CAMP OF THE SEMANGS
in this camp of the Smangs, the aged patriarch, who had praised the c sweetness ' of my salt, lifted up his voice and spoke in this wise.
'The jungles are growing empty now, Tuan^ and many things are changed since the days when I was a boy roaming through the woods of the Plus valley with my father and my two brothers. Now we live in these poor jungles of the Upper Prak valley, where the yams and roots are less sweet and less plentiful than in our former home, and where the fish-traps are often empty, and the game wild and scarce. Does the Tan ask why then we quitted the valley of the Plus, and the hills of Lgap, where once our camps were pitched ? The Tan knows many things, and he has visited the forests of which I speak, why then does he ask our reason ? It was not for love of these poor hunting grounds that we quitted the Plus valley, but because we loved our women-folk and our little ones. The Tan knows the tribe of Skai who have their homes in the Plus, but does he not know also that they entered into a compact with the Malays of Lsak to aid in hunting us through the woods and selling all of our people whom they could catch into slavery ? We of the forests had little fear of the Malays, for we could make blind trails that they could never follow, and could hide our camps in the shady places, where they could never find them. The Malays were wont, when they could trace us, to surround our camps at nightfall, and attack when the dawn was about to break, but many and many a time, when we were so surrounded, we made shift by night to escape from the circle which hemmed us in. How did we win out ? What then