Penguin Island eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about Penguin Island.

     Whither go’st thou, gentle Mael,
     In thy trough distracted? 
     All distended is thy sail
     Like the breast of Juno
     When from it gushed the Milky Way.

For a moment their harmonious laughter followed him beneath the stars, but the vessel fled on, a hundred times more swiftly than the red ship of a Viking.  And the petrels, surprised in their flight, clung with their feet to the hair of the holy man.

Soon a tempest arose full of darkness and groanings, and the trough, driven by a furious wind, flew like a sea-mew through the mist and the surge.

After a night of three times twenty-four hours the darkness was suddenly rent and the holy man discovered on the horizon a shore more dazzling than diamond.  The coast rapidly grew larger, and soon by the glacial light of a torpid and sunken sun, Mael saw, rising above the waves, the silent streets of a white city, which, vaster than Thebes with its hundred gates, extended as far as the eye could see the ruins of its forum built of snow, its palaces of frost, its crystal arches, and its iridescent obelisks.

The ocean was covered with floating ice-bergs around which swam men of the sea of a wild yet gentle appearance.  And Leviathan passed by hurling a column of water up to the clouds.

Moreover, on a block of ice which floated at the same rate as the stone trough there was seated a white bear holding her little one in her arms, and Mael heard her murmuring in a low voice this verse of Virgil, Incipe parve puer.

And full of sadness and trouble, the old man wept.

The fresh water had frozen and burst the barrel that contained it.  And Mael was sucking pieces of ice to quench his thirst, and his food was bread dipped in dirty water.  His beard and his hair were broken like glass.  His habit was covered with a layer of ice and cut into him at every movement of his limbs.  Huge waves rose up and opened their foaming jaws at the old man.  Twenty times the boat was filled by masses of sea.  And the ocean swallowed up the book of the Holy Gospels which the apostle guarded with extreme care in a purple cover marked with a golden cross.

Now on the thirtieth day the sea calmed.  And lo! with a frightful clamour of sky and waters a mountain of dazzling whiteness advanced towards the stone vessel.  Mael steered to avoid it, but the tiller broke in his hands.  To lessen the speed of his progress towards the rock he attempted to reef the sails, but when he tried to knot the reef-points the wind pulled them away from him and the rope seared his hands.  He saw three demons with wings of black skin having hooks at their ends, who, hanging from the rigging, were puffing with their breath against the sails.

Understanding from this sight that the Enemy had governed him in all these things, he guarded himself by making the sign of the Cross.  Immediately a furious gust of wind filled with the noise of sobs and howls struck the stone trough, carried off the mast with all the sails, and tore away the rudder and the stem.

Project Gutenberg
Penguin Island from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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