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Wonders of the Deep: The Williamson Submarine Expedition, the silk cotton tree, the native pig and the culture and work ethic of natives on the Bahamian Island of New Providence.

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At Nassau (continued)

A specimen of the enormous roots of the silk cotton tree

At Nassau can be seen one of the finest examples in the tropical world of the silk cotton tree. This tree possesses enormous wide spreading roots, over one hundred and fifty feet in circumference, and these will afford convenient shelter during a storm for no fewer than sixty people. According to the native religious beliefs the silk cotton tree is regarded as being the dwelling place of spirits.

In Nassau the native pig, which is small but very spry and energetic, is as ubiquitous as its brother in Ireland. It is quite a family pet, and is at liberty to run about wherever it pleases, but it is not allowed in the house.

Unquestionably, the physique of the Bahama natives is very fine, particularly that of the men. The natives - the term “negro" applied to the black people of the West Indies is strongly resented by them - are exceedingly industrious. Early dawn will find them hard at work in their fields, where they will labour steadily during the whole of the day. They are extremely fond of endearing expressions. For instance, no black woman will wish anyone “Good morning" without attaching the words “my dear”. Another interesting characteristic of the natives is their fondness for singing. It does not matter what work they may be engaged in, one or more of them will be singing away right heartily. Sometimes a ditty is improvised by one of the workers, the alternate lines being sung by the others, with a swinging rhythmic chorus at the end. It has been said that they have wonderfully true ears, and are very fond of harmony. The sound of the choruses at a little distance has a most charming effect.


EXTERNAL LINKS:

Silk cotton tree

Nassau customs

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