Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/80

This page has been validated.

mother. Presently she arose close to the fast boat, and, seizing, the young one, dragged out of the boat about one hundred fathoms of line, with remarkable force and velocity; again she arose to the surface, darted furiously to and fro, frequently stopped short and suddenly changed her direction, and gave every possible indication of extreme agony. For a length of time she continued to act thus, although closely pursued by the boats; and, inspired with courage and resolution for the welfare of her offspring, seemed regardless of the dangers which surrounded herself. At length, one of the boats approached so near, that a harpoon was thrown at her: it struck, but did not attach itself; a second was thrown; this also failed; but a third was more effectual, and yet she did not attempt to escape, but allowed three other boats to approach, so that, in a few minutes, three more harpoons were fastened, and in the space of an hour afterwards she was killed."

The young ones continue to suck for a year, during which period they are called by the sailors, short-heads. They are then extremely fat and yield above thirty barrels of blubber. The mother, on the other hand, becomes at that time proportionately lean and emaciated. At the age of two years, the young are called stunts, as they do not thrive much immediately after quitting their parent; they then yield scarcely above twenty or twenty-four barrels of blubber: after this they are called skull-fish, and their age is wholly unknown. Every species of whale propa-