Henry de Monfreid: Killer Clams Stone ax

Henry de Monfreid: Killer Clams  Stone ax

Now, that moguls are preparing to support space tourismIt is worth mentioning a real adventurer, one of those who moved around the map without patronage. We are talking about Henry de Monfreid (1879-1974), a man who inspired fictional characters like Corto Maltese or Tintin himself.

An arms dealer, a pearl fisherman, a hashish smuggler, his life experiences are recorded in his more than fifty books, most of them translated into Spanish. Without going any further, inside The secret of the Red SeaHenry de Monfreid tells us an epic that led him to explore the shores of this coral sea, which the Arabs call the reed sea.

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With a crew of Somali seamen, Henry de Monfreid steered a ship built alone; a sailboat that was on the verge of repeated sinking. Thanks to their stories, we learned that the hump of the hair is made of fat, which after melting becomes an excellent remedy for all types of diseases, from hemorrhoids to fractures or headaches. It was on one of the islands in Asab Bay that he saw his hungry crew catching a camel and then eating it. The primitive spectacle of struggle and need witnessed by Henry de Monfreid, which he tells us in detail. Among other things, he also tells us that on that beach, crickets hide under the sand and that they are as big as walnuts.

Perhaps one of the most interesting episodes is the pearl hunter episode. Two men go in a rocking canoe, one paddling, while the other walks with his head stuck in a box, the bottom of which is made of glass, which he dives into the water, so he can see the depth in search of a pearl shell. When he sees one, he dives while his companion, armed with a long iron perch, begins to be alert. Henry de Monfreid warns us of the dangers of this practice. To the sharks and carnivorous fish are added giant shells, bivalves, which remain ajar on the seabed. If a foot or arm is inadvertently inserted into the hole, the leaflets close until the bone breaks.

This giant clam, which many people knew in his day thanks to the adventures of Henry de Monfreid, corresponds to the scientific name Tridacna gigas And just to give you an idea, it can reach a length of a meter and a half and weigh over three hundred kilograms. Their shells have been used in churches as holy water pools, so in some churches the basins have the same shape. It is a long-lived species with a life span of more than a hundred years and spends most of its life eating, especially plankton.

It happens that reality has always been nourished by imagination, and Henry de Monfreid deceives us on his travels in such a way that in the end we take things of truth more typical of legend than reality

However, when we learn today that there is no record that one of these mollusks ever caught a diver’s limbs, and that his danger is a myth, we were a little disappointed by Henry de Monfreid’s story because we suspect that most of the things we he says, are the product of his invention. It happens that reality has always been nourished by imagination, and Henry de Monfreid deceives us on his travels in such a way that in the end we take legends more important than truth than reality.

It was another time and tourism was still far away and even more conquering the universe. Globalization has not turned our planet into an amusement park. So no one dared to dream that one day direct flights into space would be launched, where people would be disappointed not to see the keys or pieces of beef steak following the ellipses around the ship, as happened to Ijon Tichý, an interstellar traveler, by the imagination of Polish writer Stanislaw Lem (1921). -2006), which managed to make us travel without leaving the place.

Stone ax It is the part where Montero Glez, with the will of prose, practices his concrete siege of scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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