Moby Dick Chapter 17 - 19
Chapter 17 - 19
The Ramadan/His Mark/The Prophet
Queequeg is observing a day of fasting, called Ramadan, and Ishmael waits until the evening to knock on their door. When Queequeg doesn't answer, Ishmael becomes concerned, and forces the door open. Inside, he finds Queequeg sitting quietly, unresponsive to any of Ishmael's attempts to rouse him. It is only the when the sun of the next day has risen that Queequeg finishes his Ramadan. Ishmael tries to convince him of the dangers of foolish religious self-sacrifice, but Queequeg takes no heed.
The two men eat breakfast, then leave for the Pequod.
At the ship, Captains Bildad and Peleg are at first reluctant to let Queequeg on, unless it can be proved he has converted to Catholicism. Ishmael attempts to argue for his friend, but it is only after Queequeg shows his skill at harpooning (by hitting a far off target) that he is signed on.
When they are leaving the ship, Ishmael and Queequeg are accosted by a poorly dressed, diseased stranger. He warns the two about dangers aboard the Pequod, especially from Ahab. Ishmael does not take him seriously, until he tells them his name, Elijah, the name of a biblical prophet.
The two men walk away, both deciding he is a fake. There is a moment of fear when it seems Elijah is following them, but Ishmael turns to face him, and Elijah ignores them.