The Water Babies

Illustrated Online Children's Book by Charles Kingsley

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And there they were all three in the pot, rolling over and over, and very tight packing it was. And the lobster tore at the otter, and the otter tore at the lobster, and both squeezed and thumped poor Tom till he had no breath left in his body; and I don’t know what would have happened to him if he had not at last got on the otter’s back, and safe out of the hole.
He was right glad when he got out: but he would not desert his friend who had saved him; and the first time he saw his tail uppermost he caught hold of it, and pulled with all his might.
But the lobster would not let go.
“Come along,” said Tom; “don’t you see she is dead?” And so she was, quite drowned and dead.
And that was the end of the wicked otter.
But the lobster would not let go.
“Come along, you stupid old stick-in-the-mud,” cried Tom, “or the fisherman will catch you!” And that was true, for Tom felt some one above beginning to haul up the pot.
But the lobster would not let go. Tom saw the fisherman haul him up to the boat-side, and thought it was all up with him. But when Mr. Lobster saw the fisherman, he gave such a furious and tremendous snap, that he snapped out of his hand, and out of the pot, and safe into the sea. But he left his knobbed claw behind him; for it never came into his stupid head to let go after all, so he just shook his claw off as the easier method. It was something of a bull, that; but you must know the lobster was an Irish lobster, and was hatched off Island Magee at the mouth of Belfast Lough.
Tom asked the lobster why he never thought of letting go. He said very determinedly that it was a point of honour among lobsters. And so it is, as the Mayor of Plymouth found out once to his cost— eight or nine hundred years ago, of course; for if it had happened lately it would be personal to mention it.
For one day he was so tired with sitting on a hard chair, in a grand furred gown, with a gold chain round his neck, hearing one policeman after another come in and sing, “What shall we do with the drunken sailor, so early in the morning?” and answering them each exactly alike:
“Put him in the round house till he gets sober, so early in the morning” -
That, when it was over, he jumped up, and played leap-frog with the town-clerk till he burst his buttons, and then had his luncheon, and burst some more buttons, and then said: “It is a low spring-tide; I shall go out this afternoon and cut my capers.”
Now he did not mean to cut such capers as you eat with boiled mutton. It was the commandant of artillery at Valetta who used to amuse himself with cutting them, and who stuck upon one of the bastions a notice, “No one allowed to cut capers here but me,” which greatly edified the midshipmen in port, and the Maltese on the Nix Mangiare stairs. But all that the mayor meant was that he would go and have an afternoon’s fun, like any schoolboy, and catch lobsters with an iron hook.