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ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS - FREE BOOK NOTES
The Aleuts never returned. But, at the time, Karana did not know whether or not they would return, so she was prepared. For many years the otters were also prepared in their own way. Each summer the otters were led away to Tall Rock by the older otters who remembered the massacre.
Finally, one summer Rontu died. This was the same summer that Karana stopped keeping track of the moons. And, that same summer, the otters finally did not leave. Karana thought that this was because those who remembered the massacre were by that time all gone.
Late that summer, Rontu went to the cave where he had lived before joining Karana. She found him there and stayed with him that night. The next day he died. She buried him in a crevice which she enlarged for two days. She covered him with pebbles of many colors.
Rontu seems to have died of old age. Considering the life he lived, it seems that he was lucky to have lived so long.
The following winter, an especially sad one for Karana, she made four snares. She hoped to snare a dog she had seen who appeared to be Rontu's son. She did snare some of the wild dogs, but not the one she wanted to snare. Then, Karana remembered a weed that her people put in water to incapacitate fish. She put some of this weed into the spring from which the wild dogs drank. It did not work. Again, Karana searched her memory. She remembered a drink that the men of her tribe made using ground up sea shells and wild tobacco. She put out a big bowl of the stuff mixed with water and waited. This time she was successful. The dog she wanted was among those who passed out after drinking the water. She carried him home and tied him up. She chose an obvious name for him, Rontu-Aru, which means Son of Rontu. They quickly became friends and Karana was again happy. But, she still thought about Tutok, and also about Ulape.
The members of Karana’s tribe help her, even though they are no longer with her.
One day when Karana was asleep near the sand spit she woke up to what sounded like thunder. Immediately she noticed that the tide was lower than she had ever seen it. She saw a giant wave moving toward her. She ran and ran. She knew that she did not have time to climb up via a trail. She climbed directly up the cliff as best she could. The crest of a wave moved below her. But, another wave was approaching and she could not climb higher. Then she saw that the second wave was slowed by the first wave, which by then was moving back out to sea. But, the second wave did eventually wash over her as she clung to the face of the cliff. Afterward, she climbed down and slept that night at the base of the cliff.
The next morning, as she climbed up to her home, she found items that belonged in the sea, but that had been lifted by the wave. Rontu-Ari, who luckily had not been with her when the waves struck, did not want to leave her side. Karana slept most of that day.
The ocean was quiet. The gulls were quiet. But, then the earth itself started to move in waves. Karana and Rontu-Aru both fell to the ground. Finally, they did make it to their home. The earth shook throughout the night.
The waves were a tsunami (also known as a tidal wave). The waves in the earth were an earthquake. Tsunamis are normally caused by earthquakes.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version