After Having Blossomed On The Surface Of The Water, The
Seed-Vessel Grows Larger And Heavier, And Sinks Slowly To The Bottom,
Where It Rots Until Its Seeds Become Free, And Are Either Eaten By Fishes
And Waterfowl, Or Form New Plants.
The natives had consequently to dive
for the ripe seed-vessels; and we observed them constantly disappearing
and reappearing on the surface of the water.
They did not see us until we
were close to them, when they hurried out of the water, snatched up some
weapons and ran off, leaving their harvest of Nymphaea seeds behind.
Brown had visited another lagoon, where he had seen an old man and two
gins; the former endeavoured to frighten him by setting the grass on
fire, but, when he saw that Brown still approached, he retired into the
forest. We took a net full of seeds, and I left them a large piece of
iron as payment. On returning to the camp, we boiled the seeds, after
removing the capsule; but as some of the numerous partitions had
remained, the water was rendered slightly bitter. This experiment having
failed, the boiled seeds were then (Unclear:)tied with a little fat,
which rendered them very palatable and remarkably satisfying. The best
way of cooking them was that adopted by the natives, who roast the whole
seed-vessel. I then made another trial to obtain the starch from the
bitter potatoes, in which I succeeded; but the soup for eight people,
made with the starch of sixteen potatoes, was rather thin.
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