Read Books Online, for Free
|The Story of Doctor Dolittle||Hugh Lofting|
The Barbary Dragon
|Page 2 of 3||
And Jip shouted across from the other ship,
"You great duffers, there are no rats there to leave! They left two hours ago! `Ha, ha,' to you, `my fine friends!'"
But of course the men did not understand him. Soon the front end of the ship began to go down and down, faster and faster--till the boat looked almost as though it were standing on its head; and the pirates had to cling to the rails and the masts and the ropes and anything to keep from sliding off. Then the sea rushed roaring in and through all the windows and the doors. And at last the ship plunged right down to the bottom of the sea, making a dreadful gurgling sound; and the six bad men were left bobbing about in the deep water of the bay.
Some of them started to swim for the shores of the island; while others came and tried to get on to the boat where the Doctor was. But Jip kept snapping at their noses, so they were afraid to climb up the side of the ship.
Then suddenly they all cried out in great fear,
"THE SHARKS! The sharks are coming! Let us get on to the ship before they eat us! Help, help!--The sharks! The sharks!"
And now the Doctor could see, all over the bay, the backs of big fishes swimming swiftly through the water.
And one great shark came near to the ship, and poking his nose out of the water he said to the Doctor,
"Are you John Dolittle, the famous animal- doctor?"
"Yes," said Doctor Dolittle. "That is my name."
"Well," said the shark, "we know these pirates to be a bad lot--especially Ben Ali. If they are annoying you, we will gladly eat them up for you--and then you won't be troubled any more."
"Thank you," said the Doctor. "This is really most attentive. But I don't think it will be necessary to eat them. Don't let any of them reach the shore until I tell you--just keep them swimming about, will you? And please make Ben Ali swim over here that I may talk to him."
So the shark went off and chased Ben Ali over to the Doctor.
"Listen, Ben Ali," said John Dolittle, leaning over the side. "You have been a very bad man; and I understand that you have killed many people. These good sharks here have just offered to eat you up for me--and 'twould indeed be a good thing if the seas were rid of you. But if you will promise to do as I tell you, I well let you go in safety."
"What must I do?" asked the pirate, looking down sideways at the big shark who was smelling his leg under the water.
"You must kill no more people," said the Doctor; "you must stop stealing; you must never sink another ship; you must give up being a pirate altogether."
"But what shall I do then?" asked Ben Ali. "How shall I live?"
"You and all your men must go on to this island and be bird-seed-farmers," the Doctor answered. "You must grow bird-seed for the canaries."
The Barbary Dragon turned pale with anger. "GROW BIRD-SEED!" he groaned in disgust. "Can't I be a sailor?"
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Story of Doctor Dolittle
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004