226 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
away into the desert. I had taken care to bring with me a sack and a quantity of cotton. I now took out six of the eggs, and, enveloping them as carefully as possible in the cotton, placed them in the sack, leaving the others in the nest, in hopes the mother would not discover the theft. The sack containing the eggs was carefully fastened on the back of the ass, whom I led slowly along, while Fritz mounted his colt.
We soon arrived at the tent, where Ernest and his mother received us with an astonishment they could not find words to express.
' What, in the name of patience,' cried my wife, as she perceived the ostrich, ' are you going to do with that immense bird ?'
' A post-horse, mamma,' cried Jackó' a post-horse that I mean to name " Hurricane," for nothing else can run so fast. Nobody else shall ride him but me, and I will give you Storm, Ernest, because you have no mount.'
On hearing this Francis cried out that the ostrich belonged to him as much as to Jack.
' Very well,' said I, ' let us divide him. Fritz, you may take the head, for it was your eagle that stunned him; I claim the body, for it was my string and balls that caught that; Jack, you own