make for a place he knew that would give him at least his three or four
piculs of shell night and morning. Then Ohtami, whose voice was hardly
ever heard, opened his mouth—and closed it again.
in the day he had been talking to Yakoob, the Malay cook. Now, coming
up close behind him, Yakoob said, loudly enough for all to hear: "Angkau takot-kah?" ("Are you afraid?")
raising his eyes Ohtami said to the boss: "Let the master give orders
to head the vessel straight for the Tuli Bataba Bank."
"And get the bottom ripped out of the Idmu? Are you crazy?"
"The hand of Toyo pointed there," muttered Ohtami. "And last night he spoke to me as I slept. The shell is there in plenty."
master was tough and superstitious. He cursed Ohtami up and down. Then
he upped anchor, hoisted sail and made for the narrow channel by the
banks. Once through, taking soundings all the way, the master let the
sails drop and put out the stern anchor.
there is shell here, you scoundrel," he swore, "you shall have a third
of all that comes up this trip. But if you find no shell, then you
shall work for me for the rest of the voyage for nothing." For that was
the bargain the crafty skipper had made before venturing on the diver's
minutes after he had gone down Ohtami came up with a bag full of shell.
It was well matured, sound shell, silver lipped, wonderfully free from