THE MONSTER WHALE 191
carried the masses of blubber we handed oat to the boat; we literally swam in grease, for walls of solid fat rose on each side of us.
But we were not long the only claimants for the whale. A multitude of birds surrounded us. They flew round and round our heads, then, gradually approaching, they were so bold as to snatch pieces of fat from our hands. The birds were very troublesome, until I knocked down some with a club, and threw them into the boat. I took from the back of the animal a long band of skin, out of which I wanted to make a harness for the ass and the two buffaloes. It was a difficult task, the skin was so thick and so hard to cut; but I managed it after some difficulty. The tubs were placed in the canoe, and we set out along the coast with the new cargo we had acquired.
The next morning we again embarked in the canoe. A fresh wind was blowing, and we soon arrived at the island, which we found covered with gulls and other birds, who, in spite of the canvas with which the pieces that had been cut from the whale were covered, had made a plentiful meal.
We fired right and left into them before we could drive them away. Then, stripping off every article of clothing excepting our pantaloons, we set to