Palm Tree Island

Palm Tree Island

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Excerpt: ...higher than was necessary. The idea that came into my head was to put a bandage about the trunk, and so keep the fire within bounds, and when we considered of the best material to use for this purpose, we decided that clay would be the most serviceable, because it would not only not burn itself, but it could be easily kept sodden. Having chosen our tree, therefore, we clapped a thick bandage of wet clay round the trunk about three feet from the ground, and lit a fire all round the tree, and let it burn very fiercely for a time, and then we raked it away and chipped off the charred wood with our axes; and having again wetted the clay, we kindled the fire again, so that it would burn away the fresh surface of wood that we had exposed. We continued thus until we had thus burnt and chipped away a deep incision all round the tree, and meanwhile we had debated whether we should make our canoe on the top of the slope (in which case we should let the tree fall on to a little patch of fairly level ground on the west side of it), or whether we should cause the tree to fall down the slope over the cliff on the western side, and so to the beach. Billy declared for the former course, saying that if we let the tree go over the cliff it would assuredly be smashed, and the trunk once split would be useless for our purpose. In answer to this I said that, however vexatious it would be to have to fell another tree, how much more vexatious would it be if any mischance happened to our canoe when we had finished it and were bringing it down to the beach! In the one case we should have lost merely the time and labour of felling the tree; in the other, there would be the additional loss of the longer time and greater labour expended on the canoe. Billy agreed with this reasoning, so towards the finish we built all the fire on the land side of the tree, until with a little hauling and shoving it snapped off and toppled with a mighty crash over the cliff. We ran down to more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 189 x 246 x 7mm | 231g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236712951
  • 9781236712950

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