It is for those who stay at home yet dream of foreign places that I have written this book, a record of one happy year spent among the simple, friendly cannibals of Atuona valley, on the island of Hiva-oa in the Marquesas. In its pages there is little of profound research, nothing, I fear, to startle the anthropologist or to revise encyclopedias; such expectation was far from my thoughts when I sailed from Papeite on the Morning Star. I went to see what I should see, and to learn whatever should be taught me by the days as they came. What I saw and what I learned the reader will see and learn, and no more.
na i te Atua! Farewell and God keep you!" the women cried as they stood beside the half-buried cannon that serve to make fast the ships by the coral bank. From the deck of the nearby Hinano came the music of an accordeon and a chorus of familiar words:
"I teie nie mahana Ne tere no oe e Hati Na te Moana!"
"Let us sing and make merry, For we journey over the sea!"
It was the Himene Tatou Arearea. Kelly, the wandering I.W.W., self-acclaimed delegate of the mythical Union of Beach-combers and Stowaways, was at the valves of the accordeon, and about him squatted a ring of joyous natives. "Wela ka hao! Hot stuff!" they shouted.
Suddenly Caroline of the Marquesas and Mamoe of Moorea, most beautiful dancers of the quays, flung themselves into the upaupahura, the singing dance of love. Kelly began "Tome! Tome!" a Hawaiian hula. Men unloading cargo on the many schooners dropped their burdens and began to dance. Rude squareheads of the fo'c'sles beat