I proceeded up the middle of this sparkling stream. The streambed was rocky and uneven. The water level varied from knee to waist-high, but I never fell. After about half an hour I began to shout periodically, hoping to attract the attention of the friendlies. At about 9:00 am some movement on the right bank attracted my attention. I stopped dead in my tracks. Gradually, a man emerged from behind a tree. He carried a weapon, either a spear or bow & arrow, which he lowered. I felt that he had drawn a bead on me from behind his cover. I raised my hand and waved, smiled, and tried to look friendly. At the same time, I slid my right hand close to my right hip and the .45 pistol in its holster.
The scene was a bit like Gary Cooper in ‘High Noon’, but instead of a dusty street, I had a riverbed. I advanced very cautiously, gun hand at the ready, all the while smiling and trying constantly to appear relaxed and friendly. As I reached the bank, which rose three or four feet above the stream, the native extended his hand and helped me climb up. We went back into the trees a few feet. There on the ground lay a freshly killed wild pig, and nearby was a young native woman. My host indicated I should sit down, which I did. He proceeded to dress the pig. He lay it on its back and chopped it open through the chest cavity, using a type of stone axe. I noticed that the woman had a bunch of ripe bananas in a fibre bag. I indicated by my munching actions that I was hungry and pointed to her bananas. She was very shy and giggled a little. My host, stern and businesslike, continued with his task. I was fascinated by an action whereby he sopped up the pig's blood from the chest, using spongy leaves. He then squeezed the blood into a bamboo tube that was three or four inches in diameter. I would see more of the bamboo tube later. Soon the pig dressing was completed, and we were all ready to depart the area. My host (whose name I later learned was Tootaroo) gathered his weapons and, in the fashion of New Guinea chivalry, loaded the pig on his wife's shoulders. We got down into the stream and walked on for about fifteen minutes. We came to a path on the left side, where the bank was almost level with the water. Tootaroo and the woman started up the path, and I tagged along behind them. Suddenly, Tootaroo turned and pointed for me to go back down the stream. I motioned to say that I wanted to go with them. We argued in sign language - "I go with you - No, you don't ! - Yes, I do" ! After a couple of exchanges, he turned away and continued up the path. I hesitated, then followed behind them. It was obvious that he did not wish me to come along. For the next half hour we plodded on together quietly. Then, he stopped and shouted, as if to warn someone ahead that he was bringing home a stranger. My heart sank. What should I do? I considered my options: I could leave them and return to my loneliness in the jungle, or I could continue to an unknown situation, but at least one offering human company. I reasoned that if I left them, they would still know that I was close by - The thought of food and hopefully friendly natives won the debate.
Apprehensively, I followed. Shortly, we arrived at a small, level clearing. I observed the remains of an old campfire and a strange-looking stick lying in the fork of another shorter stick, stuck upright into the ground. Tootaroo started a fire and cooked some pig meat in a cylindrical earthen vessel. Later, he also placed some whole bananas in the ashes and baked them. In half an hour the feast was ready. Bananas never tasted so good. Meanwhile, I was aware of several faces appearing from behind the bushes and foliage. Soon the faces materialised into the bodies of men, women, and children. The newcomers approached me cautiously. I remained on my best behaviour and did nothing to excite them. Curious about my possessions, the natives poked in my pockets. I carried two compass, parachute cord, ammunition, and a small can which had contained my field bandage. I had on my cloth helmet, split in the crash landing, perched on my head, with my flying goggles attached and intact. I must have been a bedraggled looking curiosity. More and more natives appeared and disappeared, seeming to bring a new audience each time. Twice, obvious chiefs appeared and, from a comfortable distance, looked me over. The chiefs wore beaded bands around their foreheads, and all of the men appeared to have little sticks in their noses and ears. Their head-dress differed from the bushy type worn by the natives in the Port Moresby area. These natives wore their hair twisted in many small, tight braids. Each time a chief or newcomer appeared, I was frightened that he might return with Japanese soldiers. During the afternoon, I tried to determine the meaning of the strange sticks, the campfire, and a small shelter open on all sides. Pointing to these items, I questioned the natives in sign language. One man held up three fingers and pointed to me, as if to say that three men like me had been there. I made signs asking, "Did they go this way (toward Japanese-held areas), or that way (Allied territory)?" The native pointed down toward the ground. The three men who were like me had not left at all; they had died or been killed ! As twilight approached, the audience, which had never exceeded ten at a time, had dwindled to five. By implicit invitation I accompanied Tootaroo, his mate, and several others to two nearby huts. Apparently, they did not consider me a threat and so were taking me in for the night. It was an interesting family affair. I believe these were two families, consisting of three men (including one chief, Tootaroo, and a new acquaintance named Sego), two or three women (including Tootaroo's and Sego's mates), and the latter's young son. The women prepared dinner - more pig, yams baked in ashes, and lima-type beans cooked in blood. The women also got out the bamboo tube containing the
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