- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
412

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XXVI. Miss Hall

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on the grown-up people. The aqueduct having
been broken, there was no water either except
from a few stinking wells, polluted by the
thousands of putrefied bodies strewn all over the
town. No bread, no meat, hardly any macaroni,
no vegetables, no fish, most of the fishing-boats
having been swamped or smashed to pieces by
the tidal wave which swept over the beach,
carrying away over a thousand people, huddled there
for safety. Hundreds of them were hurled back
on the sand, where they lay for days rotting in
the sun. The biggest shark I have ever seen—
the strait of Messina is full of sharks—was also
thrown up on the sand, still alive. I watched
with hungry eyes when he was being cut open,
hoping to snatch a slice for myself. I had always
been told that the flesh of the shark is very good.
In his belly was the whole leg of a woman in a
woollen red stocking and a thick boot, amputated
as by a surgeon’s knife. It is quite possible
that there were other than sharks that tasted
human flesh during those days, the less said
about it the better. Of course the thousands of
homeless dogs and cats, sneaking about the ruins
during night, lived on nothing else, until they
were caught and devoured by the living
whenever there was a chance. I myself have roasted
a cat over my spirit lamp. Luckily there were
plenty of oranges, lemons and mandarins to steal
in the gardens. Wine was plentiful, the looting
of the thousands of wine cellars and wine shops
began the very first day, most people were more
or less drunk in the evening, myself included, it
was a real blessing, it took away the fainting

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