The Pacha of Many Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 417 pages of information about The Pacha of Many Tales.
closed with great rapidity.  The men in the other boats immediately pulled away, and, as I afterwards learnt, when I arrived at Marseilles, they escaped, and returned home in the ship; but those in mine, who were intent upon watching me, as I stood in the bow of the boat with the harpoon to strike the animal, did not perceive the danger until the stern of the boat was touched by the other iceberg.  The two now coming within the attraction of cohesion of floating bodies, were dashed like lightning one against the other, jamming the men, as well as the boat, into atoms.

Being in the bow of the boat, and hearing the crash, I had just time, in a moment of desperation, to throw myself into the cave upon the back of the sea-horse, when the two enormous bodies of ice came in contact—­the noise I have no doubt was tremendous, but I did not hear it, as I was immediately enclosed in the ice.  Although at first there were interstices, yet, as the southerly gale blew the icebergs before it into the northern region, all was quickly cemented together by the frost, and I found myself pent up in an apartment not eight feet square, in company with a sea-horse.

I shall not detain your highness by describing my sensations:  my ideas were, that I was to exist a certain time, and then die for want of fresh air; but they were incorrect.  At first, indeed, the cave was intolerably hot from the accumulation of breath, and I thought I should soon be suffocated.  I recollected all my past sins, I implored for mercy, and lay down to die; but I found that the ice melted away with the heat, and that, in so doing, a considerable portion of the air was liberated, so that in a few minutes my respiration became more free.  The animal in the meantime, apparently frightened at his unusual situation, was perfectly quiet; and, as the slightest straw will be caught at by the drowning man, so did the idea of my preservation come into my head.  I considered how much air so enormous an animal must consume, and determined upon despatching him, that I might have more for my own immediate wants.  I took out my knife, and inserting it between the vertebral bones that joined his head to his neck, divided the spinal marrow, and he immediately expired.

When I found that he was quite dead, I crawled from his shoulders, and took up a more convenient berth in that part of the cave which was before his head, to which I had been afraid to venture while the animal was alive, lest he should attack me with his enormous tusks.  The air soon became more pure, and I breathed freely.  Your highness may be surprised at the assertion; but, whether I obtained air from the ice itself, or whether the ice was sufficiently porous to admit of it, I know not; but from that time I had no difficulty of respiration.  In our country we have had instances of women and children, who have been buried in the snow for two months, and yet have been taken out alive, and have recovered, although

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The Pacha of Many Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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