36 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
loads we carried. Jack took my gun, Ernest the cocoa-nuts, Francis the gourd-rinds, and my wife my game-bag. Fritz distributed the sugar-canes and put his monkey on the back of Turk, to the great amusement of the children, at the same time begging Ernest to carry his gun. But Ernest, who was always lazy, assured him that the large, heavy bowls with which he was loaded were as much as he had strength to carry. His mother, a little too indulgent, at once took them herself, and thus we walked to our tent.
Fritz whispered to me that if Ernest had known what the large, heavy bowls were, he would not so readily have parted with them. Then, turning to his brother, he cried:
'Why, Ernest, do you know that these bowls are cocoa-nuts—your dear cocoa-nuts—and full of the milk you talked so much about ?'
' What ?' cried Ernest in astonishment. ' Oh, give them to me, mother—I will carry them ; and I can carry the gun too.'
'No, no, Ernest,' answered his mother, 'you shall not tease us with any more of your long-drawn sighs about fatigue ; after a hundred yards you would begin again.'
Ernest would willingly have asked her to give