The Giant Pearl and the Shark
We travelled in the Indian Ocean for ten days. The Nautilus did not seem to have any particular direction. I did not see Captain Nemo for some days after the man’s death. He stayed locked in his room. The ship was quiet.
One day Conseil, Ned Land, and I were in the museum room. We were looking through the underwater windows at the beautiful fish. I wanted to know what the others thought of Captain Nemo. Conseil said:
«I think he’s a scientist who never had any success. That’s why he’s here, under the sea. He’s not famous and he’s angry about that.»
«I think he’s crazy and we will die here unless we escape.»
«I think you’re both wrong. He’s angry about something. He is not free here. He loves the sea, yes, but here is something missing from his life. Maybe he blames someone for that, and I think he wants to hurt that person.»
As I said this, the walls closed over the side windows and Captain Nemo walked in.
«Would you like to go pearl fishing? This is the richest part of the world to fish for pearls.»
We all looked at each other and agreed. We were prisoners, but it was exciting to see all of the mysteries under the sea.
The ocean near India has thousands of oysters. The pearls inside them can cost hundreds of dollars. There are many sharks in these waters, and it’s very dangerous to go looking for pearls there.
I didn’t like the idea of sharks. We only had small knives to fight them with. Ned Land had his harpoon with him, but he was very busy trying to collect as many oysters as he could.
Captain Nemo took us to a small cave. Inside it, I saw an oyster over six feet wide. It had a pearl inside it as big as a coconut. I wanted to take it back to the ship with us. It was the only one of its kind in the world. But Captain Nemo said no. He wanted the pearl to grow, alone there in the cave, until it was truly the most fantastic pearl in the world.
On the way back to the ship, we saw an Indian boy swimming for pearls. We hid behind some rocks so he couldn’t see us. Suddenly, a large shark swam nearby. The boy saw it, but it was too late.
Captain Nemo swam away from the rocks, with his knife in his hand, and began fighting with the animal. The boy looked terrified.
Captain Nemo fought with the shark, and there was blood in the water. The Captain looked in trouble. Immediately, Ned Land attacked and killed the shark with his harpoon. The Captain was safe and I was so surprised that I couldn’t move.
When we got back to the Nautilus, the Captain thanked Ned Land.
«You saved my life, Mr Land. Thank you.»
«Don’t thank me. I kill sharks and whales because it’s my job. I didn’t do it for you.»
«Come, Mr Land. That’s a horrible thing to say.»
«It’s alright, Conseil. I understand Mr Land.»
I saw in his face that he did understand Ned Land. We were prisoners. Ned Land’s only thought was to escape. Captain Nemo understood that thought. He would feel the same way if he were in Ned Land’s position.