The White WaterfallJames Francis Dwyer / Actions & Adventure
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Harold Lawson and the Online DistributedProofreading Team
THE INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURE LIBRARY
THREE OWLS EDITION
THE WHITE WATERFALL
An Adventure Story
BY JAMES FRANCIS DWYER
TO L.G.D. and G.M.D.
THAT'S THE WAY TO HEAVEN, THAT'S THE WAY TO HEAVEN, THAT'S THE WAY TO HEAVEN OUT OF BLACK FERNANDO'S HELL.
It is perhaps inadvisable to mix fact with fiction, but, it appears,some reference to certain portions of The White Waterfall that mightstrain the belief of the average reader will not be out of place. In thewonderful islands of the Pacific many things happen that seem improbableto the minds of those who dwell close to the heart of civilization. Themysterious Isle of Tears is not altogether a dream. There are severalislands in Polynesia that have been looked upon from time immemorial asislands of the dead. These places are shunned by the islanders, and thecenturies have invested them with the same atmosphere of broodingmystery that Professor Herndon and his party felt when they landed uponthe silent isle where the Wizards of the Centipede performed their weirdrites without interference from the outside world.
Nor is the Vermilion Pit created out of thin air. The savage has usedmany startling methods to separate the born warrior from the coward, andthe author has seen a place just as wonderful as the pit, where theyoung men of the tribe were tested in the same manner as that relatedin this story. The cunning savage has always thought it inadvisable topick his fighting men till their courage had been thoroughly tested, andin dull days of peace the headmen of the tribes racked their brains todiscover nerve-shaking ordeals to try the daring of the growing youth.The safety of the tribe depended upon the valour of the fighting line,and it would have been an inexcusable blunder to put the nervous ones inthe front rank.
The strange stone structures similar to the one upon which Holman andVerslun narrowly escaped being offered up as sacrifices to the Centipedeare to be found in many islands of the Pacific at the present day. Inthe Tongan, Caroline, and Cook groups these peculiar stone ruins remainas evidence of the existence of an ancient people of superiorintelligence to the islanders of to-day. As to the meaning or use ofthese structures we are entirely in the dark. The natives of thesegroups know nothing concerning them, and the Polynesian builder in thatdark past was too busy clubbing and eating his neighbour to writehistories. Scientists are in doubt, as in the case of the great ruins atMetalanim, whether they were built as sacrificial altars or as monumentsto ambitious chiefs, and there are no records to enlighten us. But theserelics are convincing proofs that the islands have been inhabited formany hundreds of years, and we are left to conjecture regarding theorigin and history of the people.
The Dance of the Centipede, which Holman and Verslun witnessed in theLong Gallery, can be seen to-day by any tourist who leaves the beatenpaths. Every missionary to the islands can tell of devil dances thattake place in secluded groves, and in which, to his great disgust, hisconverts often take part. It takes time to turn the savage from his oldbeliefs. Although the South Seas constitute the last fortress ofromance, and a mention of the coral atolls immediately conjures up avision of palms and rice-white beaches, the sensitive person senses thedark and bloody past when the wizard men were the rulers, and deathstalked in the palm groves.
J.F.D.New York, March, 1912.
I. The Song of the Maori II. The Professor's Daughters III. A Knife From the Dark IV. The Storm V. I Make a Promise VI. The Isle of Tears VII. The PitVIII. The Ledge of Death IX. Into the Valley of Echoes X. A Midnight Alarm XI. Kaipi Performs a Service XII. The Devil DancersXIII. Tombs of Silence XIV. Back to the Camp XV. A Day of Skirmishing XVI. The Stone TableXVII. Beneath the CentipedeXVIII. Barbara's Messenger XIX. Leith Scores XX. The Black Kindergarten XXI. Together Again XXII. The White WaterfallXXIII. The Wizard's Seat XXIV. The Way to Heaven
THE WHITE WATERFALL