I found this article in the British North Borneo Herald from March 16, 1906. It is about a crazy English writer who left Great Britain and went to the island of Buton (Bouton), to the south of Sulawesi (Celebes). What is great about this article is the way in which the indigenous people interpret his writing on paper as a sign that he is a priest who is making magic charms against disease. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I hope it is.
Mails from Celebes in the Eastern Archipelago, says Lloyd’s News, tell of the advent of a mysterious Englishman, who has taken up his residence on the Island of Bouton.
Early in July last year arrived in a sailing boat a bronzed, broad-chested stranger, accompanied by a little fair-haired dwarf, apparently his servant. According to the story told by the agent of a wealthy merchant of Macassar, the two white men proceeded to build a large log house, the interior of which they painted a brilliant scarlet. Over the threshold, flanked by Union Jacks, they raised a gigantic wooden shield, bearing a portrait of the master of the house seated at the apex of a pyramid, round the base of which a crown of pigmies groveled, looking upwards with expressions of bewilderment and awe. Beneath this wonderful device was a mysterious inscription: “I am a M.O.L.”
Hundreds of natives came to look at the “funny white men,” but the master repelled their curiosity, brandishing a couple of revolvers. The quaint shield roused the admiration and curiosity of all, and stories were told by the superstitious of dark deeds done at midnight in the house of the strange white man.
One native, more educated than his brothers, read the inscription beneath the shield and the word went forth that the big white man was a new god, named Amol, and that the dwarf was his attendant priest. This story was readily believed because of the hundreds of sheets of white paper which Amol daily covered with mysterious writings, believed by the natives to be charms against disease.
For six months the Englishmen lived on the stores they had brought with them. Then the dwarf set said for Macassar to lay in a new supply. He told a curious tale about his employer.
“Amol,” he said, had told him that he was the “greatest English novelist alive.” But the English people were fools, and did not appreciate good work. Cheap journalism and upstart publishers combined to stifle men of letters. He was himself a man of letters although no one would believe it. For years he had been unwillingly compelled to prostitute his genius that he might live. But at last a rich lady who had hoped that he would marry her died of a broken heart, bequeathing him her fortune. Forthwith he shook the dust of London off his feet, leaving behind him, he hoped for ever, his unappreciative native land.
A Dutch doctor who recently visited the Englishman declares that he is mad. As they sailed away from Bouton they saw the poor fellow standing on the shore, and his cry, “Oh! don’t forget I am a man of letters!” was borne across the waters.