OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
SEA VIEW NEAR DAGUPAN, ISLAND OF LUZON.
friends, the newt and the chacon. During the dry season the branches of certain trees are illuminated by myriads of brilliant fireflies, which assemble and flicker in the midst of the foliage like moths around the flame of a candle. The effect of their darting in and out among the branches, like so many brilliant electric sparks, is very beautiful.
Immense bats, measuring up to five feet from tip to tip of their wings, infest many portions of the islands. They are caught for the value of their beautiful, soft skins, which find a ready sale among those who appreciate their good qualities. Bat-shooting is therefore one of the sports of the country, though it does not seem to be highly appreciated by the American soldiers, judging by the following extract from a letter written by a Missouri boy:
a You should see the bats! You remember Gyp, my black, shaggy terrier dog. Well, if you imagine his ears cut off and the kind expression he used to have changed into that of a fiend, and then put two enormous leather wings on him, stretching five feet from tip to tip, you have the bat. Now imagine 200 of these hanging from the boughs of one tree! It makes me think of wonderland. I look for one to swoop down and take me off to some enchanted castle. Lizards five feet long are here. I havena t had an opportunity to examine one, but the men have seen several and I have heard them.
a While in the mountains I saw the flower that eats flies. When it is in bloom the insects are eaten or absorbed as fast as caught, but when it gets old and its functions cease the flies can be found in its cup. It has a lid, but I dona t think it needs it to keep the flies in, as they would soon get stuck.a
The pitcher plant, to which the writer refers, has many varieties, some of which are found in nearly every latitude. Its peculiarity in the destruction of flies and insects has been the source of many curious and weird stories and legends, which are almost entirely pure fancy.
The insects are lured into the flowers by the honey deposited there, and are drowned in the artificial reservoir of water from which the plant derives its name. In some of these plants the honey is very abundant, being secreted in numerous drops on the inside surface of the flower, and also running in a trail, when the leaf is in full vigor, down the margin of the wing to the ground, the whole forming a most effectual lure to honey-loving insects. The pitcher plant is a native of China and the East Indies,
and also has its home in the islands adjacent to the Asiatic Continent. In these regions it reaches its greatest perfection. The pitcher, or flower, is provided writh a lid which shuts by means of a very sensitive membranous hinge. When insects come in contact with the membranes, the lid closes and they are imprisoned within the flower, where many are drowned in the reservoir of water. This has led to the fancy that the flower fed upon insects, and the fancy was enlarged upon by certain highly imaginative writers, until they produced a man-eating tree in the wilds of Australia; others, taking up the fancy, located the tree in Borneoa always in a region that had not been explored, and consequently no one could deny the story. It was asserted that this tree was provided with long tentacles, or arms, like the devil-fish, and that whenever any animal or person approached within reach of these arms they suddenly became greatly excited, trembling violently and swaying back and forth until the victim was well within their grasp, when they suddenly closed upon him and crushed his life out, licking up the blood like a savage beast. It was a story calculated to make one dream of horrors for weeks. It had a great run through the newspapers, and found its way into several sensational books, where it was appropriately illustrated. But it had no other foundation than the comparatively harmless pitcher plant.
It may interest the reader to see the latest description of the terrible a cannibal tree,a and we therefore copy it. Every writer amplifies upon what has previously been written on this subject, adding new horrors from the stock of his own imagination, and otherwise enlarging the picturesque features of the enticing fable. Any person who has traveled a little in out-of-the-way regions can become famous by giving the newspapers a new version of the cannibal tree. Here is the latest :
a Mrs. Ellis Rowan, of Melbourne, Australia, who is at present in New York, and who has traveled more extensively in the cannibal country than any other European woman, has told recently of the existence in Australia of a forest tree which is perhaps one of
the most wonder-
CHURCH AT MALOLOS, ISLAND OF LUZON.
This church was fortified and used as a prison by the Filipinos during their occupancy of Malolos.