Chapter 30 Summary
Once again exploring the island, the father and three of his sons have traveled to a place where they have never been. This part of the island is dry like a desert. The heat is oppressive, and the scenery seems very strange to them since they have lived on the wet, lush side of the island.
While they walk, Fritz shouts out that he sees horsemen. Concerned, the father takes out his spyglass and attempts to identify the figures galloping toward them. Whatever they are, though, they are too far away for him to recognize. The boys agree on Fritz's assertion that they are horsemen, until the father looks a second time and realizes that he sees a flock of ostriches.
As the huge birds draw even nearer to them, the father and his sons try to figure out a way to capture some of the ostriches. The father determines by the coloring of their plumage that the flock consists of four females and one male. Capturing one of these large birds is a daunting task, the father says, because of the ostriches' powerful legs. Not only can the birds run faster than most horses, they also can attack with strong kicks that can be deadly.
Unfortunately, the dogs work their way free of their bindings and race forward, scaring the birds away. Not wanting to lose the flock, one of the boys, who has a trained falcon, unhoods his bird. The falcon flies toward the ostriches, singles out the male, and kills it. The dogs soon join the falcon, tearing at the fallen body.
After grieving over the dead bird, the father looks up to see Jack signaling for him to come to where he is standing. Jack has found a nest of ostrich eggs. There are twenty of them; each is as large as a baby's head and weighs about three pounds. They decide to take the eggs home.
Before going home, though, the father and his sons wander through a valley. While exploring the land, Ernest had gone off on his own, but he suddenly returns, yelling that a bear is chasing him. The father prepares his gun, crouches down, and waits. Then he sees not one but two bears chasing Ernest. The bears are eventually killed and skinned.
Exhausted by their efforts of the day, the family finally reconvenes back at their tent, where they continue to clean the hefty bear skins that will be used as rugs. While they eat dinner, the boys ask permission to go out on a hunt by themselves the next day. They will each ride one of their animals and search for the ostriches. They are determined to bring one of the huge birds home.