Caught by A Tree by Unknown
A natural history student was one afternoon, during a prolonged drought,
hunting for ferns in a dense wood. Towards evening, it grew suddenly
dark, and a few drops of rain gave warning that a storm was coming. At
that moment, the student's eye fell upon a big, hollow tree-trunk on the
Striking a match, the man peered within, and saw, as he thought, a
convenient place of shelter. With feet foremost and arms pressed closely
to his side, he wormed himself into the log.
Presently the rain came down in torrents, and the student congratulated
himself on having found so snug a shelter.
Fatigued with his long tramp, he fell asleep. How long he slept he did
not know, but by-and-by he was awakened by a sharp pain in his head, and
a feeling of cramp in his whole body. The rain was still falling, the
darkness was intense. The bodily discomfort was, of course, due to the
man's cramped position; the pain in his head was caused by a continual
drip of water from above on to his forehead.
He drew his head back out of the way of the drops, and, in spite of his
uncomfortable position, actually fell asleep again! But the next time he
awoke, the pain in his head was intolerable. It seemed impossible to get
out of reach of those maddening drops, and 'wherever they fell,' says
the student, 'they seemed like a sharp iron boring into the skull.'
But the worst was yet to come. When the poor fellow tried to crawl out
of the log, he was unable to do so! The opening by which he had so
foolishly entered had been only just large enough to admit his body, and
the wood, shrunken by the long drought, had in the rain swelled to such
an extent that he was now caught, as he says, 'like a rat in a trap.'
Throughout the night the wretched victim shrieked, struggled, pushed,
kicked, and wriggled in vain. He could not raise his hands to tear at
Happily, he was discovered the next morning through the good services of
a sagacious dog, which led a search-party to the spot.
Even then, however, his sufferings were not at an end. Before he could
get out of his prison, it was found necessary to cut away a part of the
log with an axe.