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Sumatra is about one thousand miles in length, but it is quite narrow. The population is probably four or five million. It is said that some of the people here eat human flesh.
Those who live along the coast are called Malays. Many vessels go to trade with these people, but they are a treacherous and thievish race. The productions are like those of Borneo. There are elephants and rhinoceroses in the island ; also great serpents, and a multitude of birds of beautiful feathers.
What of Sumatra ? The people? Productions ? Animals ?
Java is rather smaller than New England. It is six hundred and ninety miles long. It is full of people, there being about five million of inhabitants upon it. Some of them have very good houses, and I think there is more refinement and civilization among them, than among the inhabitants of any of the adjacent islands. Java has many mountains, and some of them are volcanoes. This island is famous for producing excellent coffee, which is brought to this country, and also carried to Europe. It likewise produces many valuable fruits, and other things, on account of which many vessels go there from Europe, to trade with the inhabitants. The Dutch have settlements here, and govern the people.
These three islands, Borneo, Sumatra, and Java, are often called the Sunda isles. The inhabitants in them all, resemble each other very much. The productions are also nearly the same.
What of Java ? Coffee? Fruits ?
East of Java are the Moluccas. The principal of them are Celebes, Gilolo, Ceram, Amboyna, and Banda. All these are very populous. Celebes alone has three millions of inhabitants. These islands are called the Spice islands, because they produce a great many spices. Pepper, nutmegs, cloves, and mace, are brought to Europe and America, from them. The climate here, as well as in the Sunda islands, is warm and pleasant.
In some of the Moluccas, it is very unhealthy. In the island of Celebes, there are monstrous great serpents. These serpents are
What are the Moluccas ? Why are they called Spice islands ?
large enough to swallow a goat whole. Here is a picture of one of these snakes.
I will tell you a story of one of these serpents. Some English sailors went upon the island of Celebes, some years ago. One of the men went by himself and sat down. Now it happened, that one of these šerpents lay upon the ground, close to this man. He lay still for sometime, but by and by, he gradually crawled along toward the sailor, taking care to make no noise. At length, being near enough, he sprang upon the man, wound himself around his body, and crushed him to death. The other sailors saw their companion in the folds of the snake, but they could not save him.
Many of these islands are volcanic. The island of Sumbawa, which is near the island of Timor, is celebrated for a volcanic mountain, which, about fifteen years ago, threw out . such prodigious quantities of ashes, as to cause
Serpents ? What story of a serpent? What of Sumbawa! What are called the Asiatic islands ? Why are they called Asiatic islands?