How he fared on Shore

From: The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: 1856 Boston



  ALL this was bad enough, as Little Jacket thought. But he was very thankful that he was alive and on shore, and able to use his limbs, and that he found some companions still left. He was not long either in using his wits, and in making the best use of the chances still left him. He found himself upon a rocky promontory. But on climbing a little higher up, he could see that there was beyond it, and joining on to it, a beautiful smooth beach. The rocks were enormous, and he and his comrades had hard work to clamber over them. It took them a good while to do so, exhausted as they were by fatigue, and dripping with wet. At length they reached the beach, the sands of which were of very large grain, and so loose that they had to wade nearly knee deep through them. The country back of the shore seemed very rocky and rough, and here and there were trees of an enormous magnitude. Every thing seemed on a gigantic scale, even to the weeds and grasses that grew on the edge of the beach, where it sloped up to join the main land. And they could see, by mounting on a stone, the same great gloomy cliffs which they saw before the ship struck, but some miles inland. But what most attracted their attention, was the enormous and beautiful great sea-shells, which lay far up on the shore. They were not only of the most lovely colors, but quite various in form, and so large that a man might creep into them. Little Jacket was not long in discovering the advantage of this fact, for they might be obliged, when night came on, to retire into these shells, as they saw no house anywhere within sight. Now, Little Jacket had read Robinson Crusoe, and Gulliver’s Travels, and had half believed the wonderful stories of Brobdignag; but he never thought that he should ever be actually wrecked on a giant’s island. There now seemed to be a probability that it might be so, after all. What meant these enormous weeds, and trees, and rocks, and grains of sand, and these huge shells? What meant these great cliffs in the distance? He began to feel a little afraid. But he thought about Gulliver, and how well he fared after all, and, on the whole, looked forward rather with pleasure at the prospect of some strange adventure. Now and then he thought he could make out something like huge footprints on the shore—but this might be fancy. At any rate, they would hide themselves if they saw the giant coming. And if they could only find some food to live upon, they might get on tolerably well for a time. And perhaps this was only a fancy about giants, and they might yet find civilized beings like themselves living here.

  Now Little Jacket began to be very hungry, and so did his companions —there were six of them—and they all determined to look about as far inland as they dared to go, for some kind of fruit or vegetable which might satisfy their appetites. They were not long in discovering a kind of beach-plum, about as big as watermelons, which grew on a bush so tall, that they had to reach · the fruit at arm’s length, and on tiptoe. The stalks were covered with very sharp thorns, about a foot long. Some of these thorns they cut off, (they had their knives in their pockets still,) for Little Jacket thought they might be of service to them in defending themselves against any wild animal which might prowl around at night. It chanced that Little Jacket found good use for his in the end, as we shall see. When they had gathered enough of these great plums, they sat down and dined upon them. They found them a rather coarse, but not unpalatable fruit. As they were still very wet, they took off their clothes, and dried them in the sun; for the storm had ceased, and the sun now came out very warm. The great waves, however, still dashed up on the beach. When their clothes were dry, they put them on, and feeling a good deal refreshed, spent the rest of the day in looking about to see what was to be done for the future. As night came on, they felt a good deal dispirited; but Little Jacket encouraged his companions, by telling stories of sailors who had been saved, or had been taken under the protection of the kings of the country, and had married the king’s daughters, and all that. So they found a group of the great shells near each other, seven of them, lying high and dry out of the reach of the dashing waves, and, after bidding each other good night, they crept in. Little Jacket found his dry and clean, and having curled himself up, in spite of his anxiety about the future, was soon fast asleep.

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