Catching whales seems a cruel business to you. It is a cruel business. I never liked it. But somebody must do it. The butcher who kills oxen, and sheep, and calves, has to be cruel. But we must have butchers. We must have people to kill whales, though you never will catch me chasing after a whale again, as long as my name is Jack Mason.
Whales do not always run like the one I have told you about. Sometimes they fight. After they are struck with the harpoon, they lift their tail, or fluke, as they call it, and strike the boat so hard as to dash it in pieces. Then the poor sailors have to swim to the ship if they can. If they cannot, and if there is no other boat near them that they can get into, they must drown.
I once saw a whale that had been struck with a harpoon come up close to the ship, and give it such a blow with his fluke, that he tore the copper off at a great rate, and broke a thick plank in half a dozen pieces.
[Illustration: The Indian, with his bow and arrows.]
When I went in the whale-ship, I saw another tribe of Indians, that were very different from those I told you of before. They knew more than those Indians. They used bows and arrows; and you would have been pleased to see how they would hit a mark a great way off, with their arrows.
One of them, who had a name so long that I will not try to speak it, used to come every day to our ship, when we were lying near the shore. He liked pieces of glass, and nails and tin, and things of that kind, quite as well as the other Indians I told you of. He had seen white men before, so he was not at all afraid of us. I suppose that almost all the white men he had seen before used rum and tobacco. He asked all our sailors for these two things, and kept asking every day. I am sorry to say that some of the men gave him some rum once in a while, and one day he drank so much that he got drunk. Poor man! He was not so much to blame, I think, as the bad sailors that gave him the rum. What do you think about it?
This man would dive in the water further than anybody I ever saw before or since. Some of the sailors used to throw pieces of tin into very deep water, and tell him he might have them if he would dive and bring them up. He was so fond of such things, that he would always gladly dive to get them.
I once saw him dive for an old worn-out knife. The water was very deep where it was thrown. It was so deep that none of us thought he would get it. He went down, and staid a long, long time. We thought he never would come up again. The sailor that threw the knife into the water began to be sorry he had done it, because he thought the poor Indian was drowned. But, by and by, he came up again, with the knife in his mouth. He had been hunting after the knife on the bottom of the sea.