16 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
Having thus secured a ladle, we all dipped in the pot, but as the shells had no handles, we only succeeded in scalding our fingers, and a chorus of groans followed. Ernest was the only one who had been too cautious to burn himself; he quietly took the shell he had kept for himself, which was as large and deep as a small saucer, from his pocket, and, carefully dipping it into the pot, drew it out filled with as much soup as was his fair share, and set it down till it should cool.
'You have taken good care of yourself,' said I. ' Didn't it occur to you that you might have saved this prize for your mother instead of yourself ? As a punishment, I bid you give your dish of soup to the dogs, and yourself share with the rest of us.'
He was instantly ashamed of himself, and placed the shell, filled with soup, upon the ground ; in a moment the dogs had licked up every drop. A few minutes elapsed, and while we were eagerly watching the pot we heard a snarl, and, looking round, saw Turk and Flora tearing the agouti to pieces in order to eat him. The boys all screamed together. Fritz seized his gun and struck the dogs with it so hard that he bent it, and his voice was raised so high in his fury that it re-echoed from the rocks.
The dogs ran away terrified, and when Fritz had