This book addresses the history of mentalities, psychohistory, and the history of colonialist discourses. For those interested in the development of Third World and of post-colonialist cultures, the book offers a new set of insights and methodologies. "My cow comes to haunt me," said the bush-widow in Tasmania in the early 1830s, and the men out on the fringes of empire who listened, journalist, historian and traveller, smugly laughed at her ignorance and superstition. The colonial encounter between European and non-European takes place on and in the fringes of two or more cultures. They encounter words dialectically, playing off different forms of power and with ramifications in several directions. My Cow Comes to Haunt Me focuses on the problem of colonial discourses and especially the "topos" of the first encounter within the algebra of history of mentalities, and does so with an optic that includes the European intrusion into the Pacific islands.