Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/187

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yarn which brought a gleam of humor into the bitter experience of the castaways. He had got wind of a shipwreck and posted off to the scene on the chance of a speculation. At the Oswego he found two or three hundred Arabs industriously despoiling the hulk of the ship. She had no cargo in her when she went ashore, being merely ballasted with Irish earth. The Arabs reasonably deduced that this stuff must be valuable or a ship would not be laden with it, and although they were unable to comprehend what it was, they thriftily proceeded to salvage every possible pound of it.

They requested the Jewish merchant to examine the treasure which had cost them much labor, as they had been compelled to dive for most of it. Every Arab had been carefully allotted his rightful share in order to prevent quarreling and bloodshed, and it was guarded in a little heap inside his tent. They were greatly mortified, the merchant recounted, when he laughed and told them the ballast was worth no more than the sand upon which they stood.

Ahamed returned to the mountain stronghold and fetched to Mogador the other mariners who were held as hostages awaiting the tidings of ransom. The little British lad called Jack had no desire to leave Barbary. He promptly ran away from Mr. Gwyn and the consulate and lived with Moorish