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Publisher Description

It has often occurred to me that I ought to write the story of my adventures in Fiji in the old times, when, to the great bulk of the inhabitants, the white man was little more than a myth; when the people were as yet uncontaminated by contact with civilized races, many of whose vices they have since acquired; when they were dutifully following their long established customs, and faithfully adhering to the religions of their fathers. My acquaintance with kings, chiefs, priests, poets, ambassadors, soldiers, artisans, turtle-fishermen, and other classes of Fijians, made me familiar with many legends in prose and verse, containing ideas and pictures which must vanish for ever if not now preserved, for they belong to times which have long since faded into the thick darkness of the past.

If, in my old age, I can place on record some facts which may be received as a historical memento of the most numerous and interesting race of men in the South Pacific—a race which is rapidly disappearing under the dominion of the white man—I may not only afford some food for the speculation of ethnologists, but even amuse the present generation. To look into the mind and heart of the cannibal as that mind and heart thought and beat within him—while he lived his tropical life in his own land, climbing his own hills, sailing his own canoes, fighting his own battles with his own weapons, building and planting, courting and marrying in his own way, training up his children to tread in his own steps, and, finally, after a few dreamy yet not inactive years, passing away by the blue light of his own religion to his own Heaven—shall be the object of these reminiscences of a strange experience in my life, which seems to me now, as the events crowd upon me, like a dream; but not a half-forgotten one; for in early life the mind is highly receptive, and there are no impressions so deep and lasting as those of our youth.

April 3
Rectory Print