MY STRANGE ADVENTURE
Now come the most exciting and in some respects the hardest events of my life thus far.
I have told of my great love of music, and have also said that the Dolphin family is a very sociable one. Yes, and I could grow fond of Folks, I know, if only they could live in the sea, or I could live on the land. But as neither of these things can be, I must be content with liking them at a distance.
One afternoon I was full of sport, and felt lively as a cricket. Oh, yes, I know the small, frisky fellow you call a cricket, with his little old black legs, and have heard him sing. So on this calm and lovely afternoon I began leaping upward instead of forward, and all at once I heard sounds of music floating across the upper sea. You can believe I floundered alongside, and oh, such sweetness as trilled out into the clear air!
The truth was, a great steamer was crossing the Mediterranean with a pleasure party on board. What I heard was the music of a brass band. My! My! Isn’t it enough to delight the heart of any creature that has ears to hear? It actually would make a fish dance.
Now I didn’t know it, but I made such plunges upward that my great dark body could be seen in the clear water, and some sailors began “laying” for me, half suspecting what might happen.
Well-a-well, I got so full of music, joy, and friskiness, that all at once I gave a tremendous jump, and flounced right on to the deck of the fine steamer. Had I not been so utterly surprised, I should immediately have flounced back again to my ocean bed “quick shot,” as I afterward heard a sailor say. But dear, deary me! I hesitated just a moment too long, and when I made a flop intending to bounce away, lo! a stout rope was about my body, and another about my tail, and I was a prisoner!
Then the Folks all gathered about me, and the sailors went laughing off, saying something about “making the fellow’s bed.”
Oh, it was all very strange and unnatural. And in a few moments I began panting for breath. Just as you would gasp, if by accident you popped over from a boat into the water. Only you would gasp for want of air, and I was gasping from too much of it.
But it was not long before I was taken to a side of the vessel, and after straining and tugging with my great weight, I was indeed bounced into water, but when I tried to swim, oh, misery! what kind of a place was I in?
Only a tank, some twenty feet long by fifteen feet wide, filled with sea water!
Truth was, there was a man-Folk on board who had caught, and wanted to carry to a great park in some far-distant land, a crocodile. Boo! a great sea-reptile that I wonder any one should want to have around, even as a curiosity. It had been taken from the river Nile in Egypt, much farther up the Mediterranean borders than I had ever been.