[Editor: An article about an odd incident. Published in the The Bendigo Advertiser, 10 July 1866.]
A Chinaman in a queer fix.
— On Saturday afternoon, about five o’clock, two miners left their work at Havelock, and made their way homewards. Having to go a distance, and it being nearly dark, they took a short cut across the ranges. They had not proceeded far when one of them, named Harry, suddenly stopped.
“What’s that?” said he to his mate Ned.
“What’s what?” said Ned.
“As sure as I’m alive, there’s a horse up yonder tree,” replied Harry.
“Horse be blowed,” said his mate, “who ever heard of a horse climbing up a tree.”
“Blowed or not blowed, there is no gammon about it; there’s a beast of some sort in that tree,” said Harry.
“Come on,” said his mate, “don’t be a fool ; who ever saw a horse in a tree? I’ve heard of a ‘mare’s nest’ though, perhaps it’s one of them, and the old hoss is bedding down the young ’uns; but I can’t see horse or any thing else, so come on.”
“No fear,” replied matey.
“Well, then,” said Ned, “let’s go closer up to the tree, for blow me if I can see any thing.”
They started in the direction pointed out by Harry, when Ned shouts out, “By gum! that’s queer.”
“You see now, do you?” said Ned.
“What can it be,” said Harry; “it’s got four legs.”
“There!” said Harry, “hear the beast; what a horrid noise it makes.”
“There it goes again,” said Harry.
After a little consideration they agreed to go closer to the tree, so picking up some large stones they cautiously approached.
“Hul-loa there,” said Ned.
“Did you ever hear such a queer noise for a beast to make,” said Harry.
Ned, after a closer examination, broke out into a hearty laugh. “By jingo!” said he, “it’s a Chinaman.”
And sure enough there hung John, suspended from the end of a broken branch by the posterior part of his unmentionables, his hands and legs dangling down in a manner quite sufficient to warrant Harry’s belief that it was a horse.
It afterwards turned out that John had in the early part of the day shot a pigeon, which fell in the branches of the tree, and feeling desirous of securing his bird he climbed up for the purpose of getting it; his foot happening to slip, in falling he was caught in the manner described.
There is but little doubt had John not been rescued at the time he was, he would have ceased to exist before morning ; as it was he was in a very exhausted state.
— M. and D. Advertiser, 6th July.
The Bendigo Advertiser (Bendigo, Vic.), Tuesday 10 July 1866, page 3
Also published in:
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 14 July 1866, page 6 [as “John Chinaman in a fix”]
gammon = misleading, deceptive, or nonsensical talk, humbug (can also refer to a cured or smoked ham)
John = slang for a Chinese man, as in “John Chinaman” or “Johnny Chinaman”
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]