Babblery and prittle-prattle from Early Modern England
A true and perfect relation of the taking and destroying of a sea-monster, as it was attested by Mr. Francis Searson, a surgeon, who was present at the killing of him.
On the 10th of September last we discovered this Sea-Monster upon the coast of Denmark, which at first surprised us, for the female was also with him, tumbling in the water very near him, thereby causing great waves both about and before them, which, as we came near, we perceived they performed by plunging themselves sometimes under water, and other times by tossing up their tails, which were very large and broad. The female was much less both in length and bulk than the male, and being advanced nearer, we had full view of them both, their upper parts being visible above water.
We were now within cannon-shot, whereupon the Captain ordered some guns to be forthwith fired at them, and 2 or 3 balls very happily wounded the male in the head, which made them separate, and the male immediately made to the shore, which was about 2 leagues distance. Upon which the Captain gave orders to sail after him and when at some convenient distance, manned out two boats with men, each to attack him. The Monster made resistance by moving about in the water, and with his tail killed 3 of the men in one boat, which so terrified the boat’s crew, that they threw one of their oars at him, which he hastily arched up in his hand, and mounted aloft into the air, and for some hours forced blood out of his nose (like water out of an engine) which fell in great quantities into the boats, and upon the men, which encouraged them to attack him more vigorously, perceiving that he was wounded. He continually tumbled about in his defence, gaped, foamed and made a most hideous noise at his mouth, and stunk excessively, and we were 24 hours in destroying him.
The female kept at some distance all the time, and appeared to be very disconsolate, and made sometimes towards the 2 boats, and other times the ship, who sent several shots after her, which caused her to keep at the greater distance. In this attack his head and one of his hands were much shattered, so that we cut off only one of his hands, by reason of the prodigious weight of the other parts, being also in fear of the females attacking our boats in our return to the ship, having spent much time in viewing and measuring the several parts, which are as follows:
The whole creature weighed (according to computation) at least 50 tons, and was 70 feet in length. The upper part resembles a man, from the middle downwards he was a fish, had fins, and a forked tail. His head was of a great bulk, contained several hundreds of weight, and had a terrible aspect. He had short, coarse and curled hair upon his head. His nose was long and large. His eyes were also large, and so were both his ears. His mouth was answerable, for when he opened it, it was at least 2 yards wide. His teeth were thick, long and sharp. His chin was 2 feet long, and had a beard 16 feet long. His neck was 1 yard long and 4 yards round. His arms large […] each. This hand is 5 feet and a half long, 2 feet 3 inches broad, and weighs near […]
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Printed in 1699.