« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
pleasant that no one carries an umbrella or stays at home because of it. There are flowers everywhere you look, more wonderfully colored and perfumed than you could possibly imagine. They grow up into the trees; they creep over the ground; they cover the houses. I remember sitting up all one night, when I was a child, to see a rare plant bloom. It was in a flower-pot and had been cared for most tenderly, eagerly watched by our whole neighborhood. It was called a night-blooming cereus. At Honolulu, I found a hedge of those plants, a mile long and higher than
fruits, and so many entire y new kinds, that one becomes utterly bewi ered. Birds! Some of them so tiny that you have to look sharp to see them, and some of them delightfully unafraid; they dart about over
my head, and a mass of gorgeous blossoms.
Did you ever have all the bananas and cocoanuts you wanted? In Hawaii, they grow thirty different kinds of bananas, and they are all better than the ones we buy at home, because they are allowed to ripen on the plants in the sunshine. You see cocoanuttrees everywhere -tall, slender palms waving
"CHINESE SCHOOL-GIRLS DOING A NATIVE DANCE"
gracefully above the tops of the other trees. Then there are date-palms, and the trees that grow a delicious melon with a pink meat called papayas. At one place, I looked out over a large valley completely carpeted with pineapple plants. There are so many new ways in which they serve the old familiar
your head, singing an endless variety of songs, almost as gorgeously colored as the flowers they hover over. The same can be said of the butterflies and other winged insects, as far as colors go; and the best part of it is that you can go anywhere among the tangled growth of ferns and vines, hunting flowers or birds' eggs, or butterflies, with never a thought concerning poisonous snakes and insects. It was this that made me so sure I had found the children's paradise at last.
Little streams gurgle down from the snowcapped mountain tops into cool, shady glens, and the children have such fun playing in them, much as the little boy is doing in the picture. The streams and the waters of the bays are full of marvelously colored fish. Perhaps you live near an aquarium. If so, you may have seen some of the strangely shaped and tinted fish from these waters. The natives have an old myth which tells how an angry god condemned a lesser god to imprisonment beneath Diamond Head, which is a barren promontory, thrust out at one end of Honolulu Harbor—about the first thing you sight in approaching the island of Oahu. From his cave below the sea, the god has to catch the fish and paint them in gay colors—a never-ending task.
The water is always delightfully warm, and the boys and girls of the islands learn to be as much at home in the water as they are on the land. They become remarkably skilful in handling their surf-boards and outrigger canoes.
The islands offer you variety in everything except climate, and you can secure even that, if you want to climb the old volcanic peaks where the snow lies. The variety they offer in children is most extensive. First, there are the Kanakas, or natives, with their brown skins, soft brown eyes, and flashing white teeth. They love to laugh and sing and garland themselves with flowers. Then we see children from that other Flowery Kingdom, Japan, in their quaint and many-colored kimonos. Just as interesting, though not so gaily colored, are the garments the Chinese children wear. There are black-haired, black-eyed children from Portugal, fairhaired, blue-eyed English children, and lots of our own American children.
Life is much the same as ours, in many ways, for the children of the islands. They
live in regular houses, and have to learn their table-manners, too. Then they have to go to school, even if there are such beautiful places to play in, but school seems more interesting there. I took a picture, one day, of some Chinese school-girls doing a native dance. The boys and girls go to Sunday-school, and now and then are taken on picnics, just such as we have at home. If you don't think they enjoy them, look at the picture I took one day when they were loading several trolley-cars with eager children. They call the islands “The Playground of the Pacific,” and it is just that. The grownups enjoy this paradise of Hawaii as much as the children. They all take time to play a bit, and even when they go about their work, they seem to find it a joy because of their wonderful surroundings.