24 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
Here we soon noticed that some of the trees were very curious. Fritz, whose sharp eyes were always on the alert, examined them closely, and was the first to find words to express their oddness.
' What odd trees !' he cried, ' with wens growing all about their trunks !'
I told him that they were of the gourd-tree kind, the trunks of which bear fruit.
Fritz had never heard of such a tree, but he broke off one of the excrescences, and told me it was exactly like a gourd, only the rind was thicker and harder.
' This is a most useful discovery,' I said,' for now we can make dishes, basins, flasks.'
' Hurrah !' cried the boy gleefully ; ' we need.not scald our fingers any more by using those wretched oyster-shells.'
' Negro savages set as much value on the rind of this fruit as on gold,' I told him. ' These rinds serve them as vessels for their food and drink, and sometimes they are even used for cooking.'
' Oh, father ! that must be impossible,' he argued, ' for the heat of fire would soon burn them up.'
' I did not say the rind was put upon the fire.'
'I don't see how they could do it any other way.'