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 Now who ever heard of a fish's sitting up and telling his own story!
Oh, you needn't laugh, you young Folks, perhaps you will find that I can make out very well, considering.
Of course I have been among "Folks," else I could never use your language or know anything about you and your ways.
A message is not received direct from the depths of the sea very often, and especially from one of the natural natives. And then, there are very few fishes that ever have an experience like mine, and travel from one continent to another, going both by sea and by land.
You surely will open your eyes pretty widely at that, and wonder how a fish could go anywhere by land. Have patience and you shall hear all about it by and by.
I was born deep down in the Mediterranean1 Sea. That long name is no stranger. You have seen it many a time in your geographies. But could you tell the meaning of it, I wonder? I can! It means "Midland Sea," and is so named from being so near the middle of the earth.
If the Mediterranean Sea should be pulled up and away, together with the space it occupies, my! what a hole there would be in the big round earth!
Nowadays, even the little Folks hear a great deal about Europe. Some of the family have very likely been there. Perhaps even small John or Elizabeth have themselves crossed the great ocean, sailing on a fine steamer to the coast of England or Ireland.
Oho! if you had fins2 and could spread them like sails, and cut through the water like a flash, you would have a very different idea of the word "distance" from what you have now.
I know "Folks" do not think it very nice to talk much about one's self, but if there is no one else to introduce you, and it is necessary that those with whom you are talking should know the truth about you, it can be plainly seen that the only thing to do is to tell the personal story as modestly and as truthfully as possible.
When first I saw the light, deep down in the sea, I was quite a little fellow, and had a mother that took splendid care of me. She never had but one child at a time, and that one she watched over and tended with much affection until it was fully3 able to take care of itself.
My name is Dolphin, and the Dolphin family is a large one. One branch is of a very peculiar4 shape, and has a long and pointed5 nose or beak6 from which it is called the "Sea Goose," or the "Goose of the Sea." I belong to that branch, but as to being a goose, allow me to say I never was one and never shall be, not really and truly.
My head is round, and so large that it forms almost a third of my whole body. Many Folks travelling by water have seen Dolphins, as once in awhile we are obliged to toss our heads up out of the water in order to breathe, as we have lungs. Yet it is not necessary for us to breathe as Folks do, and we can blow out water in an upward stream from little holes that are over our eyes.
My colors are fine, dark, almost black on my back, gray at the sides, white and shiny as satin underneath7.
There are strange things about a Dolphin. One is that when one is about to die, the colors are very beautiful. In growing faint-tinted where once dark, new and brilliant shades flash forth8 that change and glow in showy tints9. In our beak are thirty or forty sharp teeth on each side of the jaw10. Our voices are peculiar. We are said to make a kind of moan, which you know is not a very cheerful sound. This is strange, as we are really very lively creatures, and bright and happy in disposition11, not at all moany or sad.
Then we have a kind of small tank or reservoir inside the chest and near the spine12 which is filled with pure blood. This, you must know, is separate from the veins13, and if we stay very long under water we can draw from this reserve supply, causing it to circulate through the body.
There is a great deal of wisdom in all this that a poor fish cannot understand, but Folks must know how these strange things come about, and who makes and guides all creatures everywhere. But a Dolphin cannot take it in at all.
We are a merry, friendly tribe. There probably are no fish that swim the sea that are fonder of Folks than we Dolphins. And we cannot help feeling quite proud because of what Folks have appeared to think of us. And I must explain why I do so grand a thing as to call myself "Lord Dolphin."
To begin with: In long years past, in "ancient times," as they are called, Folks had an idea that we were able to do them good in some ways, and so were of special value to them. And certain old coins or pieces of money had the figure of a Dolphin stamped on them. It also was on medals, which, you know, are of gold, silver, and copper14, and are given to Folks as a reward for having done a good or a brave deed.
The figure of a Dolphin was also sometimes embroidered15 on ribbon to be used as a badge, showing that the wearer belonged to a particular society or order using the Dolphin as an emblem16. Or it might be, again, that the figure showed one to be a member of an ancient or noble family.
Then there are strange and attractive stories of "myths," imaginary forms or persons, like fairies, gods, and goddesses. When you are older you will study about these ancient, make-believe beings, and the study will be called myth-ology, telling curious, interesting stories about the myths.
Apollo, one of the so-called deities17, was a myth, and said to be the god of music, medicine, and the fine arts, a great friend of mankind; and a great favorite I was said to be of Apollo's.
Orion, another myth, and a most exquisite18 player of the lute19, so charmed the Dolphins with his playing, that once being in great trouble and throwing himself into the sea, a Dolphin bore him on his back to the shore.
Some Folks have called us whales. But we are not whales at all, and are of an entirely20 different family. Yet I am a big fellow all of eight feet long, while some of us are still much longer than that.
But the chief cause of pride with the Dolphins is the notice that has been taken of us, and the honor shown us by the royal family of France. Why, we formed at one time the chief figure on the coat of arms of the princes of France.
A coat of arms, perhaps you know, is a family crest21 or medal, having on it a figure or device which a high-born family adopts as its particular sign or emblem of nobility.
Then the French people once named a province of France for us, calling it Dauphené, and pronounced Dor-fa-na.
But greatest of all the honors shown us, is the fact that the little men-babies born of the French kings, and heirs to the throne of France, were called "the Dauphin," taken from our name.
Are we not distinguished22? And do you wonder that we have a somewhat exalted23 idea of ourselves after such honors as these have been heaped upon us? And do you think, in view of these facts, that I am taking on too grand a title in announcing myself as "Lord Dolphin"?
Dear me, I do hope not! It would be such a pity to make a mistake right at the outset in telling a story. For truth to tell, I am not a bit proud, but just a good-natured chap that has decided24 to spin a sea-yarn for the amusement, and I hope the instruction, it may be, of young Folks, being perfectly25 willing the older Folks should hear it, too, if they like. And I don't believe the smaller Folks will object to the title, even if they don't have "lords" in this country. It must be they are all lords here, all the nice men-Folks.
Do you wonder what I live on? Fishes, of course, for we do not have a very great chance at getting other kinds of food under water. I like herrings best of all, and feed on them oftener than on any other kind of fish.
There is just one fellow that I cannot endure. That is the flying-fish. I fight, make war on him, and drive him away every time he comes around. Oh, but he is the trying creature! Forever flying in your face, getting in your way, prying26 into your affairs, a kind of gossip-fish, that I despise. Why I feel so great a dislike for him I cannot say, it must be there is something in my nature that sets me against him, but a flying-fish and a Dolphin cannot live along the same wave.
There is another page in my history that must be mentioned.
Several hundred years ago our flesh used to be eaten, and what is more, it was thought to be fine, so that only those who had a great deal of money could afford to have it on their tables. But nowadays we are never used for food, but are thought to be coarse, and not nearly as nice as most other kinds of fish.
All right! We are very glad not to be in danger of being devoured27. We go sailing along under the bright surface of the sea, in groups of just ourselves, and such leaps as we can take! By and by, you will hear of leaps I have taken which have been the means of my learning a great deal.
Away we scud28, passing ships that think they are going pretty fast, but, O Neptune29! our fins and tails take us along at a spanking30 rate, which makes the ships seem slow.
In one thing we are much like Folks. Don't laugh, please, but we are very, very fond of music. Sometimes we catch the sound of voices singing on a vessel31, and up we go, leaping fairly into the air to get as near the sound as possible.
And should there be a violin, a guitar, flute32, or a cornet—oh, yes, I know them all!—on a passing vessel, we float alongside just far enough under water to keep our bodies out of sight, while we take in the strains in our own peculiar way. For although our ears might be hard to find, we yet absorb or draw in sound very readily.
And now that you know quite a little about the Dolphin family, I will tell you some things that may interest you about my watery33 home. For home, you know, is wherever one lives, whether it be in the air, on the earth, in the earth, or in the waters under the earth.


1 Mediterranean ezuzT     
  • The houses are Mediterranean in character.这些房子都属地中海风格。
  • Gibraltar is the key to the Mediterranean.直布罗陀是地中海的要冲。
2 fins 6a19adaf8b48d5db4b49aef2b7e46ade     
  • The level of TNF-α positively correlated with BMI,FPG,HbA1C,TG,FINS and IRI,but not with SBP and DBP. TNF-α水平与BMI、FPG、HbA1C、TG、FINS和IRI呈显著正相关,与SBP、DBP无相关。 来自互联网
  • Fins are a feature specific to fish. 鱼鳍是鱼类特有的特征。 来自辞典例句
3 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
4 peculiar cinyo     
  • He walks in a peculiar fashion.他走路的样子很奇特。
  • He looked at me with a very peculiar expression.他用一种很奇怪的表情看着我。
5 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
6 beak 8y1zGA     
  • The bird had a worm in its beak.鸟儿嘴里叼着一条虫。
  • This bird employs its beak as a weapon.这种鸟用嘴作武器。
7 underneath VKRz2     
  • Working underneath the car is always a messy job.在汽车底下工作是件脏活。
  • She wore a coat with a dress underneath.她穿着一件大衣,里面套着一条连衣裙。
8 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
9 tints 41fd51b51cf127789864a36f50ef24bf     
色彩( tint的名词复数 ); 带白的颜色; (淡色)染发剂; 痕迹
  • leaves with red and gold autumn tints 金秋时节略呈红黄色的树叶
  • The whole countryside glowed with autumn tints. 乡间处处呈现出灿烂的秋色。
10 jaw 5xgy9     
  • He delivered a right hook to his opponent's jaw.他给了对方下巴一记右钩拳。
  • A strong square jaw is a sign of firm character.强健的方下巴是刚毅性格的标志。
11 disposition GljzO     
  • He has made a good disposition of his property.他已对财产作了妥善处理。
  • He has a cheerful disposition.他性情开朗。
12 spine lFQzT     
  • He broke his spine in a fall from a horse.他从马上跌下摔断了脊梁骨。
  • His spine developed a slight curve.他的脊柱有点弯曲。
13 veins 65827206226d9e2d78ea2bfe697c6329     
n.纹理;矿脉( vein的名词复数 );静脉;叶脉;纹理
  • The blood flows from the capillaries back into the veins. 血从毛细血管流回静脉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I felt a pleasant glow in all my veins from the wine. 喝过酒后我浑身的血都热烘烘的,感到很舒服。 来自《简明英汉词典》
14 copper HZXyU     
  • The students are asked to prove the purity of copper.要求学生们检验铜的纯度。
  • Copper is a good medium for the conduction of heat and electricity.铜是热和电的良导体。
15 embroidered StqztZ     
  • She embroidered flowers on the cushion covers. 她在这些靠垫套上绣了花。
  • She embroidered flowers on the front of the dress. 她在连衣裙的正面绣花。
16 emblem y8jyJ     
  • Her shirt has the company emblem on it.她的衬衫印有公司的标记。
  • The eagle was an emblem of strength and courage.鹰是力量和勇气的象征。
17 deities f904c4643685e6b83183b1154e6a97c2     
n.神,女神( deity的名词复数 );神祗;神灵;神明
  • Zeus and Aphrodite were ancient Greek deities. 宙斯和阿佛洛狄是古希腊的神。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Taoist Wang hesitated occasionally about these transactions for fearof offending the deities. 道士也有过犹豫,怕这样会得罪了神。 来自汉英文学 - 现代散文
18 exquisite zhez1     
  • I was admiring the exquisite workmanship in the mosaic.我当时正在欣赏镶嵌画的精致做工。
  • I still remember the exquisite pleasure I experienced in Bali.我依然记得在巴厘岛所经历的那种剧烈的快感。
19 lute moCzqe     
  • He idly plucked the strings of the lute.他漫不经心地拨弄着鲁特琴的琴弦。
  • He knows how to play the Chinese lute.他会弹琵琶。
20 entirely entirely     
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
21 crest raqyA     
  • The rooster bristled his crest.公鸡竖起了鸡冠。
  • He reached the crest of the hill before dawn.他于黎明前到达山顶。
22 distinguished wu9z3v     
  • Elephants are distinguished from other animals by their long noses.大象以其长长的鼻子显示出与其他动物的不同。
  • A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished guests.宴会是为了向贵宾们致敬而举行的。
23 exalted ztiz6f     
  • Their loveliness and holiness in accordance with their exalted station.他们的美丽和圣洁也与他们的崇高地位相称。
  • He received respect because he was a person of exalted rank.他因为是个地位崇高的人而受到尊敬。
24 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
25 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
26 prying a63afacc70963cb0fda72f623793f578     
adj.爱打听的v.打听,刺探(他人的私事)( pry的现在分词 );撬开
  • I'm sick of you prying into my personal life! 我讨厌你刺探我的私生活!
  • She is always prying into other people's affairs. 她总是打听别人的私事。 来自《简明英汉词典》
27 devoured af343afccf250213c6b0cadbf3a346a9     
吞没( devour的过去式和过去分词 ); 耗尽; 津津有味地看; 狼吞虎咽地吃光
  • She devoured everything she could lay her hands on: books, magazines and newspapers. 无论是书、杂志,还是报纸,只要能弄得到,她都看得津津有味。
  • The lions devoured a zebra in a short time. 狮子一会儿就吃掉了一匹斑马。
28 scud 6DMz5     
  • The helpers came in a scud.救援者飞奔而来。
  • Rabbits scud across the turf.兔子飞快地穿过草地。
29 Neptune LNezw     
  • Neptune is the furthest planet from the sun.海王星是离太阳最远的行星。
  • Neptune turned out to be a dynamic,stormy world.海王星原来是个有生气、多风暴的世界。
30 spanking OFizF     
  • The boat is spanking along on the river.船在小河疾驶。
  • He heard a horse approaching at a spanking trot.他听到一匹马正在疾步驰近。
31 vessel 4L1zi     
  • The vessel is fully loaded with cargo for Shanghai.这艘船满载货物驶往上海。
  • You should put the water into a vessel.你应该把水装入容器中。
32 flute hj9xH     
  • He took out his flute, and blew at it.他拿出笛子吹了起来。
  • There is an extensive repertoire of music written for the flute.有很多供长笛演奏的曲目。
33 watery bU5zW     
  • In his watery eyes there is an expression of distrust.他那含泪的眼睛流露出惊惶失措的神情。
  • Her eyes became watery because of the smoke.因为烟熏,她的双眼变得泪汪汪的。


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