Read Books Online, for Free
|The Story of Doctor Dolittle||Hugh Lofting|
The Ocean Gossips
|Page 2 of 2||
"What are those funny, clicking noises you are making with your tongue?" asked the boy.
"Oh, I just said a couple of words in duck-language," the Doctor answered. "This is Dab-Dab, one of my pets."
"I didn't even know that ducks had a language," said the boy. "Are all these other animals your pets, too? What is that strange-looking thing with two heads?"
"Sh!" the Doctor whispered. "That is the pushmi-pullyu. Don't let him see we're talking about him--he gets so dreadfully embarrassed.... Tell me, how did you come to be locked up in that little room?"
"The pirates shut me in there when they were going off to steal things from another ship. When I heard some one chopping on the door, I didn't know who it could be. I was very glad to find it was you. Do you think you will be able to find my uncle for me?"
"Well, we are going to try very hard," said the Doctor. "Now what was your uncle like to look at?"
"He had red hair," the boy answered--"very red hair, and the picture of an anchor tattooed on his arm. He was a strong man, a kind uncle and the best sailor in the South Atlantic. His fishing-boat was called The Saucy Sally--a cutter-rigged sloop."
"What's `cutterigsloop'?" whispered Gub-Gub, turning to Jip.
"Sh!--That's the kind of a ship the man had," said Jip. "Keep still, can't you?"
"Oh," said the pig, "is that all? I thought it was something to drink."
So the Doctor left the boy to play with the animals in the dining-room, and went upstairs to look for passing porpoises.
And soon a whole school came dancing and jumping through the water, on their way to Brazil.
When they saw the Doctor leaning on the rail of his ship, they came over to see how he was getting on.
And the Doctor asked them if they had seen anything of a man with red hair and an anchor tattooed on his arm.
"Do you mean the master of The Saucy Sally?" asked the porpoises.
"Yes," said the Doctor. "That's the man. Has he been drowned?"
"His fishing-sloop was sunk," said the porpoises--"for we saw it lying on the bottom of the sea. But there was nobody inside it, because we went and looked."
"His little nephew is on the ship with me here," said the Doctor. "And he is terribly afraid that the pirates threw his uncle into the sea. Would you be so good as to find out for me, for sure, whether he has been drowned or not?"
"Oh, he isn't drowned," said the porpoises. "If he were, we would be sure to have heard of it from the deep-sea Decapods. We hear all the salt-water news. The shell-fish call us `The Ocean Gossips.' No--tell the little boy we are sorry we do not know where his uncle is; but we are quite certain he hasn't been drowned in the sea."
So the Doctor ran downstairs with the news and told the nephew, who clapped his hands with happiness. And the pushmi-pullyu took the little boy on his back and gave him a ride round the dining-room table; while all the other animals followed behind, beating the dish-covers with spoons, pretending it was a parade.
|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