will enable me to explain the principle of the movement of the sap. A wick in a lamp becomes saturated and the oil travels upwardly as long as the upper end is burning; but as soon as the light is put out the oil ceases to creep toward the burned end."

"But in the case of a tree there is nothing to do that same thing."

"That is what the sun does. It shines on the leaf, and absorbs the sap, or portions of it, and the sap tries to move upwardly to again moisten the dried pores of the wood."

"I always thought the sap moved upwardly, because the tree was alive."

"The blotting paper and the wick are not alive, are they? Still, you see the same process going on. This is due to what is termed capillary attraction. Suppose you take two tubes, one larger than the other, each open at both ends, and stand them in water. The water will rise in the tubes above the surface of the water outside, and the height it rises depends on the inside diameters of the tubes. The smaller the bore the higher will the water go up. So w

ith the pores in the wood. They are very small, and thus the water moves to the greatest heights."

It was now a question of the greatest importance to set up their home at the most desirablep. 68 point. The Chiefs, together with John and Blakely, had numerous conferences with the Professor, on this subject. Many things had to be taken into consideration.

First: It should be located at a point convenient to all the tribes.

Second: It should be on or near the seacoast.

Fig. 6. Showing Capillary Attraction.

Third: Everything else being equal, the most desirable place would be in a section which had the richest soil.

These considerations were suggested to the Chiefs, and all agreed that the river separating the land of the Osagas and the Berees would be most suitable.

"I know a place," said Uraso, "where there is a running water like you have at the Cataract, and it is a little river that flows into the big river."

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"Does the water go down steep as we had it?"

"Yes," answered Uraso.

"Let us go there at once," responded the Professor.

Within two days the spot was reached, and at the sight of it all were pleased beyond measure.

"It is an ideal spot," exclaimed John. "The falls would be much better for our purpose than the Cataract, and it is close to the river. As the latter has ample depth for good-sized boats, and the sea is not more than three miles away, I judge, we are near enough to carry out the purpose of building the large vessel."

No conferences were required to make the decision. "Your judgment is to be commended," said the Professor to Uraso. "I do not think there is a better spot on the island."

"It suits me," said Blakely. "See the forest to the northwest? That is where I used to live. I know the boys will enjoy exploring it, and if they want excitement at any time, it is near enough to give them plenty of exercise."

The boys' eyes glistened with excitement at the news. "Won't we have fun over there, when we are fixed up!" said Will.

The Professor, addressing the Chiefs, said: "We do not need all the men we have here, as they will no doubt be needed for a time at their homes, in order to take care of the women and children. For the present I suggest that one-half of them be sent home, and the others remain here, and get the work started. This will take several moons, and we must then meet, unless wep. 70 hear from the Illyas sooner, and march against them."

The chiefs selected the ones which were to remain, and those instructed to return home were advised that later on they would be brought to the new village, to take their part in the work, and thus give an opportunity to all.

The greatest enthusiasm prevailed, and each tribe tried to outdo the other in generous acts. The example set by the Professor was, indeed, a lesson to these poor, ignorant creatures.

"Professor, what shall we do when the herd arrives? I think we had better fence in a field for them until they get used to the people and learn, to remain in this part of the country."

"I am glad that you suggested that, Ralph. You may build a fence to hold them, and I suggest that you use the space in the forks of the river."

"How many men shall I take for the purpose?"

"As Sutoto will likely be here to-morrow, or on the following day, you should take enough to do it quickly. Use at least fifty of them. Stut would be the one to call in for help."

"What kind of a fence shall we build?"

"I will make a sketch of the best form for the present. Have some of the men cut posts that have several forks like the sketch shows. Cut these off at lengths so that one fork will be about two feet up out of the ground, and the other five feet or a little more above. Set others to work cutting the long poles, which you will find along; the river bank."

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"How long should we make the poles?"

"Get them as long as you can; but make them, say, nine, eighteen or twenty-seven feet long. Then, at the same time, others can be digging the post holes, and make those eight feet apart and two feet deep. When the posts are set, the men with the poles can go along and lay them in place, just as I show."

Fig. 7. Sample of Island Fence.

The warriors took the bolos and sallied down to the stream. Ralph had made a mental calculation that at least one hundred posts would be required; the line of the fence was laid out and the holes marked. Muro took charge of the digging of the holes, and the men showed a wonderful aptitude for the work. During the afternoon the Professor wandered down to the line, and went among them, speaking words of cheer and commendation to all, so that he impressed his wonderful personality on every man.

Meanwhile Harry, with the other boys, was at work preparing a new water wheel. In this he had the aid of Uraso, as the director general of the men. Many hands make light work. In ap. 72 single day the wheel was ready for mounting. The dried lumber which had been brought over was a great advantage in making it, and in preparing the bridge below the falls on which the wheel was mounted.

This was completed on the evening of the second day, just as Sutoto came into view with the cattle. It was an amusing sight to see how they had brought over the herd.

Apollo was the name of the bull which had the terrific fight with the old bull. The first thing Sutoto did was to catch Apollo, and firmly secure him with hobbles. He was led in front, and the others driven along after him, the rest following meekly.

When Apollo was finally loosened, and allowed the freedom of the corral, he gave a roar, pawed up the ground and shook his head at the indignant treatment.

Their appearance meant milk and butter. There were thirty-five in the herd, of which ten were young animals, from four to six months of age, and six calves, the latter of which retarded the movement of the drove on the route.

Early in the morning the wheel was put up, and it began to turn, to the delight of the men.

"It would be better, Harry, to set up the sawmill at once, as I have directed a number of men to go to the forest with John, to cut the logs, and they will take the two teams along, so that by the time you are ready, the material will be here for you."

"What shall I cut first?"

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"Get out the scantlings for the house and shop, as the latter will be the first to receive our attention. We must have some place to put the things we have in the wagons."

It is remarkable how quickly a set of men, working under intelligent directions, can carry out a purpose. The logs began coming in shortly after noon, and in the morning the saw was at work, and it did not cease its operations for many a day.

The natives were so fascinated with it that they considered it a grief to leave it. But the Professor had other purposes in view. George and Tom were selected to make several looms, similar to the one brought from the Cataract. In this work, as in everything else, some particular ones were selected and instructed to do the work.

Ramie fiber was found in abundance, along the streams, and after a set of men had been instructed how to cut and gather it, they were kept at that work, while others were directed how to wet it down and rot the woody fiber and taught the manner in which the fiber was freed of the stalks.

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