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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Part 2 Chapter 3 Summary
A Pearl Worth Ten Million That night, Aronnax dreams of sharks. Soon enough, he and his companions are rowed out to a suitable spot, dressed up in their diving suits, and dropped into the water. As for weapons, all they get are daggers. Oh, and Ned brings his harpoon. They make their way to the oyster beds, admiring the sea-life along the way. Nemo doesn't stop, though. They continue past piles of rocks into a grotto (an underwater cave). Inside the cave is a huge oyster. Aronnax thinks it weighs about six hundred pounds. Nemo pries open the oyster and shows off the pearl, which is about the size of a small coconut, and perfectly formed. Aronnax realizes that Nemo's been "feeding" the oyster, letting it get bigger and bigger, waiting for the right moment to pluck it out. Now they head back to the oyster beds and go for a little walk. They don't have anything better to do than stroll, after all. Out of nowhere, a shadow appears. It's a man—an Indian—trying to get a head-start on the oyster season. He doesn't notice Aronnax or the others. Now comes another surprise: a shark. Aronnax freezes in place. When the shark goes for the Indian diver, Nemo jumps in to attack it, and manages to stab it in the belly. The shark keeps coming. It looks like it's about to take down Nemo when Ned intervenes with his big old harpoon. The shark is pierced in the heart and dies. Nemo runs (swims?) to help the Indian, who had been knocked unconscious by the shark, and brings him back to his boat. When he wakes up, Nemo hands the Indian a big string of pearls and sends him off. Nemo and company make their way back to the boat and remove their suits. Nemo thanks Ned; Ned tells him that he owed the captain one. As they head back to the Nautilus, a bunch of sharks come and munch on the body of their dead shark-friend. Aronnax is amazed that Nemo actually showed compassion to another human being; he tells Nemo this. Nemo tells him, "That Indian, doctor, is the inhabitant of an oppressed country. I am his compatriot, and shall remain so to my very last breath!" (2.3.89).
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