National Geographic : 1921 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Ralph Stock PASCAL, A PAUMOTAN NATIVE WHO I'ROVil() A \WIZARI) AS A COOK, BUT A SNAR AND A DELUSION AS A PEARL FISHER "He could produce savory messes from a kerosene tin, remain under water three min utes, discourse entertainingly in pidgin-English, French, German, Marquesan, and Paumotan, and secure a ship's provision without the annoying triviality of paying for them." "Monsieur." An enormous Paumotan native stood in the doorway smiling be nignly. He would accompany us. He would cook and he would dive. PASCAL PROVES A REMARKABLE FORAGER We sailed that evening, the deck being littered with green bananas, live chickens tied' by a leg to bulwark stanchions, a rabbit, firewood, a stove composed of a kerosene tin half filled with earth, and Pascal. There was apparently nothing that this extraordinary man could not do. He knew every island of the Marquesas like the palm of his hand. He could produce savory messes from a kerosene tin, re main under water three minutes, dis course entertainingly in pidgin-English, French, German, Marquesan, and Pau motan, and secure a ship's provisions without the annoying triviality of paying for them. "But whom do we owe for all this?" I asked him, eying the menagerie that surrounded us. Pascal smiled and waved a hand. "Rabbit no money," he informed us; "chickens, bananas, all no money. I get um. Here surely is a solution of the "high cost-of-living" problem. Take Pascal to the profiteering areas and the thing is done. Dawn revealed to us Tahuata close abeam. Each island of this group seems more lovely than the last: waterfalls pouring 3,000 feet to the sea, blow-holes at the base of rocky cliffs that spray the air with spindrift and miniature rain bows, deep bays with coral beaches at their head. But the beauties of nature were not for us on this occasion; we were pros pecting. It was a serious business. There might be money in it. After this I can scarce believe that in Paradise itself the white man will not be dogged by the curse of opportunism.