He Was Very Much Annoyed, As He Knew That It Was Cut Down By Some
Of Our Party, Contrary To Regulations.
According to government laws,
to cut down a coconut tree in New Guinea is a crime, and a serious
one at that.
Even when attacking a hostile village it is strictly
forbidden, though one may loot houses, kill pigs, out down betel-nut
palms, and even kill the inhabitants. But the coconut-palm is sacred
in their eyes.
However, the government has an eye to the future of the country,
as, besides being the main article of food in a country whose food
supply is limited, the coconut tree means wealth to the country,
when it gets more settled and the natives are able to do a large
business in copra with the white traders.
That evening, when in camp, we discovered the culprit to be no less a
personage than the sergeant of Walsh's police, who was in command of
the shore party, his sole excuse for breaking the law being that he
thought it too much trouble to climb the tree after the coconuts. When
the whole of the police force had been drawn up in line Monckton,
as leader of the expedition, cut the red stripes from the blue tunic
of the sergeant, and he was reduced to the ranks.
After a rough voyage, there being a good swell on, we arrived at
Walsh's camp on the mainland, opposite the Mangrove Islands, and
here we found Clark, whom I had met before in Samarai.
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