This is Moby Dick Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow (summary)
Vocabulary Words found in this chapter: Moby Dick Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow (Vocabulary Words)

Previous Chapter: Chapter 12: Biographical (summary)

The next morning, Monday, Ishmael had his haircut. Later, he paid the grinning landlord for their rent with the money Queegqueg gave him. Both the landlord and the boarders seemed amazed with the sudden friendship of the two.

Finally, Ishmael and Queegqueg borrowed wheelbarrows for their carriages, and went down to the Moss1a ship. On their way there, people were staring, not because of Queegqueg who is already a common cannibal to them, but because they wondered if the two were really friends.

Wooden wheelbarrow in Moby Dick Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow (summary).
Wooden wheelbarrow.

Funnily, Queegqueg brought his harpoon with him. He seems to have an affection for it. Now, Queegqueg related to Ishmael a funny story about the first time he was given a wheelbarrow. He didn’t know how to use it, so he put it upon his chest and shoulders. Ishmael asked him: “Didn’t the people laugh?”

Upon that, Queegqueg told Ishmael another story. The people at Rokovoko created a punch-bowl during a wedding feast. A certain merchant ship touched their island and invited its captain to the wedding.

Of course, the captain didn’t know how the local customs were performed. Thinking that this bowl was for washing hands, he put his hands inside and washed there. In the end, Queegqueg asked Ishmael: “Didn’t our people laugh?” 

The life lesson is this: A foreigner may not understand our culture and tradition here, but that might as well be the case for us when we go to their place.

At last, they paid for their passage, made their luggage safe, and then went aboard. From the Moss, they saw all the cruises depart for their voyage, while others went back home from their own journey. Time went by, and they gained more and more open water.

They weren’t able to stand steadily because the waters kept plunging onto their ship. Meanwhile, some of the passengers with them started to jeer at the two of them, because they can’t stand the sight of a white man and a white-washed negro together.

Later, Queegqueg caught one of these idiots behind him. Queegqueg held him by his arms, suspended him in mid-air, tapped his butt, and the chap finally fell down at his feet. Simultaneously, Queegqueg turned his back, lighted his pipe, and passed it to Ishmael for a puff.

After all that, the chap ran to the captain, whining about what Queegqueg had done to him. As expected, the worried captain asked Queegqueg why he did that, and added that Queegqueg could have killed the chap.

Thus, Queegqueg replied that he wouldn’t kill a small fish like him because he only kills big whales. The captain roared at him and threatened him that he will kill him if he tries one of those tricks again.

It was not soon when the weather suddenly got rough. Consequently, the boom of the ship started to swing around wildly. Everyone panicked because nobody could get the ship under control, and the storm had swept the chap overboard. 

Meanwhile, the cool-headed Queegqueg quickly stabilizes the boom with a rope. After that, he pulls off his shirt and jacket, jumps into the sea, and rescues the bumpkin, who promptly revived.

Everyone thanked Queegqueg for his bravery. Later, the captain says that he forgives him about what he did earlier to the chap. Yet, Queegqueg remained humble, and thought that he didn’t deserve their praise for his heroics. What an outstanding humility!

End of Moby Dick Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow (summary)

Next chapter: Chapter 14: Nantucket (summary)

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