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Seeds of Liberty: Grass Skirts, Atabrine Pills---and Defiance! An excerpt of James A. Michener's "Fo' Dolla'" in Tales of The South Pacific (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1946) with illustrations from the author's collection.

“You got to watch ’em,” he whispered.

“Don’t they like the taste?” I inquired, smiling back at a grinning Tonkinese woman who stood waiting. “Taste ain’t nothin’ to a guy that chews betel,” Benny said. “Everything tastes the same.”

“Then why the act with the atabrine?”
“Clever bastards,” Benny grinned. “Took ’em about two weeks to discover that them pills is a wonderful yellow dye. They keep ’em back of their tongues and then use ’em to dye grass skirts with.”
“Grass skirts?” I inquired.
“Yeah,” he replied. “They make ’em.”
When the session was ended, Benny grabbed a handful of his precious yellow pills and threw them on the table. “For your skirts!” he shouted, wiggling his hips as if he were wearing one of the grass skirts the Tonk…

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