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The South Sea Whaler
written by "Groome, William H. C."
...pounds to have got hold of that creature!” exclaimed the doctor, “I have never seen anything like it before. I have heard that there are similar wingless birds in New Zealand; but as no Englishman has ever caught sight of one, I was inclined to doubt the fact.” The bird seen by the party was a species of cassowary, which is found in Java and other East India islands. Several specimens have long since been brought to England from the island of New Britain, the natives of which call it the “mooruk,” and hold it in some degree sacred. When they are found very young, they are brought up as pets, and become thoroughly domesticated, exhibiting the most perfect confidence and a wonderfully curious disposition. Dan and the doctor had both started up with their bows; Nub had taken his, but when the mooruk kicked him it had been sent flying out of his hand, and before he could recover it the bird had got to such a distance that his arrow would have glanced harmlessly off its thick feathers, had he attempted to shoot. Dan was excessively vexed at having let the bird escape. “Shure, now, if we had thought of throwing a noose over its head, we might have caught the baste; and it would have given us as many dinners as a good-sized sheep!” he exclaimed. “Not for five hundred pounds would I have allowed it to have been killed!” cried the doctor. “If we could have taken it to England, it would have been of inestimable value, and would have made ample amends for all the dangers and hardships we have gone through.” “Well, well, doctor, I don’t know that the owners of the Champion would be exactly of your opinion, any more than the rest of us,” observed the mate, laughing; “but perhaps we may find some other curious creature before long to recompense you for your loss. It’s time, however, to be on the tramp. I should like to ascertain before dark how far we are from the mainland; for th...

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