Huggermugger leaves his Island

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



  ZEBEDEE NABBUM could not help thinking how easily he had obtained possession of his giant. There was now nothing to do but to make room for him in the ship, and lay in a stock of those articles of food which the giant was accustomed to eat, sufficient for a long voyage.

  Huggermugger laid his wife in a grave by the sea-shore, and covered it over with the beautiful large shells which she so loved. He then went home, opened the secret door in the wall, took out the ancient manuscript, tied a heavy stone to it, and sunk it in a deep well under the rocks, into which he also threw the key of his house, after having taken every thing he needed for his voyage, and locked the doors.

  The ship was now all ready to sail. The sailors had made a large raft, on which the giant sat and paddled himself to the ship, and climbed on board. The ship was large enough to allow him to stand, when the sea was still, and even walk about a little; but Huggermugger preferred the reclining posture, for he was weary and needed repose.

  During the first week or two of the voyage, his spirits seemed to revive. The open sea, without any horizon, the sails spreading calmly above him, the invigorating salt breeze, the little sailors clambering up the shrouds and on the yards, all served to divert his mind from his great grief. The sailors came around him and told him stories, and described the country to which they were bound; and sometimes Mr. Nabbum brought out his elephants, which Huggermugger patted and fondled like dogs. But poor Huggermugger was often sea-sick, and could not sit up. The sailors made him as comfortable as they could. By night they covered him up and kept him warm, and by day they stretched an awning above him to protect him from the sun. He was so accustomed to the open air, that he was never too cold nor too warm. But poor Huggermugger, after a few weeks more, began to show the symptoms of a more serious illness than sea-sickness. A nameless melancholy took possession of him. He refused to eat—he spoke little, and only lay and gazed up at the white sails and the blue sky. By degrees, he began to waste away, very much as his wife did. Little Jacket felt a real sorrow and sympathy, and so did they all. Zebedee Nabbum, however, it must be confessed, “though he felt a kind of sorry for the poor critter, thought more of the loss it would be to him, as a money speculation, to have him die before they reached America. “It would be too bad,” he said, “after all the trouble and expense I’ve had, and when the critter was so willin’, too, to come aboard, to go and have him die. We must feed him well, and try hard to save him; for we can’t afford to lose him. Why, he’d be worth at least 50,000 dollars—yes, 100,000 dollars, in the United States.” So Zebedee would bring him dishes of his favorite clams, nicely cooked and seasoned, but the giant only sighed and shook his head. “No,” he said, “my little friends, I feel that I shall never see your country. Your coming to my island has been in some way fatal for me. My secret must have been told. The prophecy, ages ago, has come true!”

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