The Jungle Book
The White Seal
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas!
All these things happened several years ago at a place called Novastoshnah, or
North East Point, on the Island of St. Paul, away and away in the Bering Sea.
Limmershin, the Winter Wren, told me the tale when he was blown on to the
rigging of a steamer going to Japan, and I took him down into my cabin and
warmed and fed him for a couple of days till he was fit to fly back to St. Paul's
again. Limmershin is a very quaint little bird, but he knows how to tell the truth.
Nobody comes to Novastoshnah except on business, and the only people who
have regular business there are the seals. They come in the summer months by
hundreds and hundreds of thousands out of the cold gray sea. For Novastoshnah
Beach has the finest accommodation for seals of any place in all the world.
Sea Catch knew that, and every spring would swim from whatever place he
happened to be in--would swim like a torpedo-boat straight for Novastoshnah
and spend a month fighting with his companions for a good place on the rocks,
as close to the sea as possible. Sea Catch was fifteen years old, a huge gray fur
seal with almost a mane on his shoulders, and long, wicked dog teeth. When he
heaved himself up on his front flippers he stood more than four feet clear of the
ground, and his weight, if anyone had been bold enough to weigh him, was
nearly seven hundred pounds. He was scarred all over with the marks of savage
fights, but he was always ready for just one fight more. He would put his head on
one side, as though he were afraid to look his enemy in the face; then he would
shoot it out like lightning, and when the big teeth were firmly fixed on the other