AN ADVENTURE WITH A SHARK 69
anchoring the boat with a stone, we stole softly up to the birds. So eagerly were they occupied with their feast that not one of them attempted to fly off; and we might have killed great numbers of them with our sticks alone. Fritz did not cease to express his wonder at the size of the fish they were attacking, and asked me how it could have got there ?
' I believe,' I answered, ' you were yourself the means ; it is probably the very shark you wounded yesterday.'
' Yes, yes, it is the very same,' he said joyously, ' I see the marks of the shot in his head.'
' It is hideous enough,' continued I, ' even when dead it makes one shudder. See what a huge mouth he has, and what a rough and prickly skin ; and his length must be above twenty feet. Let us take away with us some pieces of his skin, for it may be useful to us.'
Ernest drew out the iron ramrod from his gun, and by striking with it to right and left among the birds, soon dispersed them. Fritz and I then cut several long strips of the skin from the head of the shark; these we carried to our boat, but on the way I noticed some planks and timbers which had recently been cast by the sea on this little island.