A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY 25
' Well, I believe the method is as follows: Some water is put into half of one of these rinds, and into the water some fish, or a crab, or anything else there is to be cooked. Then some red hot stones are thrown in one by one, so that the water gets hot and boils the food.'
Fritz was much interested, and very anxious to try ; and, though it was hardly the time for this, I told him that at any rate he should see me make some plates and dishes. I tied a bit of string round the middle of the gourd as tight as possible, striking it pretty hard with the handle of my knife, and I drew it tighter and tighter till the gourd fell apart, forming two regular-shaped bowls or vessels.
Fritz was astonished and delighted.
' These are capital dishes,' he cried. ' But I cannot imagine, father, how you can make a flask from a gourd.'
' That is more difficult,' I said, ' and needs preparation a long time beforehand. The negroes bind a piece of string, linen, bark of a tree, or anything they can get, round the part of a gourd nearest the stalk while it is still very young and growing, so that as the plant increases in size the bandaged part remains small, and in this way flasks or bottles of a very good shape are made.'