National Geographic : 1901 Dec
A VOYAGE FROM SAN warmly welcomed. I lay down and slept till near dinner time. Then I dined in state on the portico with Tati and his two sons. Our dinner was of soup, fish, dressed in native style, with cocoanuts, shrimps, and I forget what else. The manner of these sons was very good, and to their father it was most respectful. I noticed a pretty cover on a table, which Tati said was a chief's mat. He offered to get one for me. Tati, whom I had met in Washington, is the son of a native mother and a white father, and his family, a very ancient one, is still one of the most prominent, as he is one of the best edu cated and most intelligent, of the island ers. He mentioned to me that the chiefs were much at war in his great-grand father's time, and that the object being to get the heads of their enemies, these were cut off and buried by the relatives of the dead in some secret place. Tati said also that the heads of some of his own family were buried in a place in the mountains, whose position he only ap proximately knew, the secret of the exact locality being kept by some old member of the clan. I have heard from others that his great-grandfather had large ideas of housekeeping. There is on the island a pitcher plant holding two or three tablespoonfuls of water; and, according to tradition, the old chief oc casionally had a thousand men or so marched up in the morning, each with a pitcher plant stuck in the right ear, and the emptied contents formed the great man's bath. After dinner I opened a topic which proved interesting to us all, the " super natural"' of the island. We talked for two hours, and I heard of the " fire walking." One of Tati's sons said that he, at a fire-walk given in Tahiti three years before, having on shoes, had fol lowed the barefooted priest over the " red-hot " stones, and that his shoes were not burned in the least. FRANCISCO TO TAHITI 42 I July 12.-This morning I started at 8.30 and drove to Papeete, stopping for a bath in a stream, and getting in at about 2 ; breakfasted at the execrable restaurant, went to the ship, and then came to Apouhara Salmon's, a son of Tati's, where a room had been pro cured for me. Here I spent the after noon. Just opposite is a large open space where the natives congregate with drums and sing " himinies " in prepara tion for the fete, and the place is not silent ! Apouhara had gone out in the morning to meet me, but missed me on the way. I saw his wife, who is the daughter of the queen of a neighboring island, and Miss Salmon, Tati's sister, a very intelligent and agreeable lady. July r3.-Drove out alone this morn ing to the Fatoua stream, described in Loti's "Rarahu" * as the bathing place. The pools he mentions are gone, I am told, but I drove up the side road along the bank of the stream for at least two miles, and came to a long, deep pool, shaded by trees and high hills. It is about 200 feet long and over head in the middle. The water is just cool enough, an ideal bath. As we rode back, I got some fresh cocoanuts from the trees, and drank all the water from one of them, eating part of the snowy cup. Oh, the pleasant memory ! I came back to Apouhara's, when I met T1ati's son, who had taken part in the former fire-walking ceremony. I asked him to breakfast with me at the " Hotel du Louvre," which he did. There I saw a copy of the Wide World of June I, containing an illustrated ac count of the recent fire-walking cere mony in Honolulu, conducted by the old native priest, Papa-Ita, a man of about sixty years of age, who is in town, and to whom young Tati introduced me. He is not the high priest (who lives in one of the Windward Islands), but a disciple, and he says he will give an ex *Pierre Loti, "Rarahu," 1880, reprinted 1882 under the title " Le Marriage de Loti."