Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/384

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who crawl. And he says, Take me over! I will sit under the tawan-trees, and you will eat making the fruit fall, and I will eat on the ground. So they said, Very well! you have argued against us, but come along; and he gets on board. Then the Weru says to the Crab, Friend, sit up this way near me; and he crawls along and sits near him. Then the Weru says to him, Friend, while we two are sitting here, don't shuffle about, lest you make a hole in the canoe. (The canoe was the leaf of a giant arum.) And he says, Yes, I know all about that. But the Weru keeps an eye upon him, and if he shuffles with his claws the Weru says to him, Friend, I keep telling you, don't be shuffling about; eh! you will soon have made a hole in the canoe! But he says, Eh! Friend, I know all about it. The wind had come down into their sail, and they were already in the open sea; and the Crab shuffled about, and his claw pierced right through the canoe, and the water came pouring quickly in. (In another version the Crab was set to bale the canoe, and scratched a hole.) And they cried out, Be quick! our canoe has a hole in it, the Crab had trodden it through. And they said, Well, let us leap overboard; and they all of them leapt overboard, and the Crab leapt overboard, and sank right out of sight to the bottom of the sea; but they all of them swam, and he crawled along on the bottom. And they all swam and came out upon the shore, but not he you may be sure. Then they said, Fellows! are we all men alive or not? And some one said, No, there is one poor fellow our friend missing. So they said, Ah! but who will swim after him, and dive in search of him? And they spoke to one, and he refused, and to another, and he refused; then said the Weru (eulabeornis), Here am I, I will go and look for him. So she swims, and dives, and does not find him, and comes up to the surface; and dives again, and goes on diving, and her body turns black, and dives, and dives, and dives, and her eyes turn red. But the Crab had already crawled up ashore before them all; and there he was quietly sitting. And they were on the sand in a clump of wislawe, when the Weru swam up; and they said, Hallo! Have you seen him, or not? And she says, Ah!