The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Comprising the details of a mutiny and atrocious butchery on board the American brig Grampus, on her way to the South Seas, in the month of June, 1827.

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 90

even disgusting. Their steps are very slow, measured, and
heavy, their bodies being carried about a foot from the ground. Their
neck is long, and exceedingly slender; from eighteen inches to two feet
is a very common length, and I killed one, where the distance from the
shoulder to the extremity of the head was no less than three feet ten
inches. The head has a striking resemblance to that of a serpent. They
can exist without food for an almost incredible length of time,
instances having been known where they have been thrown into the hold
of a vessel and lain two years without nourishment of any kind--being
as fat, and, in every respect, in as good order at the expiration of
the time as when they were first put in. In one particular these
extraordinary animals bear a resemblance to the dromedary, or camel of
the desert. In a bag at the root of the neck they carry with them a
constant supply of water. In some instances, upon killing them after a
full year's deprivation of all nourishment, as much as three gallons of
perfectly sweet and fresh water have been found in their bags. Their
food is chiefly wild parsley and celery, with purslain, sea-kelp, and
prickly pears, upon which latter vegetable they thrive wonderfully, a
great quantity of it being usually found on the hillsides near the
shore wherever the animal itself is discovered. They are excellent and
highly nutritious food, and have, no doubt, been the means of
preserving the lives of thousands of seamen employed in the
whale-fishery and other pursuits in the Pacific.

The one which we had the good fortune to bring up from the storeroom
was not of a large size, weighing probably sixty-five or seventy
pounds. It was a female, and in excellent condition, being exceedingly
fat, and having more than a quart of limpid and sweet water in its bag.
This was indeed a treasure; and, falling on our knees with one accord,
we returned fervent thanks to God for so seasonable a relief.

We had great difficulty in getting the animal up through the opening,
as its struggles were fierce and its strength prodigious. It was upon
the point of making its escape from Peters's grasp, and slipping back
into the water, when Augustus, throwing a rope with a slip-knot around
its throat, held it up in this manner until I jumped into the hole by
the side of Peters, and assisted him in lifting it out.

The water we drew carefully from the bag into the jug, which, it will
be remembered,

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