240 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
less driven by necessity. I felt the urgency of providing some active occupation for them, and Fritz came to my assistance.
He suggested that we should make a light canoe, or cajack, as the Greenlanders call it, suitable for one person.
The Greenlanders make theirs of walrus-skin, but we had none of this, and I thought, perhaps, the skin of dog-fish, of which we had plenty, might do as well, so I caught at the suggestion.
Strips of whalebone, bamboo-cane, and rushes, with some dog-fish skin, were accordingly the materials that we employed. Two arched strips of whalebone fastened at each end, and separated in the middle by a piece of bamboo fixed transversely across, formed the two sides of our canoe; other pieces of whalebone, woven in with rushes and moss, well covered with pitch, formed the skeleton. The first improvement on the cajack, was to arrange it so that the rower could sit; while, in the cajacks of the Greenlander, he is obliged to remain with the legs crossed, like a tailor, or else to lie down in the bottom of the boat.
This boat of osiers, whalebone, and bam boo, was, when finished, so light and elastic, that it would rebound like a ball from the earth; and when we