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Part Four Hugh Lofting

VI The Jabizri

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WE found the woods at the feet of the hills thick and tangly and somewhat hard to get through. On Polynesia's advice, we kept away from all paths and trails, feeling it best to avoid meeting any Indians for the present.

But she and Chee-Chee were good guides and splendid jungle-hunters; and the two of them set to work at once looking for food for us. In a very short space of time they had found quite a number of different fruits and nuts which made excellent eating, though none of us knew the names of any of them. We discovered a nice clean stream of good water which came down from the mountains; so we were supplied with something to drink as well.

We followed the stream up towards the heights. And presently we came to parts where the woods were thinner and the ground rocky and steep. Here we could get glimpses of wonderful views all over the island, with the blue sea beyond. While we were admiring one of these the Doctor suddenly said, "Sh!--A Jabizri!--Don't you hear it?"

We listened and heard, somewhere in the air about us, an extraordinarily musical hum-like a bee, but not just one note. This hum rose and fell, up and down--almost like some one singing.

"No other insect but the Jabizri beetle hums like that," said the Doctor. "I wonder where he is--quite near, by the sound-- flying among the trees probably. Oh, if I only had my butterfly-net! Why didn't I think to strap that around my waist too. Confound the storm: I may miss the chance of a lifetime now of getting the rarest beetle in the world--Oh look! There he goes!"

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A huge beetle, easily three inches long I should say, suddenly flew by our noses. The Doctor got frightfully excited. He took off his hat to use as a net, swooped at the beetle and caught it. He nearly fell down a precipice on to the rocks below in his wild hurry, but that didn't bother him in the least. He knelt down, chortling, upon the ground with the Jabizri safe under his hat. From his pocket he brought out a glass-topped box, and into this he very skillfully made the beetle walk from under the rim of the hat. Then he rose up, happy as a child, to examine his new treasure through the glass lid.

It certainly was a most beautiful insect. It was pale blue underneath; but its back was glossy black with huge red spots on it.

"There isn't an entymologist in the whole world who wouldn't give all he has to be in my shoes to-day," said the Doctor--"Hulloa! This Jabizri's got something on his leg--Doesn't look like mud. I wonder what it is."

He took the beetle carefully out of the box and held it by its back in his fingers, where it waved its six legs slowly in the air. We all crowded about him peering at it. Rolled around the middle section of its right foreleg was something that looked like a thin dried leaf. It was bound on very neatly with strong spider-web.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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