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|The Story of Doctor Dolittle||Hugh Lofting|
The Fisherman's Town
|Page 1 of 2||
GENTLY then--very gently, the Doctor woke the man up.
But just at that moment the match went out again. And the man thought it was Ben Ali coming back, and he began to punch the Doctor in the dark.
But when John Dolittle told him who it was, and that he had his little nephew safe on his ship, the man was tremendously glad, and said he was sorry he had fought the Doctor. He had not hurt him much though--because it was too dark to punch properly. Then he gave the Doctor a pinch of snuff.
And the man told how the Barbary Dragon had put him on to this rock and left him there, when he wouldn't promise to become a pirate; and how he used to sleep down in this hole because there was no house on the rock to keep him warm.
And then he said,
"For four days I have had nothing to eat or drink. I have lived on snuff."
"There you are!" said Jip. "What did I tell you?"
So they struck some more matches and made their way out through the passage into the daylight; and the Doctor hurried the man down to the boat to get some soup.
When the animals and the little boy saw the Doctor and Jip coming back to the ship with a red-headed man, they began to cheer and yell and dance about the boat. And the swallows up above started whistling at the top of their voices--thousands and millions of them--to show that they too were glad that the boy's brave uncle had been found. The noise they made was so great that sailors far out at sea thought that a terrible storm was coming. "Hark to that gale howling in the East!" they said.
And Jip was awfully proud of himself-- though he tried hard not to look conceited. When Dab-Dab came to him and said, "Jip, I had no idea you were so clever!" he just tossed his head and answered,
"Oh, that's nothing special. But it takes a dog to find a man, you know. Birds are no good for a game like that."
Then the Doctor asked the red-haired fisherman where his home was. And when he had told him, the Doctor asked the swallows to guide the ship there first.
And when they had come to the land which the man had spoken of, they saw a little fishing-town at the foot of a rocky mountain; and the man pointed out the house where he lived.
And while they were letting down the anchor, the little boy's mother (who was also the man's sister) came running down to the shore to meet them, laughing and crying at the same time. She had been sitting on a hill for twenty days, watching the sea and waiting for them to return.
And she kissed the Doctor many times, so that he giggled and blushed like a school-girl. And she tried to kiss Jip too; but he ran away and hid inside the ship.
"It's a silly business, this kissing," he said. "I don't hold by it. Let her go and kiss Gub-Gub--if she MUST kiss something."
The fisherman and his sister didn't want the Doctor to go away again in a hurry. They begged him to spend a few days with them. So John Dolittle and his animals had to stay at their house a whole Saturday and Sunday and half of Monday.
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