Here, growing in the rich, red soil, was a cluster of oap a thin-stemmed, dark-green-leaved plant about three feet in height. Kusis pulled one by the roots, and twisted it round and round his left hand; a thick, white and sticky juice exuded from the bark. "It 'sickens' the fish very quickly," he said, "quicker than the futu nut.
A quarter of a mile from our camp I found just what I wanted three or four young futu saplings lying on the ground, torn up by the roots. Taking two ot the best, I stripped off the branches, and returned to my companion, who was still at work on the raft, relashing its timbers wherever needed.
In after years, in other islands of the Pacific, when I saw the fearful and needless havoc created by traders and natives using vile dynamite cartridges and so destroying thousands of young fish by one explosion, I tried hard to get them to use either the futu nut or the oap plant, both of which under many names are known to the various peoples of Eastern Polynesia.
We set to at once with a good will Yorke overhauling the cane fastenings with which the great bamboos were lashed together, whilst I went along the beach in search of some young futu trees, the wood of which is soft when green, but dries hard, and could be easily worked, even by such a tool as a sheath knife.
But, a few days later, after our black friends had wandered off to other pastures, I was delighted to find that there were still plenty of fish in the pools. Kusis laughed. "Futu is good, but we of Kusaie do not use it we have oap which is stronger and better. Come, I will show you some oap growing, and to-morrow you shall see how good it is."