by Captain W. E. Johns



5.     A CURIOUS ENCOUNTER  (Pages 67 – 76)


Worrals notices the palm fronds are tossing in the wind and is worried about the wind getting up.  She wants to get back and anchor down the aircraft.  Frecks is disappointed as she wanted to go on.  They agree to part and go their separate ways.  Frecks will explore further down the beach and Worrals asks her to be sure that she is back at the plane before sunset.  Worrals returns to the Seafarer aircraft “to take the precautions which she felt were necessary” and then sets about preparing a substantial meal.  She notices movement in the undergrowth and catches a native girl who she then feeds.  Winning the native girl’s trust, Worrals speaks to her in “the picturesque jargon common throughout the South Seas”.  “What name belong you?” she inquired.  “Mati name belong me”.  Mati was the girl who had been locked in the ship.  She says the Queen had put her there for punishment, as she had not been working hard enough.  She says the Queen was also responsible for the fresh weals on the girl’s arms and back.  “The Queen, said Mati, was a white woman.  There were many, many white women, and some brown ones, too.  How many she was unable to say, being unable to count; but she held up the fingers of her right hand so often that Worrals was convinced that this was simply wild exaggeration”.  Frecks has not returned and Worrals is getting seriously worried.  Worrals decides to go and look for her, leaving Mati at the plane as she won’t return to the far end of the island.  Worrals sets off along the beach.