OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
as our insectivorous wild flowers trap the insects on which they partly subsist. The tree is called the cannibal tree.
a As Mrs. Rowan describes it, its appearance may be imagined to resemble a mammoth pineapple, which often reaches to the height of eleven feet. Its foliage is composed of a series of broad, boardlike leaves, growing in a fringe at its apex. Instead, however, of standing erect, as does the little green tuft at the top of a pineapple, these leaves droop over and hang to the ground. In the largest specimens they are often from fifteen to twenty feet long, and strong enough to bear the weight of a man. Hidden under these curious leaves is to be found a peculiar growth of spearlike formation, arranged in a circle, and which perform the same function for the plant as do pistils for flowers. They cannot, however, abide to be touched.
a Among the natives of Australia there is a tradition that in the old days of the antipodean wilds this tree was worshiped under the name of the a devila s tree/ Its wrath was thought to be greatly dreaded. As soon as its huge leaves began to rise restlessly up and down, its worshipers interpreted the sign as meaning that a sacrifice must be made to appease its anger. One among their number was % therefore chosen, stripped of his raiment and
The natives eat the fruit bat and consider it very good food. It is somewhat larger than a rat, with a spread of wing that will measure three and one-half to five feet. At night it makes serious inroads upon banana and other fruit plantations and keeps up an unearthly screeching, which is peculiarly trying to a nervous person. During the day it sleeps hanging head downward from the roof of a cave or the branches of a tree in some dense forest; and under many of these roosts there are vast deposits of rich guano. Prof. Worcester thus describes a visit that he made to a bat roost:
a Meanwhile we had an opportunity every evening to watch a remarkable sight. In the little island of Santa Cruz, just in front of the town, there was a roost of huge fruit-bats, which measured from three to four and a half feet across their wings.
a For about an hour, just after sundown, a dense black column of the creatures whirled up out of the trees to a great height, and then spread out as they scattered to their feeding grounds. Many of them came straight toward us, and we admired their easy, rapid
A VILLAGE) IN THE WOODS.
Every one is surprised to find, in many of the poorest class of Filipino houses, furniture of a superior, and often even of an elegant character, as will be observed in the easy chairs, ornamental stool and other domestic articles represented in this photograph.
driven by shouting crowds up one of its leaves to the apex. All went well with the victim until the instant that he stepped into the center of the plant and on the so-called pistils, when the boardlike leaves would fly together and clutch and squeeze out the life of the intruder. By early travelers in Australia it is affirmed that the tree would then hold its prey until every particle of his flesh had fallen from his bones, after which the leaves would relax their hold and the gaunt skeleton fall heedlessly to the ground. In this way did its worshipers seek to avert disaster and to still the demon spirit among them.a
The pitcher plant loves swamps and stagnant places, where it grows in great luxuriance; and it is really a friend of man, for the water that it collects in its reservoir is chemically pure and always cool, while that which moistens its roots may contain deadly poisons.
The fruit-bat of the Philippine Islands is perhaps the most interesting of the species. It lives on fruits exclusively and has therefore a less offensive odor than those which subsist on insects.
flight until they pitched suddenly into the neighboring trees, hung themselves head down, and began to squall and scramble about in search of food. Early in the morning they returned to their roost, and then the whirling black column descended and disappeared among the trees. We decided to get a nearer look at them.
a The bat roost proved to be an impenetrable mangrove swamp, where we could not get at it. I finally managed to find a dozen of the creatures that had strayed off by themselves, and were hanging in a tree near the edge of the swamp. I killed three, and had a great time fishing them out of the deep, black mud. They were neither handsome nor fragrant, and had any one then told me that the day was coming when I would not only eat fruit-bats, but be very thankful to get them, I should have been incredulous.a In a subsequent chapter the Professor relates his experience at bat-eating. He says:
a The padre finally insisted that he was going to eat fruit-bats, and he did. We held out for a few more meals, but eventually found ourselves starved down to it; for our stomachs declined to