I have often heard it averred that the natives are utterly wanting in a sense of humour, and therefore are certainly irredeemable savages. Well, I do not know the exact line by which humour and wit are separated, but I think the following anecdote has a savour of both about it.
A well-known explorer, worn out with fatigue, and weak from privations, flung himself by the fire to rest, having almost reached Perth on his return journey. His wretched and woebegone appearance attracted the attention of the native who accompanied him. He had some knowledge of English, and thus addressed his master: "What for do you who have plenty to eat, and much money, walk so far away in the bush?"
The explorer, tired to death, and rather annoyed at this conundrum, made no answer. The black went on: "You are thin, your shanks are long, your belly is
small--you had plenty to eat at home, why did you not stop there?" It is hard to make these simple folk understand the love of enterprise and adventure, so the traveller had to say:--
"Oh, you don't understand; you know nothing."
"I know nothing!" he exclaimed, with a laugh, "I know how to keep myself fat, the young women look at me and say, 'he very nice, he fat.' They look at you and say, 'No good, he too thin legs too long, he walk too far in the bush.'"
It cannot be denied that the Englishman had the worst of the argument.