National Geographic : 1943 Jan
War Finds Its Way to Gilbert Islands Gilbertese in Canoes Swarm about a Visiting Schooner When not in use, the woven mat sails are rolled neatly on the outriggers, for there is no room for them in the slender hulls. some projecting part of the canoe, will resist the furious struggles of the biggest shark. The heavy-barreled tiger requires a 30 yard circle for doubling. For this reason a brown swimmer provided with a knife will face without fear the attack of a tiger shark. I have seen a native neatly avoid the rush of one of these brutes, and as it flashed by, rip its belly open for seven feet. A Gilbertese of my acquaintance stood one day fishing with his brother, waist-deep on a sandbank half a mile offshore. Suddenly screaming, "A shark, a shark!" this brother disappeared in a welter of blood and foam. The survivor returned home and brooded for a day on his loss, then arose and, taking a spear of ironwood, waded out to the fatal sandbank. He knew well that a shark al ways returns to a lucky feeding ground. Presently the enemy launched its tre mendous attack, but the man was prepared. Side-stepping as it passed, he gave it the spear point in its belly. When it circled and came back, he did even better; straight for the gaping jaws he aimed his thrust. The spear passed down the shark's gullet and a fathom deep into its entrails. The man was hurled aside unhurt; the shark, impaled, raged a while and died. The Road to Paradise Hauled ashore, the brute was slit open, and entombed within it, still half digested, were found the remains of the man it had devoured the day before. These were carefully col lected and given decent burial. Thus was a brother's death avenged and his path made easy to the Land of Shades.