The Sago Palm.
they do not shrink, require no paint or varnish, and are not a quarter the expense. When carefully split and shaved smooth, they are formed into light boards, with pegs of the bark itself, and are the foundation of the leaf-covered boxes of Goram. All the inseet-boxes I used in the Moluccas were thus made at Amboyna; and when covered with stout paper inside and out, are strong, light, and secure the insect-pins remarkably well. The leaflets of the sago folded and tied side by side on the smaller midribs form the a atap a or thatch in universal use, while the product of the trunk is the staple food of some hundred thousands of men.
When sago is to be made, a full-grown tree is selected just before it is going to flower. It is cut down close to the ground, the leaves and leaf-stalks cleared away, and a broad strip of the bark taken off the upper side of the trunk. This exposes the pithy matter, which is of a rusty color near the bottom of the tree, but higher up pure white, about as hard as a dry apple, but with woody fibres running through it about a quarter of an inch apart. This pith is cut or broken down into a coarse powder by means of a tool constructed for the purposea a club of hard and heavy wood, having a piece
of sharp quartz rock firmly embedded into its blunt end and projecting about half an inch. By successive blows of this, narrow strips of the pith are cut away, and fall down into the cylinder formed by the bark. Proceeding steadily on, the whole trunk is cleared out, leaving a skin not more than half an inch in thickness. This material is carried away (in baskets made of the sheathing bases of the leaves) to the nearest Water, where a washing-machine is put up, which is composed , almost entirely of the sago-tree itself. The large sheathing bases of the leaves form the troughs, and the fibrous covering from the leaf-stalks of the young cocoa-nut the strainer. Water is poured on the mass of pith, which is kneaded and pressed against the strainer till the starch is all dissolved and has